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Reuters to Fund Indian Startups

Information and news giant Reuters will offer venture capital funding in India, routing funds into the country through its Greenhouse fund, its overseas venture capital fund that has had a presence in the US and European markets since 1994.

"We plan a minority investment program for a range of start-up technology companies," said Jan Coos Geesink, managing director of Reuters Information, and senior company officer of Reuters for the Asia Pacific region.

According to Asoka Markandu, marketing manager of Reuters India, the company plans to pick up stakes of 5-10 percent in Indian technology startups, and does not need to seek a separate clearance for venture capital funding in the country.

Greenhouse Fund has decided to invest in sectors like navigation providers on the Net, content providers, Internet security companies and companies that have developed software for transaction flows.

According to Geesink, the relaxation of norms for the venture capital funds in the budget has made India a very lucrative market to put funds into.

Reuters, which supplies the global financial markets and news media with a wide range of information, is seeking partners for the joint ventures.

"Reuters is not merely a financial investor; it is looking for technologies or professional business information that it can use with its own products," Geesink said.

Reuters has stakes in five such companies quoted on Nasdaq, which include the portal infoseek.com, search directory yahoo.com, sports information service sportsline.com, certification authority verisign.com and e-commerce site usweb.com.

The Greenhouse fund now plans to go global, and is targeting the Asia Pacific region, which includes Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and India.