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Star partner at Indian venture firm Nexus to leave and launch own fund

Sameer Brij Verma, a high-profile investor at the venture firm Nexus, will be leaving the fund later this year, he confirmed to TechCrunch, in a move that has sent shock waves through the Indian VC industry. Verma plans to launch his own venture firm in India, with the inaugural fund expected to have a corpus of at least $150 million, a source familiar with the matter said.

The move comes as a surprise to the industry, as Verma has been the most prominent face for Nexus Venture Partners, one of the country's leading venture firms, and also its most active dealmaker, his peers in the industry said.

He led or co-led some of Nexus' most successful investments, including unicorns Postman, Hasura, Infra.market, Unacademy, and younger firm Ultrahuman, which announced new funding Wednesday.

Verma has earned high praise from India's startup founders, including entrepreneurs who didn't end up getting a deal from Nexus, for his willingness to provide strategic guidance and support.

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The timing of his departure is also peculiar, as Nexus raised a $700 million fund, its largest, just last year. Any major leadership shifts within a firm is expected prior to new fundraises. Verma has been working with his portfolio startups to hand over board seats to other partners at Nexus for several months, the source said, requesting anonymity.

Verma declined to comment beyond confirming his plans to leave Nexus.

Verma plans to launch his own fund by the end of the year, when he plans to adopt a strategy that sets him apart from other investment firms in India. He plans to take a more hands-on approach with his portfolio companies, actively engaging in their operations rather than solely focusing on optimizing for power law returns, according to a person briefed on the matter.

His new fund will back startups across stages. Indian daily Economic Times first reported about Verma's departure plans.