Through this exit, it has earned about Rs 55 crore, or a shade less than seven times its investment.
ET Tech | June 26, 2020 | Biswarup Gooptu

YourNest Venture Capital has sold its entire stake in conversational artificial intelligence technology startup Uniphore, in the process, marking the Gurugram-based early-stage venture capital firm’s maiden exit.

YourNest had first invested in Uniphore in 2014 from its maiden fund, a Rs 90 crore investment vehicle. It had pumped in an estimated Rs 8 crore across rounds in the Palo Alto, California and Chennai-based company for a 5% stake.

Through this exit, it has earned about Rs 55 crore, or a shade less than seven times its investment, according to a senior executive at the firm. While YourNest did not disclose the buyers of its stake in Uniphore, the same is believed to have been bought by existing investors in the company, including some who had participated in Uniphore’s last funding round in August.

“In these turbulent times, a profitable cash exit is heartening and we are delighted to share the proceeds with our investors by returning over 60% of the fund corpus invested. This also validates our thesis of investing in pre-series A startups with a global vision and a strong team,” Sunil Goyal, managing director and fund manager at YourNest Venture Capital, said.

The venture capital firm primarily focuses on placing bets in the broader deep-tech space, which includes, internet of things, artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics, cloud and automation SaaS-oriented businesses building intellectual property for global markets.

“For our investors in the first fund, the journey of investing with a great team has come to its logical conclusion as we exit Uniphore at an IRR of 42.8%, making a 6.6x return. We wish the Uniphore team every success and look forward to seeing them build a global leading SaaS company,” Goyal said.

The venture capital firm, which is now investing out of its second fund, also launched a fast-track funding programme, SOAR, in May, which is focused on early-stage technology startups, particularly those operating in the deep tech domain.

YourNest has made 16 investments from its first fund, and has announced seven more transactions from the second fund. It expects to announce another 5-7 deals from its SOAR programme over the next 6-8 weeks.

The development comes about a little over 10 months after Uniphore announced that it had raised $51 million in its Series C round of funding, led by March Capital Partners, with participation from Chiratae Ventures, Sistema Asia, CXO Fund, ITP, Iron Pillar, Patni Family, and other investors.

Uniphore, which started off as a man-to-machine speech recognition startup, now builds artificial intelligence-based bots that can understand queries and respond to customers, and provides a host of analytics to companies on quality of service.