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How Speciale Invest is building a real deeptech portfolio

Chennai-based Speciale Invest has built a portfolio of nearly 40 companies and manages over $70 million in assets, with a focus on deep science and enterprise tech—Saas and AI, health and biotech, space, industry and manufacturing, clean energy and climate tech

Harichandan Arakali
Published: Oct 27, 2023 11:36:12 AM IST
Updated: Oct 27, 2023 11:42:32 AM IST

(From left) Vishesh Rajaram and Arjun Rao of Speciale Invest (From left) Vishesh Rajaram and Arjun Rao of Speciale Invest

The biggest risk associated with deeptech companies is the gestation period it takes to prove technological efficacy and market acceptance,” says Vishesh Rajaram, who co-founded Speciale Invest in 2017 with friend Arjun Rao.

“The positive on this is that more venture capital investors are beginning to accept and realise that you could build deep science and tech from India. It’s an exciting time to be investing in deep science here.”

Rajaram and Rao have taken on that risk and built a portfolio of nearly 40 companies since their first fund in 2018. Speciale, based in Chennai, is a pre-seed, and seed fund that’s investing in deep science and enterprise technologies.

(From left) Vishesh Rajaram and Arjun Rao of Speciale Invest Today, they manage over $70 million in assets, with investments in companies in areas, including aerospace, semiconductors, quantum security, renewable water, green hydrogen, EVs (electric vehicles) and enterprise SaaS (software as a service) products.

Also read: Inflexor Ventures: Taking a broader view on deeptech

With the more conventional way of figuring out risk based on customers and revenue being difficult due to the long product development phase, founders have to find ways of looking the problem “bottom-up”, to break down the risk in different phases, and to show proof of technological efficacy at different scales of business. This might help them tap a broader pool of capital, he says.

(This story appears in the 20 October, 2023 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)