The trend of private equity professionals going solo continues unabated. The latest to join the bandwagon is global non-profit social venture fund Acumen India director Varun Sahni who has started his own PE firm, Global Impact Investors (GII) specialising in critical service sectors in emerging markets. Sahni quit Acumen in July this year.
GII--which is raising funds from a mix of HNIs, family offices, sovereign funds, fund of funds and development financial institutions--will launch its first fund, a $100-million India healthcare fund in Q1 2011.
Varun, who is designated as fund manager of GII, told VCCircle, “I saw a critical gap in the next round of financing for impact investing for growth capital (in the region) of $5-10 million and the reason for setting up Global Impact Investors is to both capitalize impact investments for greater scale as well as address the financing gap in that space.” GII has its focus on the demand-led growth industries such as healthcare, education, basic utilities.
Explaining the rationale behind setting up a healthcare fund, he said, “With only 860 beds per million people at one-fifth of the world average, India faces a severe shortage of healthcare infrastructure. Of the $25 billion of future investment needed, the government is expected to contribute only 15-20%, with the private sector contributing the reminder. GII will prioritise investments across the healthcare value chain- healthcare service providers, pharma retail, medical equipment manufacturers, third party administrators and skills training.”
Prior to joining Acumen Fund, Sahni was involved as an angel investor in a number of companies in the education, hospitality services and food and beverage sectors across India. He received an MA from Columbia University in Political Economy.
Two of Sahni's colleagues have also joined him in the new initiative. Jay Barrymore, who was the interim manager of Acumen Fund's India energy portfolio, and Clara Barby, who co-led Acumen Fund India’s global energy strategy and managed investments in early-stage clean technology companies, have joined GII.
GII's other team members include Nadia Sood, a member of the managing board of SN Power, a global renewable energy company and Shaffi Mather, a lawyer.
Other PE professionals who have set up their own venture include PR Srinivasan, the former managing director & India Region Head of Citigroup Venture Capital International (CVCI). He has set up Exponentia Capital and launched a fund targeting a corpus of $400 million. In April this year, Subbu Subramaniam, former partner with Baring Private Equity Partners, launched his own fund under the banner of M Cap Fund Advisors. Harsha Raghavan, former India head of Candover, joined hands with Neeraj Bhargava, group chief executive officer of business process outsourcing services firm WNS Holdings Ltd, to start PE fund-Steer Capital early this year. Former ICICI Venture veterans--Jayanta Banerjee, Anand Vyas and Sunay Mathure--founded Pravi Capital with a target of $200 million this year. Rajesh Khanna, former India head for private equity major Warburg Pincus, is also learnt to be setting up his own fund.