P&G bets on Indian startups, sets up a dedicated fund

Procter & Gamble India (P&G India) said Wednesday it has set-up a multimillion-dollar fund to invest in Indian startups without disclosing the size of the ‘Innovation Sourcing Fund’.

P&G has also launched a programme, vGrow, which will identify and collaborate with small businesses, individuals and large organizations, and offer innovative industry-leading solutions.

“The Indian market has been at the forefront of innovation and continues to be a priority for the company, globally. We are confident that through vGrow and Innovation Sourcing Fund, we will be able to identify and implement cutting-edge solutions that are a strategic fit for us on our journey to grow sustainably,” Madhusudan Gopalan, managing director and chief executive officer, P&G India sub-continent, told The Mint.

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P&G is also launching an online platform, P&G Hackathon, to enable start-ups, small businesses and large organizations offer innovative solutions and secure business opportunities with the company.

In the past couple of years P&G’s global peers, including Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive, Diageo and Coca-Cola have also set up their own venture funds. In August, Colgate-Palmolive picked up a 14% stake in male-grooming start-up Bombay Shaving Company.

Earlier, Diageo-owned United Spirits invested $4 million in HipBar, a Bengaluru-based online drinks-ordering and payments platform.

In India, companies such as Marico and Future Group, parent of listed Future Retail Ltd and Future Lifestyle Fashions Ltd, have also been investing in start-ups.

On Wednesday, Future Enterprises Ltd acquired a 55% stake in fintech startup LivQuik, and announced its intent to pick up the remaining stake in the next two years for Rs 20 crore, and pay Rs 5 crore additionally, if required.

Marico also made a couple of acquisitions and is actively looking to invest in three to four start-ups.

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