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Former defence secretary raises Rs 250 crore venture capital fund

NEW DELHI: From spearheading corridors of power and scripting the country’s policy narrative to migrating to world of venture capital and finance, Ajay Kumar – former defence secretary – is all set to don the hat of a money-making finance professional.
Kumar, who retired from the defence ministry in Oct 2022 and was previously additional secretary in the IT ministry, has company from other former defence honchos who come in as advisers, including retired Indian Air Force chief R K S Bhadauria, former Indian Navy vice chief S N Ghormade and retired electronics and mechanical engineers (EME) director-general Lt.Gen Anil Kapur.
Kumar is chairman of the venture capital firm Mounttech Growth Fund, which in its first round called Kavach, has already raised in excess of Rs 250 crore to invest in startups working in the field of defence, deeptech, aerospace, and space. “People think bureaucrats can’t do anything except pushing files… I am eager to see how we perform in the cut-throat world of finance and startups,” Kumar told TOI when asked about the venture.
Kumar says he has completed the mandated “cooling off” period after retirement from the high-profile govt assignments. Asked whether he feels nervous in the new role, he concedes that it can be challenging. “There is a always a first time for everything… It is my second innings and it is a new area… Along with the teams, I have to take care of investments, mobilisation, deployment, and thereafter also create value for the fund.”
However, he adds that startups and supporting and mentoring strategic ventures is something which has been very close to his heart. “I believe in the startup ecosystem… I am also mentoring several startups personally even now. I always felt that there is a huge need for a focused fund which can be available for startups, which are genuinely doing good work and creating value for themselves, the country, and investors.”

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