This news appeared in toda’s Business Standard. May be of interest to people here.

Google joins hands with Band of Angels
Raghuvir Badrinath / Bangalore July 25, 2007

Google Inc, the $-10 billion Internet major, is set to lead the angel investing scenario in India.

The company, which has been acquiring mature companies across the world, is doing something different in India — taking the angel investing route in an effort to tap ideas and talent pool.

Google, which has become synonymous to web search, has recently come on board as an institutional member at Band of Angels (BoA) in India, the Indian set-up of a group of entrepreneurs who invest in companies which are germinating.

Said Alok Mittal, who is an active member of BoA and is also leading Canaan Partners, an early stage VC fund in India: “Google has signed up as an institutional member recently. There is a limit till which each angel can invest in a company. Beyond that, an institutional member can co-invest with any angel if it finds the idea or the company interesting.” Google could not be reached for comment.

This move by Google affirms that innovation has started flowering in India and it is worthwhile taking strategic bets on it. Band of Angels consists of some of the best-known technology entrepreneurs like Pramod Bhasin, Raman Roy and Jerry Rao, besides around 50 others, who have led their respective companies to great heights.

“Google, by joining BoA is making a statement which cannot be ignored. It is high time VC funds seriously start investing in seed-stage companies in India, which is the actual reason why Silicon Valley is what it is today,” an industry analyst said.

In addition to being an active direct investor in companies, Google has also invested in three early-stage funds — Seed Fund, Erasmic Fund and VentureEast TeNet Fund in India.

Google’s decision comes in the wake of NS Raghavan, co-founder of Infosys, going institutional by announcing a $35-million fund for early stage companies. “Various pieces are falling into place. It’s still not that rosy, but we are getting there,” the analyst said.

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