Flipkart co-founder and other top names join AngelList’s first investment syndicate in India

… for $16 billion last year — and VCs Salil Deshpande of Bain Capital Ventures, Matrix India trio Avnish Bajaj, Tarun Davda and Vikram Vaidyanathan, …

A little over a year after it introduced Syndicates to the India market, AngelList — the U.S. service that helps connect companies with investors — is rolling out its own fund in the country with the backing of some stellar names.

Dubbed ‘The Collective,’ the syndicate includes money from Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal — Flipkart, of course, sold a majority stake to Walmart for $16 billion last year — and VCs Salil Deshpande of Bain Capital Ventures, Matrix India trio Avnish Bajaj, Tarun Davda and Vikram Vaidyanathan, Navroz Udwadia from Falcon Edge Capital and Rahul Mehta of DST Global. There’s also involvement from funds that include Kalaari Capital, FJ Labs and Beenext.

The Collective will be managed through an investment committee that is Utsav Somani, a partner with AngelList who launched the service in India, former 500 Startups India partner Pankaj Jain and Nipun Mehra, who has worked with Sequoia Capital, Flipkart and payment startup Pine Labs.

The size of the fund is undisclosed, but Somani told TechCrunch it will likely back 60-80 companies over the next 12-18 months. Syndicates interested in engaging The Collective can draw up to $150,000 per deal, according to an AngelList India announcement.

“The fund will exclusively deploy on AngelList India. This is to give more power to the most active GP base we have through our syndicate leads,” Somani explained.

Utsav Somani launched AngelList’s syndicates product in India last year and he will now look after the company’s first managed fund in the country

More generally, he said that the first year of Syndicates in India has seen more than $5 million deployed across more than 50 publicly announced investments, including deals with BharatPe, HalaPlay, Yulu Bikes and Open Bank. Six of those startups have already raised follow-on capital. Somani said AngelList India Syndicates have invested alongside well-known funds that include Sequoia Capital India, Matrix Partners India, Omidyar Network, Blume Ventures and Beenext.

To date, AngelList has helped deploy some $1.09 billion to over 3,100 startups, according to its website. The company claims its portfolio has raised close to $9 billion in follow-on funding. AngelList is primarily focused on the U.S. market, but India is fast becoming a majority priority. Like the U.S., the Indian service is open only to accredited investors so it isn’t a crowdfunding service.

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Ascot and Beazley Launch $50M Insurtech-Linked Cargo Consortium for SMEs

Ascot and Beazley announced the launch of a Lloyd’s-based cargo consortium, which uses insurtech solutions to help manage risk and claims …

Ascot and Beazley announced the launch of a Lloyd’s-based cargo consortium, which uses insurtech solutions to help manage risk and claims performance.

Led by Ascot and Beazley, the consortium brings together a range of cargo carriers that will provide a maximum of $50 million capacity. It is aimed at the cargo business of small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which has traditionally faced high associated expenses due to the nature of the subscription market.

This launch will allow brokers to provide their clients with quality underwriting and claims management in a cost-efficient way, further cementing the competitive position Lloyd’s holds in the global cargo market, said Ascot and Beazley in a statement.

Insureds will have the option of using electronic cargo monitoring devices developed by Denver-based insurtech firm Parsyl. The devices monitor cargo accumulation and collect data, which can assist in risk management and claims. The use of these devices will help both the consortium carriers and provide data feeds to insureds.

Denver, Colo.-based Parsyl is a graduate of the Lloyd’s Lab program, which is designed to help embed technology start-ups in an insurance environment.

“This consortium shows how syndicates can come together in a subscription market to provide coverage in a cost-efficient way for smaller premium business,” commented Andrew Brooks, group CEO of Ascot Group, the Bermuda-based specialist re/insurer. “Recent years have been difficult overall for the cargo market, but this initiative will be transformative for insureds, their brokers and Lloyd’s carriers.”

Tim Turner, group head of Marine at Beazley, said: “The London insurance market’s origins are in marine and over the years it has adapted to the changing needs of the sector. This new consortium shows how the London market can come together to combine underwriting expertise and cutting-edge technology for the benefit of our customers.”

