Aashish Bhinde, India’s top digital business dealmaker, has decided to leave the investment banking firm Avendus Capital where he was heading the technology and digital practice.
Talking to VCCircle, Bhinde confirmed his decision to quit.
He said he would be with Avendus till the end of this financial year ending March 2017.
The development was first reported by The Times of India.
“It is a personal decision and I am not going to join any other firm or starting my own firm,” Bhinde told VCCircle.
“I have been working for 21 years and decided to take time off. I was thinking about it for several months,” he said.
A lot of this was triggered by some soul searching around six-months ago.
“When I asked myself what I wanted to do, if it were not for money, I could not find an answer. It was pretty shocking – I am turning 45 soon – and that is when I decided to take a break,” he said.
Avendus is rated as the top among investment banks in internet deals. Led by Bhinde, Avendus has closed 60 transactions worth $3.5 billion for internet startups. Avendus closed 14 deals last year and 12 deals in the first half of this financial year.
Now the top dealmaker has lined up things entirely different for his sabbatical. “There are three or four things I want to do. More yoga, I want to spend some time with people who do social impact work, maybe meet people in the NGO sector,” he said.
KKR, which owns majority stake in Avendus, declined to comment.
Bhinde’s decision to leave may not be the best move for Avendus, although he is keen to emphasise that the firm would not be affected.
“I have been with Avendus for 11 years, I am deeply and emotionally connected with the firm and will continue to remain so. In fact, if I ever do any work in financial services, it will be with Avendus,” he said.
The firm has consciously decided not to hire external talent to replace him, Bhinde said.
“Usually, one person at the helm who gets all the credit whereas, we have a 24-member in the digital team, which is greater than most investment banks in the country,” Bhinde said.
Avendus’ co-founder Gaurav Deepak would take over Bhinde’s role and lead the digital practice team along with two other veteran bankers Pankaj Nayak and Karan Sharma.
Some of the recent deals that Bhinde led include Flipkart’s acquisition of Jabong and fundraising by DailyHunt, Shop Clues, Byju’s, BlueStone, Swiggy, Lenskart, BookMyShow. “We have done 75% of all the deals in digital space this year where a banker is involved,” said Bhinde.
“We have a strong visibility for the rest of the year and next year. In fact, this year, we may do better than last year,” he said.
The consumer internet space has been facing a slowdown in fund inflow where large deals have become few and far between. Bhinde said, “$500 million plus deals by big internet companies have come down but what we have seen is $50-100 million and $20-50 million deals are back in vogue.”
A BITS Pilani and IIM Calcutta alumnus, Bhinde began his career with Colgate Palmolive, worked with Peerless Audio and founded Audiovertex before joining Boston-based private equity firm The Viewgroup. He joined Avendus 10 years ago. He led the European business for the first five years before becoming the leader of technology and digital practice.
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