Indian wealth manager and financial advisor Avendus Capital, backed by global private-equity firm KKR & Co. LP, appointed former director of Providence Equity Partners LLC, Varun Laul, as managing director of its technology-focused early-stage investor Zodius Capital Advisors, acquired in November 2017, the company said.
A founding team member of Providence’s India/ South Asia office in 2007, Laul had been with the firm for 10 years 9 months. In March 2017, global private equity firm Providence said it was scaling back its operations in India to focus primarily on the US and Europe. A person familiar with the firm’s plans had at that point said Providence was retaining its Delhi-based director Laul to manage its remaining portfolio companies. His portfolio management responsibilities included Hathway Cable and Datacom Ltd. (pay TV and broadband company), Idea Cellular (wireless operator), Indus Towers (telecom tower company) and ShopCJ (TV home-shopping company).
Laul will now be a part of a Zodius Capital team that will manage funds launched in the future under the leadership of managing director Shilpa Kulkarni. Existing Zodius funds will continue to be led by Neeraj Bhargava, senior managing director and founder of Zodius Capital. He will also be an advisor and investment committee member on future funds.
Reflecting on his new assignment, Laul said Zodius represents a great opportunity to identify and grow market leaders in digital consumption and enterprise technology space in India.
Laul is currently a board member of UFO Moviez India, digital cinema content distribution platform and in-cinema advertising network, which is publicly listed.
Before Providence, he was investment banker with Merrill Lynch, consultant at AT Kearney, and sales manager at Hindustan Unilever.
Laul is a mechanical engineer from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and holds an MBA degree in analytical finance from the Indian School of Business.
Zodius has backed companies such as AppsDaily, BigBasket, FreshMenu, PepperFry and Zivame. It manages the $110-million Zodius Technology Fund and the $30-million Zodius Technology Opportunities Fund, which it had launched along with Avendus much before its acquisition by the latter. It also manages a $20-million independent fund.
At the time of acquisition, Avendus said it planned to float a $250-million Zodius Growth Capital Fund.
The new fund will be led by Kulkarni, a partner in the previous Zodius funds.