Asian hedge fund start-up Azura Capital, launched by Simran Mulchandani and Sanjay Mansabdar, has attracted seed capital investment from RMF's Hedge Fund Ventures unit (HVF), which specialises in investing in early stage hedge funds. Swiss-based RMF, is a subsidiary of hedge fund giant Man Investments.

RMF would not reveal the amount of the initial investment in Azura, but a spokesperson confirmed that investment amounts in new funds range from $20 million to $40 million. Azura currently has $25 million under management.

HFV was launched by RMF in 2001 to provide assets under management to start up hedge funds in return for an equity stake, or a revenue share in the underlying management company. Azura is the eleventh hedge fund, and third Asian hedge fund to attract early stage sponsorship from this unit.

Namuh Rhee's Pine Tree, a Korean equity long/short fund and Mitchell Porten's Stone Harbor Advisors, a Japanese event driven fund, are only other Asian hedge funds to have received early stage investments from the Hedge Fund Ventures programme.

Singapore-based Azura Capital launched the Azura Asia Opportunity Fund less than a month ago. The multi strategy Asian macro fund invests in multiple asset classes and focuses primarily on the Asian markets of Singapore, Korea, India, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong. Fund managers Mulchandani and Mansabdar each have over a decade of experience in financial services.

Mulchandani has seven years of trading experience in New York and Singapore and has authored pricing and risk management systems for JPMorgan in New York. He also spent two years managing the Asia ex-Japan operations for LabMorgan, the e-finance unit of JPMorgan.

Mansabdar has nine years of trading experience across various products and markets with JPMorgan and Bank of America. Most recently he ran interest rate trading for Asia ex-Japan markets at Bank of America.

"Simran and Sanjay are very experienced traders and businessmen who've shown they can cope well in different market conditions," says Claude Porret, head of hedge fund ventures at RMB. "We're very pleased to be able to team up with them. With this investment we are strengthening our commitment to Asia and managers based there."