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Temasek’s InnoVen Capital names Chin Chao as interim CEO for India
Chin Chao, CEO, InnoVen, Singapore & Southeast Asia

Temasek's venture debt arm InnoVen Capital said its CEO of Singapore and Southeast Asia region, Chin Chao, will take additional charge as interim CEO for India.

The board, however, continues its search for a permanent CEO for its Indian division, InnoVen Capital India Pvt. Ltd, the firm said in a statement.

“Our shareholders and board remain committed to InnoVen. We have a strong and dedicated team on the ground in India, and are making good progress in identifying a new CEO to lead the company," said Shantanu Mitra, chairman, InnoVen.

Chao, who has over 15 years of experience in the venture capital and venture debt space, will succeed Ajay Hattangdi, it said.

In June, The Economic Times reported that Hattangdi and another key executive Vinod Murali left InnoVen to launch their own venture debt fund.

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.

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