New private equity firm on the block founded by former ICICI Venture veterans, Pravi Capital, is on talent acquisition mode.

As part of its efforts to strengthen the investment team, Pravi Capital has roped in Tapan Gandhi, former head of corporate development & strategy, Lehman Brothers, as Principal - Investments.

Pravi Capital will be adding two more people to the senior investment team. Pravi Capital, founded by Jayanta Banerjee, Anand Vyas and Sunay Mathure, is targeting a fund of $200 million.

After leaving Lehman, Tapan Gandhi had started his own firm, Forward Thinking, to assist small and medium enterprises on corporate strategy and corporate development. Gandhi, who has more than 15 years experience, is a CFA charter holder and has an MBA from Yale University and a Masters in Management Studies from Mumbai University. He has been associated with other organizations like Booze & Co., Philips and Capital One among others.

Apart from Gandhi, two more senior executives will join as Principal - Operations and Vice President in the investment team. Also, two operating advisors will be joining soon while another four-member team of functional experts will be set up with Pravi Capital.

Jayanta Banerjee, founding partner, Pravi Capital told VCCircle, "The most critical factor in success of a PE fund is putting together a cohesive team that will stay together. The three of us who have founded Pravi Capital have been together for almost a decade. Tapan brings in a wealth of experience in financial services both in India and the US and will be a very valuable addition to the Pravi team. In addition to Tapan, we have already identified the other two members of the six-member senior investment team. Our approach will be to be a strategic financial partner to our portfolio companies and provide active operating value add. For that purpose, we will be having a team of Operating Advisors and Functional Experts in areas like brand & marketing, HR, supply chain etc who have been identified. Our fund-raising will commence by end of 2010."

During May 2010, Jayanta Banerjee, who was the president, Anand Vyas and Sunay Mathure, both directors, resigned from ICICI Venture to form a new PE firm.

Banerjee, who joined ICICI Venture in 2002, was instrumental in raising ICICI Venture’s $810 million India Advantage Fund Series 2. Banerjee, who joined Lehman Brothers in 2007 to head the Indian PE business, rejoined ICICI Venture later. Vyas, who joined ICICI Venture in 2000, was leading investments in consumer space at ICICI Venture. Some of his investments at ICICI Venture were Metropolis, RFCL and Home Solutions. Mathure, who joined ICICI Venture in 1999, has worked on industrials sector and made investments in PVR, Action Construction and Metalcastello (JV with M&M group).

Pravi Capital eyes investments in small and mid-sized companies in non-metro cities with an average deal size of $10-15 million. The founders of Pravi together will invest about $2 million in the fund. The Fund will focus on making significant minority and control investment in sectors that are benefiting from domestic consumption, such as brands, financial services, healthcare, industrials and infrastructure related services.

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