Infosys gets long-time employee to lead startup fund
Photo Credit: Reuters

Infosys has finally found a replacement to lead its $500-million startup fund, nearly 10 months after Yusuf Bashir, the managing director of Infosys Innovation Fund, abruptly put in his papers.

The software services major has appointed its long-time employee Deepak Padaki to head the Infosys Innovation Fund, The Economic Times reported.

Padaki, who had started as a software engineer with the IT major in 1992, is currently executive vice-president of strategy, M&A and the chief risk officer at Infosys, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Infosys Innovation Fund remains a key part of the company’s strategy, but will focus more on investments that can help digital businesses, an Infosys executive told the business daily.

An email query to an Infosys spokesperson on Padaki’s appointment did not elicit any immediate response.

Trouble at the fund surfaced after Bashir, who had led the fund for a little over two years, quit last July. His resignation came barely a few days after Ritika Suri stepped down as the IT giant’s executive vice-president. Both Bashir and Suri were former Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka’s colleagues at German business software maker SAP SE, and were considered close to him.

Sikka himself had resigned in August 2017 amid reports of a tussle with Infosys founders and the company board.

In March, Pankaj Mitra, one of the founding team members of the fund, had also resigned to join networking technology giant Cisco Systems, Inc.

Infosys Innovation Fund

The fund did not make any investment in 2017, according to VCCEdge, the data research platform of News Corp VCCircle. Earlier last month, it had made a follow-on investment of $1.5 million (Rs 9.8 crore) in Waterline Data Science Inc. It had first invested $4 million in the Delaware, US-based startup in January 2016.

The fund has so far backed nine startups and two venture capital firms, Vertex Ventures and Stellaris Venture Partners.

Its bets include WHOOP Inc, a US-based company offering performance optimisation solutions for athletes and sports teams. It had also picked up a minority stake in CloudEndure, an Israeli startup that provides cloud migration and cloud-based disaster recovery software.

The fund has also invested in cleantech startup Airviz Nova, which is a spin-off from animation technology and animation film producer DreamWorks Animation, besides in unmanned aerial vehicle solution provider ideaForge and Danish AI startup UNSILO, among others.

This apart, it had backed strategy and implementation services provider ANSR Consulting, but decided to sell its entire stake last December.

Infosys’ rival Wipro also runs a $100-million corporate venture fund. Wipro Ventures’ investments include US-based Vicarious, a robotics startup that enables computers to achieve human-level intelligence, and Altizon Systems Pvt Ltd, which operates a technology platform for developing industrial Internet of Things solutions.

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