“This is precisely what the Lloyd’s Lab has been set up to do,” said Trevor Maynard, head of Innovation, Lloyd’s. “I’m thrilled to see our syndicates utilizing the lab to generate new ideas and deliver the next generation of insurance products and services for the benefit of our customers.”

About Ascot Group and Beazley

Owned by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Ascot Group comprises Ascot Underwriting, the managing agent for Syndicate 1414 at Lloyd’s; Ascot Reinsurance Co., a Bermuda-based specialty reinsurer; Ascot Insurance U.S., an admitted and surplus lines business; and Ethos Specialty Insurance Services, a New York-based managing general underwriter (MGU).

London-based Beazley plc is the parent company of specialist insurance businesses with operations in Europe, the U.S., Canada, Latin America and Asia. Beazley manages six Lloyd’s syndicates.

Source: Ascot Group and Beazley plc

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Beazley-Ascot launch $50m insurtech linked Lloyd’s cargo consortium

Bermuda-based re/insurer Ascot and specialty insurer Beazley have come together to launch a Lloyd’s based cargo consortium that uses insurtech …

Bermuda-based re/insurer Ascot and specialty insurer Beazley have come together to launch a Lloyd’s based cargo consortium that uses insurtech solutions to help manage risk and claims performance.

Led by Ascot and Beazley, the A2B consortium brings together a range of cargo carriers that will provide a maximum of $50 million capacity.

It is aimed at SME cargo business, which has traditionally faced high associated expenses due to the nature of the subscription market. The companies said this launch will allow brokers to provide their clients with quality underwriting and claims management in a cost efficient way, while further cementing the competitive position Lloyd’s holds in the global cargo market.

Insureds will have the option of using electronic cargo monitoring devices developed by Denver-based insurtech firm Parsyl. The devices can monitor cargo accumulation and collect data, which can assist in risk management and claims. The use of these devices will help both the consortium carriers and provide data feeds to insureds. Parsyl is a graduate of the Lloyd’s Lab program, designed to help embed technology start-ups in an insurance environment.

“This consortium shows how Syndicates can come together in a subscription market to provide coverage in a cost efficient way for smaller premium business,” said Andrew Brooks, Group CEO of Ascot. “Recent years have been difficult overall for the Cargo market but this initiative will be transformative for insureds, their brokers and Lloyd’s carriers.”

Tim Turner, group head of marine at Beazley, said: “The London insurance market’s origins are in marine and over the years it has adapted to the changing needs of the sector. This new consortium shows how the London market can come together to combine underwriting expertise and cutting-edge technology for the benefit of our customers.”

Trevor Maynard, head of innovation at Lloyd’s, added: “This is precisely what the Lloyd’s Lab has been set up to do. I’m thrilled to see our syndicates utilising the lab to generate new ideas and deliver the next generation of insurance products and services for the benefit of our customers. The fact that the lab can attract such high calibre tech talent and ideas from around the world just goes to show that Lloyd’s continues to lead the way on insurance innovation.”

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More of today’s news

Did organized crime syndicate kill Gauri Lankesh?

Ironically, the police had to mix traditional policing with several advanced technological methods such as artificial intelligence to solve the case.
Gauri Lankesh.

Gauri Lankesh.

Bengaluru: Over 200 police officers, 200 terabytes of video data from CCTV cameras, several hundred-thousand call records, and advanced technology, including artificial intelligence and analytic tools, had failed to make much headway in the Gauri Lankesh murder case. This, despite the involvement of 40 dedicated personnel investigating the journalists’s brutal murder.

The breakthrough: A chance arrest and the confessions of a boastful new recruit. Today, the special investigation team (SIT) probing the 5 September 2017 murder is preparing a 9,235-page additional charge sheet, which details the activities of an organized crime syndicate, and the role of a right-wing organization, which was critical of Lankesh’s anti-Hindutva views.

“He (K.T. Naveen Kumar) was very boastful. This became their undoing,” said a senior investigating officer, requesting anonymity. A local gun runner and the first to be arrested in the sensational murder case, Kumar was one of the newest members of the “organized crime syndicate”.

