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Most of the Indian startups in the news during the pandemic have one thing in common—a cheque from Ashish Dave, CEO of Mirae Asset Venture Investments (India). Since setting up Mirae’s venture capital (VC) arm in March 2018, Dave has overseen the investment of around $200 million into startups such as mobility firm Ola, e-grocer BigBasket, food delivery company Zomato, and hyperlocal logistics firm Shadowfax. Among them, Zomato is on the cusp of a billion-dollar IPO, while the Tata group is buying BigBasket for $1.2 billion—potential exits that helped establish Mirae (and Dave) as a growth-stage investor. While the investments so far have been from South Korea-based Mirae’s global fund, Dave’s success convinced the firm to launch an India-focussed $35-million fund in January to back domestic early-stage companies with cheques of $2 million to $4 million. That would pit Dave against his professional mentor, Vani Kola, founder of Kalaari Capital, the early-stage VC firm he worked at before joining Mirae. Dave, who started his VC journey as an intern less than nine years ago, is also working on an India-focussed growth-stage fund, reportedly worth $100 million.

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