Temasek’s venture debt arm InnoVen Capital has appointed Ashish Sharma, former chief executive and president of GE Capital India, as the new chief executive officer of its Indian operations, a company statement said.
The appointment comes over three months after its former CEO Ajay Hattangdi and another key executive Vinod Murali left the firm.
After their exits, Innoven Capital had appointed Chin Chao, CEO of its Singapore and Southeast Asia region, as the interim CEO for its Indian division.
Sharma has been associated with GE and GE Capital for 19 years. He started his career as a management trainee under the firm’s global financial management programme, and subsequently, took on progressive leadership roles across multiple businesses, global markets and functions, including business head and commercial/corporate finance, the statement added.
“His (Sharma's) track record in building and leading teams to deliver high-performance growth, combined with strategic vision and deep, executional knowledge of India, puts him in good stead to expand InnoVen’s activities in India," Shantanu Mitra, chairman of InnoVen, said.
Early in June, InnoVen Capital came into focus after Hattangdi and Murali left in quick succession. The Economic Times reported that they are launching their own venture debt firm, Alteria Capital, and plan to raise a total corpus of Rs 1,000 crore ($125 million), including a greenshoe option of Rs 200 crore.
Singapore’s state-owned investment firm Temasek and Singapore-based lender UOB acquired Nasdaq-listed diversified financial services company SVB Financial Group’s specialty finance business focussed on venture debt in early 2015. SVB India Finance was then renamed as InnoVen Capital Group.
InnoVen has provided over $225 million in capital to more than 100 tech startups across India. Its portfolio companies include Oyo Rooms, Swiggy, Byju’s, Nestaway, Pepperfry, Prizm Payments, Shaadi.com, Shopclues, Myntra, FreeCharge, Manthan Software, Firstcry, Practo and Capillary Technologies.
The venture debt firm usually writes cheques at the post-Series A stage, but it mentors early-stage startups as well.
Venture debt is an important tool of funding for companies as it rarely involves stake dilution by the promoters. It also provides the companies more time to grow. The segment is growing in India even as venture capital activity is seeing a slowdown.
Apart from InnoVen Capital, Delhi’s Trifecta Capital Advisors, Bengaluru-based Capital Float, IFMR Capital of Chennai and Ahmedabad-based Lendingkart are leading players offering debt funding to early-stage companies in India.