N R Narayana Murthy, co-founder and chief mentor of India's second-largest IT services provider Infosys Technologies, is planning to invest in US-based clean technology venture capital fund Siderian Ventures.
The fund is in the process of raising $ 150 million (around Rs 745 crore) and lists well-known Indian scientists Raghunath Anant Mashelkar and Rajendra K Pachauri as senior advisors.
In early 2009, Murthy had announced that he would take up an active role as a venture capitalist and is also understood to have considered an investment in the budget housing venture started by Jaithirth (Jerry) Rao, former promoter of Mphasis, who is also a relative.
Murthy could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts. His interest in this US-based venture capital fund follows the exit of Infosys' other co-founder Nandan Nilekani who was on the advisory board of this firm. Nilekani confirmed that he recently quit this position just before he was appointed by the government to head a citizen identification card programme. Siderian Ventures also employs Murthy's daughter Akshata Murthy as senior associate.
The San Francisco-based Siderian Venture will focus on early-stage entrepreneurial opportunities in the United States, Europe and, progressively, India. The fund plans to invest in market-driven solutions to environmental challenges, focusing specifically on breakthrough business models that accelerate the growth of cleantech markets.
Murthy, together with his wife and two children, holds 4.98 per cent in Infosys Technologies (valued at Rs 4,500 crore).