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RealTime IT News

VC Earmarks $200M For Indian IT Startups

A prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm is betting that India's burgeoning IT economy has more to offer than high-skilled, low-cost workers.

Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) will invest up to $200 million for startups in the nation. Tim Draper, the firm's founder and managing director, announced the move while traveling in India this week, according to Indian press reports.

A spokeswoman for Menlo Park, Calif.-based DFJ was not available to provide additional details.

DFJ, which has invested in a number of tech winners, including Skype, isn't the only firm taking an interest in India. VCs pumped $528 million into 28 India-based companies during the most recent quarter, according to Venture Intelligence India.

That figure is up from the $395 million raised by 36 companies in the previous quarter, and the $90 million invested in eight companies in the same period last year, the research firm reported.

In addition, a recent survey by the National Venture Capital Association and Deloitte & Touche found that U.S.-based venture capitalists expect to increase their global investments, especially in India and China.

Besides the new fund, DFJ is taking other steps to boost entrepreneurship in India. It has teamed with The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE) to organize India's first nationwide business plan competition.

The contest is open to students as well as established entrepreneurs and will be run from four regional centers: New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. The teams will be guided through two evaluation rounds by TIE mentors.

The first prizewinner will receive seed financing of $100,000 from DFJ to build their business. Winners will be picked in early February.