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SoftBank ropes in another tech giant honcho for Vision Fund
Photo Credit: Reuters

The manager of the $100 billion Vision Fund of Japan's SoftBank Group has roped in interim Google India head as its first operating partner in India – another instance of a top executive leaving tech giants for the venture capital industry.

Vikas Agnihotri took over as interim Google India head in April 2019 as Rajan Anandan, vice-president for Google Southeast Asia moved on from his role at the tech giant to join the leadership team at Sequoia Capital India as managing director.

Also, Agnihotri’s appointment comes almost a year after SoftBank Investment Advisers hired former Facebook India head Kirthiga Reddy to be a part of the Vision Fund.

Before becoming interim Google India head, Agnihotri was in charge of sales across India. He has been associated with Google for over eight years, and joined the tech giant in 2011 as director of auto, BFSI, CPG, telecom, travel, media and entertainment.

An alumnus of the Sydenham Institute of Management Studies, Agnihotri has also worked at entities such as Deutsche Bank, Religare Macquarie Private Wealth Management, and Standard Chartered Bank.

He is also on the board of the Mobile Marketing Association, the Advertising Standards Council of India, and the Internet and Mobile Association of India.

In a statement, SoftBank Investment Advisers said the appointment of Agnihotri will help continue its India expansion as well as forge closer connections with the region’s technology system and the investment firm’s global network.

SoftBank Group Corp. had hired Sumer Juneja as the country head for India in November 2018 from multi-stage venture capital and growth equity investment firm Norwest Venture Partners.

SoftBank's Vision Fund has invested in a number of Indian companies including payments firm Paytm, ride-hailing firm Ola and hospitality startup OYO.

In one of its latest transactions this year, it backed US-based fintech firm C2FO, which operates a marketplace that provides working capital to companies and counts India as its fastest-growing market.

Last month, the Vision Fund said it would invest $275 million (around Rs 1,956 crore) in Lenskart in a transaction that would see some of the omni-channel eyewear retailer’s early investors trim their stake. The startup, operated by Lenskart Solutions Pvt. Ltd, said it would use the capital to augment its technological capabilities.

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