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PremjiInvest leads $103-mn investment in US software firm
Photo Credit: VCCircle

PremjiInvest, the family office of Wipro Ltd chairman Azim Premji, has led an investment of $103 million (around Rs 730 crore at current exchange rates) in US-based business intelligence software firm Looker Data Sciences Inc.

Looker Data Sciences said in a statement that the infusion was part of a Series E round of funding in which American investment firm Cross Creek Advisors also came in as a new investor while existing backers participated as well.

Looker’s existing investors include Alphabet Inc’s growth capital arm CapitalG, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Meritech Capital Partners, Redpoint Ventures, First Round Capital, Sapphire Ventures and Goldman Sachs.

“We chose to invest in Looker because we were impressed with its business execution, product differentiation and vision,” said Sandesh Patnam, lead partner in the US for PremjiInvest.

Looker has raised a total of $280.5 million since 2013. It was founded in 2012. The company’s business intelligence software and big data analytics platform helps customers explore, analyse and share real-time business analytics.

“We believe that data becomes exponentially more valuable when it is intelligently integrated together, at scale, across the entire organisation, so Looker took a uniquely different and modern approach to the myriad of point solutions and single-use data tools,” said Looker chief executive Frank Bien.

The applications delivered by Looker through its platform include business-specific solutions such as digital marketing analytics and web event analytics. It helps partners and developers build third-party applications on its platform.

Looker’s clients include Sony, Amazon, The Economist, IBM, Spotify, Etsy, Lyft and Kickstarter.

The company is headquartered at Santa Cruz in California and has an employee base of nearly 600. It has offices outside the US in London, Tokyo and Dublin. Earlier this year, it expanded operations into Tokyo to support customers in the region and drive growth across Asia-Pacific.

PremjiInvest

PremjiInvest puts in money through its PI Opportunities Fund and Pioneer Investment Fund. It has invested in around half-a-dozen new firms since January, according to VCCEdge, the data and research platform of News Corp VCCircle.

In February, PremjiInvest had backed US-based payment services provider Yapstone.

In May, it led a $100-million Series E round of funding in US-based fraud prevention startup Signifyd.

In June, PremjiInvest picked up a stake in Future Retail Ltd in its single-biggest investment to date, almost a decade after the Wipro chairman burnt his hands in the retail sector with now-defunct supermarket chain Subhiksha.

The investment firm, which has been an active investor in the e-commerce sector with stakes in Snapdeal and Lenskart, bought a 6% stake in the operator of BigBazaar hypermarkets and EasyDay supermarkets from Bharti Group for Rs 1,672 crore ($250 million).

Its previous single-biggest bet was the purchase of a 4% stake in ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co Ltd for Rs 1,300 crore ($197 million).

The firm’s other large bets include investments in educational and training services company Manipal Global Education, diversified financial services firm Aditya Birla Capital Ltd and the National Stock Exchange Ltd.

On Thursday, consumer healthcare company Zydus Wellness said PremjiInvest will contribute Rs 100 crore to fund its purchase of Heinz India Pvt. Ltd , the Indian unit of The Kraft Heinz Company.

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