Pre-school chain EuroKids, furniture e-tailer Urban Ladder, Canadian investment firm Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and SBI Life Insurance Company Ltd are among the winners of the VCCircle Awards 2020.
The annual awards, now in their ninth year, felicitate private equity- and venture capital-backed companies in key sectors as well as investment funds, law firms and investment bankers.
The winners were awarded on Thursday after the conclusion of the VCCircle India Limited Partners Summit 2020, held at the Trident Hotel in Mumbai.
The winners were chosen based on the recommendations of an eminent four-member jury. The jury comprised Gaurav Dalmia, chairman of Dalmia Group Holdings; Umang Vora, CEO of drugmaker Cipla; TR Ramachandran, group country manager for Visa; and Soumya Rajan, founder and CEO of multi-family office Waterfield.
For the portfolio companies, the jury compared the nominees on various parameters including revenue and profit growth and the return on capital employed.
Urban Ladder, EuroKids, pathology chain Thyrocare, green energy producer ReNew Power, organic agri-produce firm Suminter, environment management services company Ramky and SBI Life bagged the portfolio company awards in their respective sectors.
The awards also recognised top PE and VC fundraisers, as also the exit of the year based on annualised return, or the internal rate of return (IRR).
Kotak Investment Advisors Ltd, the alternative asset management arm of Kotak Group, which raised $1 billion under a special situations fund, bagged the PE fundraiser of the year award. A91 Partners, which was created by former Sequoia Capital executives, received the VC fundraiser of the year award for scooping up a record $351 million, beating its own target and raising the bar for first-time funds.
For the VC fundraiser award, the jury was not looking at the quantum per se. Instead, the jury picked A91 because of certain notable feats such as a first-time fund manager raising such a large corpus and committing a good chunk of the founders’ past earnings as ‘skin-in-the-game’ as the contribution of the general partners.
Venture capital firms Sequoia and Lightspeed won the award for the exit of the year thanks to their multi-bagger returns from the partial share buyback by Oyo founder Ritesh Agarwal.
The jury members did also closely consider recognising Carlyle’s quick exit move from SBI Life. In terms of annualised returns, both were neck and neck, but eventually the far superior multiple on principal investment carried the day for Sequoia and Lightspeed (click here for details on who made more money and how) .
Everstone, which has built a multi-asset investment franchise and manages assets worth $5-6 billion (here’s a deeper look at its strategy and portfolio hits and misses), secured the Indian fund manager award while Brookfield topped the list among the foreign investors.
These fund manager awards recognise investors for cumulative investment in India to date. Brookfield, which followed the footsteps of past winners Blackstone and KKR, led the show in 2019 with two blockbuster deals—for a Reliance gas pipeline and Jio telecom towers along with its co-investors. The tower deal was the biggest-ever PE transaction in the country.
The best intermediaries—investment banks and law firms—were honoured, too. EY (formerly Ernst & Young) and Arpwood received the investment bank of the year award for PE and M&A categories, respectively. AZB and Khaitan & Co received the law firms of the year award under the PE and M&A categories, respectively.
VCCircle also conferred a special investment professional of the year award, recognising the efforts of Shweta Jalan as leading the show for Advent International. Advent shrugged off its cautious stance of a slow and steady dealmaking approach in India in the past to strike almost half a dozen transactions in 2019.
One interesting aspect of the awards this year was that three (Thyrocare, ReNew and Suminter) of the seven portfolio company awards and two (EY and AZB) of the four advisory service awards were bagged by repeat winners. What’s even more interesting is that these five winners figured among the awardees in the same year—2017!
Incidentally, the awards process bars winners in a portfolio company category to be nominated for the same category for next two years. For advisors this is restricted to one year as the pool of top bankers and lawyers is a small club.
The nominations for the awards were powered by VCCEdge, the data research platform of Mosaic Digital, the banner behind VCCircle.
Here is the full list of winners.
Consumer Company of the Year: Urban Ladder
Education Company of the Year: EuroKids
Financial Services Company of the Year: SBI Life Insurance
Healthcare Company of the Year: Thyrocare
Infrastructure Company of the Year: ReNew Power
Agri Company of the Year: Suminter India Organics
Industrials Company of the Year: Ramky Enviro
Exit of the Year: Lightspeed, Sequoia—Oyo
Investment Bank of the Year – PE: EY
Investment Bank of the Year – M&A: Arpwood
Law firm of the Year – PE: AZB
Law firm of the Year – M&A: Khaitan & Co
Fundraiser of the Year – PE: Kotak Investment Advisors (Kotak Special Situations Fund)
Fundraiser of the Year – VC: A91 Partners
Indian Fund Manager: Everstone
Global Fund Manager (In India): Brookfield
Investment Professional of the Year: Shweta Jalan (Advent)
Here’s the list of past winners