SEVA, a new growth equity fund, secures $85M for debut fund in four months

After five years sharpening his technology investor skills at Susquehanna Growth Equity, Shalin Mehta is now a solo general partner at his own growth equity firm, securing $85 million in capital commitments for his debut fund.

While at Susquehanna, the 29-year-old led investments in companies, including NoRedInk and MuckRack. Now with SEVA, a firm he started earlier this year, Mehta intends to invest in New York-based customer-centric founders of fast-growing, bootstrapped companies to scale via profitable growth, he told TechCrunch.

Mehta and three other team members lead SEVA, a name inspired by the Sanskrit word meaning “selfless service.”

“That means to be in service of,” Mehta explained. “If anything, I have served in the last decade of my career, it’s customer-centric founders and companies. That’s why I made the decision to start SEVA earlier this year.”

SEVA joins a growing list of emerging fund managers debuting their first funds this year, including Avra, Faction Ventures, Yellow, Garuda Ventures, Ovni Capital, Oversubscribed Ventures, Emblem, Venture Guides, The Family Fund and Phenomenal Ventures.

Unlike some emerging fund managers who had challenges raising first funds in the past year, SEVA was able to close on $85 million in a short period of time — four months — even exceeding its original target of $50 million.

The fund’s backing comes from institutional investors, university endowments, charitable foundations, family offices and founders that Mehta invested in while in his prior roles at Susquehanna and Spectrum Equity. Those bootstrapped founders are similar to the founders SEVA intends to invest in, he said.

Mehta has not made any investments from SEVA Fund I yet. Plans are to invest in eight to 10 companies from the first fund over the next three to five years, writing $5 million to $15 million checks into profitable, founder-led companies, he said. His expertise is in internet, software, data, marketplace and technology-enabled services companies.

In addition, Mehta has cultivated a network of founders and growth-stage technology executives to partner with portfolio companies in such areas as strategic planning, executive hiring and go-to-market, to help them continue long-term growth and profitability, as well as exit planning.

Meanwhile, Mehta sees SEVA as being a little different than other investment firms — as in between private equity and venture capital.

“I’ve committed my entire investing career to investing in bootstrapped or founder-led, profitable, fast-growing, technology-enabled companies, those that don’t need venture capital or growth-stage ventures or they don’t want to sell control,” Mehta said. “They want more of a consigliere. We’re not a billion-dollar growth equity or buyout firm, we’re kind of squarely in between where the founders and companies we work with. They don’t need us, they want us.”

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