Synapses VC: New venture capital firm Synapses to invest in climate tech, health tech startups

IIT alumni and veteran investors Ruchira Shukla and Karthik Chandrasekar have launched Synapses, a venture capital firm aiming to invest in climate tech and health tech startups.

While Shukla earlier led South Asia investments for World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), Chandrasekar had founded early-stage climate fund Sangam, backed by Shell Foundation and USAID.

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With a fund size of $125 million (about Rs 1,040 crore), Synapses aims to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-led innovation in tackling climate and health challenges. It will invest in 25 startups that are addressing major problems in these segments with tested products.

According to managing partner Shukla, the fund will focus on mitigating climate change to building resilience and adaptation. This will include health tech solutions, all falling within the climate tech realm, with a specific focus on STEM. “We feel these solutions will be tough, and collective problem solving is only possible with management teams that are open to input, allowing us to help support them in their journeys,” she said.

“We will not back models that need to burn a lot of capital to scale,” Shukla said, emphasising the importance of high capital efficiency in the business and product design, optimising sources of capital and having clear pathways to profitability.

Synapses aims to close the fund by October and expects to deliver fivefold to sevenfold returns at the fund level.

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India is one of its core markets, along with other South Asian economies such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines. The firm, alongside its venture fund, operates an incubator in partnership with NITI Aayog and a multi-year seed investment programme.“Policy and regulation are the key guardrails for any fast evolving space and being in Delhi, I think our fund will have that advantage… Seeing the regulators and policymakers as key pivotal partners in making this happen makes a huge difference,” Shukla said.


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