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Suzuki Revs Up Investment Engine in India: Next Bharat Ventures Launched

Maruti Suzuki Showroom
Preeti Bali / 8:16 am / July 5, 2024

Japanese automobile giant Suzuki has made a strategic move to deepen its presence in India by launching a dedicated venture investment arm, Next Bharat Ventures. This subsidiary will focus on nurturing early-stage startups with a war chest of Rs 340 crore.

Investing for Social Good: A Residency Program Takes Center Stage

Next Bharat Ventures breaks away from the traditional corporate venture capital mold. Functioning as an independent unit, the investment arm will prioritize social impact alongside financial returns. Startups selected through a unique residency program, starting in October 2024, will receive crucial backing to translate their impactful business ideas into reality. This program draws inspiration from established models like Antler and Y Combinator.

Focus on Rural Development and Informal Economy

Over the next three to four years, Next Bharat Ventures plans to actively support up to 20 startups annually. Investments will range from Rs 1 crore to Rs Rs 8 crore, targeting sectors like agricultural technology (agritech), supply chain management, financial inclusion, and rural mobility solutions. The core focus lies in empowering those who drive the informal economy, such as gig workers and waste management professionals, alongside those working in the rural sector, including farmers and artisans, with a 15-year investment horizon.

Building on Previous Initiatives

This launch signifies Suzuki’s continued commitment to the Indian market. It follows Maruti Suzuki India’s nurture program, launched in June 2023, in collaboration with IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP). The program provided support to six promising startups – DriverShaab, Route2Jute, OiHelp, Hopun Innovations, Backyard Creators, and Salutem Ridegear. Additionally, Maruti Suzuki India’s acquisition of a 6.44% stake in Amlgo Labs earlier this year demonstrates the company’s growing interest in the Indian startup ecosystem.

Next Bharat Ventures marks a significant step for Suzuki as it ventures beyond traditional automotive concerns and actively contributes to India’s social and economic development. By fostering innovative startups that address critical needs in the rural and informal sectors, the investment arm positions itself as a key player in shaping a more inclusive future for India.

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