Chicago and Bangalore-based data analytics firm Mu Sigma has raised $108 million in an investment round led by General Atlantic. This is believed to be the biggest private equity investment made till date in the emerging market for analytics services, and follows Mu Sigma’s April round of $25 million, led by Sequoia Capital.

Sequoia Capital also participated in the current round, raising its stake in the privately held company. The earlier deal was done by the US and India growth funds of Sequoia, and was led by its India managing director Shailendra Singh who also sits on the company board.

Mu Sigma said in a statement that it's already profitable and could fund its operations, but it would use the fresh funding to “accelerate its growth in the burgeoning analytics services market.” Part of the new capital would be used to buy shares back from existing shareholders, a report in Wall Street Journal said, without mentioning the exact figure.

In 2008, Mu Sigma raised a $30 million funding commitment from FTV Capital. Before that, it had also raised funding from Erasmic Venture Fund (now Accel India) although the status of this investment is not known.

The company was founded in 2004 by Dhiraj C Rajaram, who was earlier a strategy consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Rajaram holds an MBA from the University of Chicago, an M.S. in Computer Engineering from Wayne State University and a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the College of Engineering, Guindy, Anna University.

Mu Sigma, which has its main delivery centre in Bangalore, said that between 2008 and 2010, it had recorded revenue growth of 886 per cent. It now claims to be the largest pure-play provider of analytics and decision support services. The company “provides its clients with a competitive edge by helping them to institutionalise decision support and analytics within their organisations in a sustainable, recurring manner, using a global delivery model,” said a statement.

Mu Sigma focuses on areas like marketing, supply chain and risk analytics through the use of applied mathematics, business applications and technology tools. It has more than 50 Fortune 500 clients (Microsoft and Dell are among those) and employs 1500 analytics professionals.

Earlier this year, global consulting firm McKinsey issued a research report estimating that the universe of digital information would increase another twentyfold by 2020. It recently issued a research report predicting that for businesses to handle an explosion of Big Data – defined as data sets too big to be readily handled by current database technologies – another 140,000-190,000 deep analytical talent positions need to be created in the coming years.

“We have long known and admired Mu Sigma for the strength of its management team and its innovative service offerings. The Big Data phenomenon is creating huge challenges for corporations as they look to better harness information to accelerate and improve decision-making, and Mu Sigma is an excellent antidote,” said Bill Ford, CEO of General Atlantic, who will be joining the Mu Sigma board. General Atlantic has already invested in India-based IT/ITeS firms like Genpact, Patni Computers and Hexaware, among others.

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