The latest to join the growing list of independent fund managers is the Ex-Aureos Capital's India team, which has now teamed up to set up a $150-million Access India Advantages Fund to invest in mid-market oppounities.

Founded by Nilesh Mehta, the former managing partner for Aureos Capital India, the fund is currently on road to raise $150 million. The newly formed inevstment firm is also targetting a first close in the range of $40-$50 million in February, Mehta told VCCircle. In conjunction with the first close, it will also do its first deal, mostly in the healthcare space.

Mehta managed Aureos Capital’s India business as co-head and Managing Partner from 2005 to May 2010. Aureos raised a $100-million India Opportunities Fund to invest in mid-market opportunities in India. The investors in Aureos included some development financial institutions from Europe, insurance companies, commercial banks and family offices. The fund made five investments and achieved two exits during his tenure.

He added that they have already received soft commitments from various offshore family offices and is confident of making the first close in February. Sangeeta Modi, ex-partner at Aureos Capital India, has also joined Mehta in this venture. The company is also hiring a financial controller Amol Gannu, who was earlier with KPMG. The private equity firm also plans to get an associate on board before the first close.

While the fund will largely be sector-agnostic, it will have a predominant focus towards healthcare. The investment firm has also lined up operating partners to help portfolio firms. It has already got on board Girish Patel, Chairman, Paras Pharmaceuticals and the CMD of an FMCG company, who led the firm's move into healthcare. Apart from healthcare, the fund will also focus on lifesciences, consumer goods, infrastructure services, light engineering and technology.

Access India Advantage will make investments in the range of $10-$15 million but will begin with a ticket size of $5-$7 million for its investments, said Mehta, who has been the General Partner of eIndia Venture Fund/Infinity II, where he led four IT-related investments in India/US from 2000 to 2005.

In the recent past, a large number of senior executives have opted to go solo and set up their own funds rather than joining other PE firms. PE industry veterans, who are in the fundraising process, include PR Srinivasan (ex-Citigroup Venture Capital International), Harsha Raghavan (ex-Candover) and Subbu Subramaniam (ex-Baring Private Equity). Rajesh Khanna, who left Warburg Pincus, also plans to set up his own fund.

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