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Star GPs On Startup Mode; PEs Beef Up Team, Get Industry Pros On Board

03 January, 2011

2010 will perhaps be defined as a record year in people trends in the Indian venture capital and private equity universe. The most dominant trend in 2010 was star private equity professionals quitting their jobs to go solo by setting up their own independent investment management outfits.

Industry stalwarts like Ajay Relan (ex-CVCI head who started CX Partners) and Renuka Ramnath (ex-ICICI Venture head who started Multiples), who took the plunge in 2009 almost setting a new trend, have already had successful fundraises.

So, 2011 will be a crucial year for a number of these PE “startups” who have ventured on the entrepreneurial journey. Apart from this, the year also saw several established PE firms such as KKR, Accel and TA Associates and startup PE outfits beefing up their teams given the pickup in deal activity. 2010 also saw PE firms roping in industry professionals perhaps signaling that buyout or control transactions may be on the rise in the coming years.

VCCircle brings you its selection of “People Moves” profiling professionals we should watch in 2011.

Investopreneurs

Rajesh Khanna, former Warburg Pincus managing director and India head, quit to start a new private equity fund Arka Capital. KPMG Corporate Finance’s Rohit Kapur and Helix Investments Director and Head of India Investments Cyrus Driver have joined Arka as managing directors. In what will be the most watched PE start-up in 2011, Arka plans to kick off fundraising  by second quarter (April-June 2011) targeting to raise around $400 million.

The year also saw the exodus of an ICICI Venture team–Jayanta Banerjee, Anand Vyas and Sunay Mathure—which has founded Pravi Capital targeting fundraise of $200 million. Pravi also roped in Tapan Gandhi, former head of corporate development & strategy, Lehman Brothers, as Principal Investments.

Ex-Aureos Capital’s India team members Nilesh Mehta and Sangeeta Modi have set up a $150-million Access India Advantages Fund to invest in mid-market opportunities. It has also roped in Girish Patel, Chairman of Paras Pharmaceuticals (recently acquired by Reckitt Benckiser Group for $726 million), as operating partner.

Other PE honchos who quit earlier this year to set up their own ventures include Ranjeet Nabha, former managing director and CEO of Indian operations of WL Ross & Co, who plans to start his special situations opportunities fund of around $250 million. P R Srinivasan, the former managing director & India Region Head of Citigroup Venture Capital International (CVCI), started  Exponentia Capital looking to raise a $400-500 million maiden fund after quitting earlier this year.

Social venture fund Acumen India director Varun Sahni also started his own PE firm, Global Impact Investors, to specialise in critical service sectors in emerging markets. It will launch its first fund, a $100-million India healthcare offering, in Q1 2011.

Another highly watched PE start-up will be KV Asia Capital, founded by former Standard Chartered PE honchos Karam Butalia and Vibhav Panandiker. KV is floating a $500-million fund focussing on India and South East Asia.

Team-building

Besides new funds, several PE firms also beefed up their teams as they hunt for more deals in 2011. Private equity major KKR roped in former Goldman Sachs’ principal investment unit MD Heramb Hajarnavis as a director to expand its India PE business. Mahesh Chhabria, a partner looking after growth capital investments for British PE major 3i Group Plc in India, joined Actis as a partner. TA Associates appointed Standard Chartered Private Equity’s Dhiraj Poddar as a Director. Accel Partners, which started India growth capital practice with hire of Apax’s Neeraj Bharadwaj, roped in Prateek Dhawan as a principal in the team.

Warburg Pincus and CVCI, both of which lost multiple India team heads over the last few years, appointed pros from other geographies to overlook local operations. London-based managing director Dalip Pathak, who also looks after the European operations, assumed direct oversight of Warburg Pincus’ India investment activities. CVCI appointed Sunil Nair, who also looks after central and eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, as head of its PE business in India.

Existing players also roped in PE veterans to spearhead new lines in their investing business. Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC) roped in Chetan Dave, former Sun-Apollo realty fund head, as president & CEO of Real Estate Investment. ICICI Venture hired Manikkan Sangameswaran, former chief of Babcock & Brown Infrastructure’s India unit, to head its infrastructure fund business.

In another move, Amitabh Chakraborty, former president of equity at Religare Securities, joined as MD & chief investment officer of Kitara Capital, a Gulf-based PE firm which is setting up its India office.

Industry Pros Move To PE

The trend of hiring operating partners also continued into 2010 and may rise as more PE firms look at buyout or control transactions. Advent International appointed former Thermax managing director Prakash Kulkarni to its operating partner programme. Manvinder (Vindi) Singh Banga, a former member of the Unilever executive board, joined global private equity major  Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, LLC as an operating partner based in London.

TPG Capital, the global private investment firm, roped in Reliance Retail executive Gunender Kapur on board as a senior advisor. Bessemer Venture Partners appointed Ashok Juneja, a telecom industry professional and former corporate director of Bharti Group, as its operating partner. Blue River Capital appointed Rama Ramasundar, who has worked with corporates like Hindustan Lever, Pepsi and Ranbaxy, as director.

New Beginning

Several PE firms also saw transformation at the senior level as their founding heads took on either advisory roles or moved on. Satish Mandhana took over as Managing Partner from outgoing chief executive Luis Miranda, who will now move into the role of non-executive Chairman of IDFC Private Equity. Kartik Parija, who co-founded SME-focused PE firm Zephyr Peacock India, quit the firm last year.


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Star GPs On Startup Mode; PEs Beef Up Team, Get Industry Pros On Board

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