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The Karnataka government is launching three funds with a total corpus of around 160 crore to focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and biotech and semi-conductor start-ups in the state. Karnataka Asset Management Co. Pvt. Ltd (Kamco) already manages two early-stage funds--Kitven Fund and Kitven Fund-2. The SME-targeted fund, named Karnataka Venture Capital Fund (Karven Fund), will have a corpus of 10 crore to invest in companies in the manufacturing, agro processing, auto components, clean tech and aero parts sectors.

Karnataka has in its kitty many of India's top biotech firms including Biocon and Avesthagen. In the semiconductor space, Bangalore has the largest cluster of chip design firms in India, ac- cording to the state's policy document. Karnataka expects its incentives to boost interest in chip and solar photovoltaic cell manufacturing as well.

Kamco, promoted by Karnataka State Industrial Investment and Development Corp. Ltd, Karnataka State Financial Corp. and Small Industries Development Bank of India, launched its first fund--Kitven Fund--in 1999 with a corpus of 15 crore and a focus on information technology (IT) companies. It invested in 17 companies from this fund. So far, it has sold its investments in 13 of these and partially exited from another. Kitven Fund-2, Kamco's second fund, is registered as a venture capital fund with capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and has a corpus of `26.25 crore raised two years ago.

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