Though today’s criminals are more tech-savvy and use all available technology to communicate, coordinate and execute some of their sinister plans, the syndicate managed to run covert operations by using more “traditional” or “old-fashioned” methods, senior police officials said.

Even in the Lankesh murder, those involved were each assigned different roles, independent of the other, and ran aliases, besides rarely using the same cell phone for communication. The police too was, therefore, forced to go back to traditional methods of investigation to solve the case.

While the crime syndicate used unmarked country-made firearms, operated multiple rings, used couriers to communicate and deployed new recruits for different crimes, a pattern emerged, but one that was hard to link to the same person or organization. In fact, the SIT unearthed at least 38 targets of the syndicate and diaries that have initials and codes, but which were hard to decipher.

The SIT, in their report, said that Sanatan Sanstha, a Goa-based right-wing organization, is involved in the Lankesh murder—a charge vehemently denied by the latter. Ironically, the police had to mix traditional policing with several advanced technological methods such as artificial intelligence to solve the case.

Some law enforcement officials said that the murders of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M.M.Kalburgi was also similar in style.

Former police officers say that though this generation of investigators are used to digital evidence, crime syndicates, too, have upped their game. “Having understood this, syndicates are resorting to traditional forms so that they do not leave a trail. They work from the point of view of a police officer and see what are the things I should do to avoid,” S.T. Ramesh, former director general and inspector general of police, Karnataka, said. “They (crime syndicate) work backwards.”

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Blockchain Startup Launches Platform for Risk-Managed ICO Investments

CoinMirror, a Berlin-based startup, is launching the public beta of its platform for ICO investments on the Ethereum mainnet today, July 18, 2018.

CoinMirror, a Berlin-based startup, is launching the public beta of its platform for ICO investments on the Ethereum mainnet today, July 18, 2018. The platform seeks to provide investment opportunities to investors regardless of available capital.

Speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, CoinMirror co-founder Sebastian Hoffmann stated, “We came up with CoinMirror to democratize investing by providing access and education. We want to break down investment barriers and give power back to the people. We are excited to launch our solution and contribute to the decentralized community, and ultimately help to accelerate the healthy evolution of the ecosystem.”

ICOs have revolutionized the fundraising process globally, but it has also created a range of problems for the average investor. From minimum investment thresholds to the absence of due diligence (DD) needed to make sound investment decisions, the barrier to responsible entry can be substantial for those without much start-up capital or investment know-how. The experienced investor has often had the upper hand here, but CoinMirror might make it possible for the average investor to play catch up soon.

Built on Ethereum, the CoinMirror platform allows its users to “mirror the moves of experienced” investors (Syndicate Leaders) without the “need to perform extensive DD or code reviews.” The platform wants its users to identify and copy the moves of ICO investors with a proven track record.

So, when a Syndicate Leader — either Private or Public Syndicate — invests a certain percentage of their funds in an ICO, the users’ funds backing them will be deployed in like manner. Once the user backs the Syndicate Leader, the platform automates the rest.

Public Syndicates are publicly listed on the platform for users to browse and back them up with funds. Private Syndicates, on the other hand, are not listed publicly. Users need the exact URL to access the Syndicate’s page on the platform.

CoinMirror believes that their platform is a win-win for both retail investors and Syndicates. Dan Desa, head of business development at CoinMirror, said the platform offers retail users the opportunity to avoid “extensive due diligence procedures” while accessing deals with “high minimum investment thresholds.” Syndicate Leaders, on the other hand, will be able to “negotiate better deals” with a larger capital pool, build their profiles as “savvy ICO financiers” and earn a portion of the “realized bonus tokens” in addition to the standard Syndicate fee.

Becoming a Syndicate on the platform might not be as easy as it sounds. The company’s FAQ page states that “any individual or organization” can create a Private Syndicate, but Public Syndicates have to undergo a KYC/AML check before being manually approved to join the platform.

For now at least, the platform does lack some essential features. Notably missing is a rating system for profiling highly rated Syndicates — which the company says it intends to include in the future. For the time being, it plans to use the “investment actions and returns brought back to users” to determine the fate of Syndicates on its platform.

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