Illustration: Rahul Awasthi
Illustration: Rahul Awasthi

Naspers-backed Prosus, the global consumer internet-focused investor, has committed Rs 100 crore to the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund, the disaster relief trust set up to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

The commitment by Prosus is possibly the largest by a single risk capital investor in India so far, and comes 10 days after a number of top fund managers from blue-chip venture capital firms—including Sequoia Capital, Accel and Lightspeed Venture Partners—and prominent startup CEOs joined hands to set up a Rs 100-crore ACT Grant that will back fledgling firms working on products and services to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

India, the world’s second-most populous nation, is currently under a three-week countrywide lockdown, which could be extended, as it combats the coronavirus outbreak. According to government data, the country has, as of Friday morning, recorded 5,709 active cases, with 199 deaths.

As per a statement released by Prosus, the Euronext Amsterdam-listed global consumer internet investment arm of Naspers, will also work with its portfolio companies in the country, including, Swiggy, PayU India, OLX and Byju’s, to help communities and consumers across the board.

“These are unprecedented times and we want to play our part in contributing to the efforts underway in India. By working with government and civil society, we hope to help India overcome this very difficult period. We are also immensely proud of the innovative efforts of our partner companies to help their country, customers and colleagues,” Bob van Dijk, group chief executive of Prosus and Naspers, said.

For instance, Swiggy announced on March 31 that it had set up the Swiggy Hunger Savior Covid Relief Fund that will be used to support its delivery fleet and their families, with primary contributions being made by the company’s founders, senior leaders, employees and investors.

Additionally, classifieds company OLX will contribute to an NGO fund to help migrant and blue-collar workers displaced by the crisis, the company-issued statement added.

Prosus, which has been investing in India since 2005, has pumped in an estimated $5 billion in the country’s ecosystem, across sectors, having backed the likes of Flipkart, India’s largest online retailer, food delivery major Swiggy, ed-tech unicorn Byju’s and social commerce startup Meesho, among others.

Prosus came into effect in March last year, after Naspers announced its intention to list its international internet assets on Euronext Amsterdam with a secondary, inward listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in South Africa. It formally listed on the stock exchange in September 2019.

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