Originally published online at Inc42 Magazine and can be found here.  Written by Gopi Arora.

Keiretsu Forum, a US-based angel investor network is all set to start its Indian operations. The forum has around 1,400 members in 34 chapters across three continents and now going to formally launch its Chennai chapter in February.

Speaking on this development, Rajan Srikanth, Co-President, Keiretsu Forum Chennai & Singapore said, “The fact that there is a mushrooming of angel investor groups is a leading indicator that there is both startup activity as well as investor interest in it. There is also growing sophistication among the angels.”

The forum also has members from academic institutions and those who provide affiliated services to the entrepreneurship ecosystem, such as lawyers, merchant bankers, accounting and HR professionals. IIT-Madras and Anna University have also agreed to join the Chennai chapter, he added.

Keiretsu Forum was founded [by Randy Williams] in 2000 in the Bay Area, US and so far invested close to $500 Mn in 450 companies, with the average funding hovering around $1 Mn per startup.

Membership to the Keiretsu Forum is by invitation. The Chennai chapter has already signed up 10 investors since a soft launch in December. The members of this chapter will provide early stage capital ranging from INR 50 lakh to INR 5 Cr. They can help entrepreneurs raise higher amounts through syndication with other chapters worldwide.

Citing the Nasscom recent study, which states that the India will have 11,500 startups, employing about 2.5 lakh people in next five years, the forum says that if these startups are to grow and succeed, they just need not funds, but mentors too; people with experience and expertise to help them navigate the journey from a mere idea to a successful venture.

The Keiretsu Forum does not invest in startups, but facilitates the process of getting applications, screening them and putting up the short-listed applications before its chapter members for investment decisions. This forum will create a network for like-minded investors, it will also be a platform for angel investors to network with other investors and startups internationally.