Vikram Gandhi, the former senior banker of Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley, has been roped in to advise the National Innovation Council on the maiden India Inclusive Innovation Fund which is being formed to help encourage innovative startups in the country.
Although the exact nature of his mandate is not clear, sources say that Gandhi will be asked to advise fund structuring, capital raising, exploring investment opportunities and portfolio management.
In an e-mail response, Gandhi has refused to elaborate on the mandate as “the structure and plans are still being formulated.”
A result of the deliberations by the National Innovation Council, this fund will drive and catalyse the creation of an ecosystem of enterprise, entrepreneurship and venture capital, targeted at innovative solutions for the bottom of the pyramid.
Headed by Sam Pitroda, the council’s members include Arun Maira, Dr K Kasturirangan, Dr Ramesh Mashelkar, Kiran Karnik, Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, R Gopalakrishnan, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Shekhar Kapur, Saurabh Srivastava, Dr Anil Gupta, Dr Sujatha Ramdorai, Chandrajit Banerjee, Dr Rajeev Kumar, Dr Samir Brahmachari, Dr Sanjay Dhande and R Gopalakrishnan.
According to the official site of National Innovation Council, this fund will focus on providing risk capital funding to enterprises and subject to applicable laws, will work with other funds with objectives similar to its own. The fund will support investments at different stages of the enterprise development cycle – right from early stages through to later phases of scaling up of potentially successful solutions and business models.
The fund will raise capital from a wide range of sources – seed fund contributions from the government and its agencies; contributions from various Indian public sector enterprises, banks and so forth; and contributions from private investors, corporate houses and investment firms, the website states.
Gandhi, who quit his active banking job to start his own investment bank VSG Capital Advisors earlier this year, will look at advising clients, funds and investors about opportunities in the social sector.
In March this year, Gandhi has been appointed as a senior advisor to Green Hill & Co., a US-based boutique investment bank. Besides identifying the target assets in India for Green Hill’s global clients and helping them chalk out their Asia play, he will help the bank gain access to Indian clients. He is also drawing up strategies to track the Canadian Pension Plans’ investment opportunities in India. Gandhi has been appointed to advise the investment board of CPP to scan the India market and recommend the India strategy.