Indian private equity fund Gaja Capital Partners is on its way to close its first fund of $200 million. The Mumbai based fund, which shot to fame after making almost 24X from their investment in educational technology company Educomp Solutions Ltd, has received funding from Electra partners, a UK based mid-market private equity firm, and Goldman Sachs, reports Dow Jones-owned eFinancial News. Electra will be investing $15 million in the fund, and is likely to be the single largest investor, the report says. Goldman Sachs investment is not disclosed.
Gaja is founded by Gopal Jain (pictured), who was earlier heading venture capital firm View Group in India, and Ranjit Shah. The fund also has the backing of Sanjay Patel, the co-head of Goldman Sachs’ private equity business in Europe. His name is listed as a “strategic adviser” to the firm.
According to industry sources, Gaja has raised as much as $144 million so far, and is heading towards $200 million. VC Circle’s call to Gopal Jain’s office for his comments was not responded to till this post was written.
eFinancial News quotes David Symondson, deputy managing partner at Electra, as saying that “Gaja would be able to successfully raise the targeted corpus of $200 million or would reach very close to it”. The report further quotes Symondson saying that Electra plans to forge relationships with general partners in India, not only to source investments, but also to provide advice and insight on the local market to its European portfolio companies.
In the late 1990s, Electra had a successful joint venture in India and south Asia with Flemings and made investments across sectors in companies like Aksh optifibre (Fibre Optic cable), Him Teknoforge (auto Components), Meghmani Organics (specialty chemicals), Moser baer (data storage media), RT Packaging (Flexible packaging) and Zensar Technologies (software services). All these investments were made in the period between 1995 and 1997.
Even though Gaja has been making investments in India for a while, it has not closed its first fund yet. So the $200 million fund that it will soon reach its close is technically its first fund. Gaja has been raising capital (or deploying partner’s capital) as and when it found an opportunity. The fund plans to do 10 to 15 deals in the range of $5 million to $15 million. Gaja Capital has invested in companies like Vishal Retail (which went public last year) and Educomp Solutions (its Rs 3 crore investment gave a return of 24X), while its most recent investment was Career Launcher, a management preperatory education company, besides Bonanza, a brokerage house and retail finacial services firm.