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July 24, 2005

Battery arms itself for India foray

US-based Battery Ventures, which recently led the $17 million third round investment in Bangalore-based communication technology firm Tejas Networks, is arming itself for making more direct investments in Indian companies.

The firm, which operates out of both the East Coast (Wellesley, MA) and West Coast (San Mateo, CA) of the US, has recently appointed Manik Arora as a Senior Associate to focus exclusively on identifying investment opportunities in India.

Manik Arora, Battery's Point Man for India

"Battery is actively looking at making investments of between $5 million and $30 million in Indian companies across all technology and technology-enabled services sectors," Arora said during an exclusive interview at Battery's San Mateo office last week.

Before joining Battery, Arora worked on BPO initiatives at American Express in New York. He has previously worked with General Atlantic Partners (GA) on India-US technology investments. Arora has had start-up experience as well: he was a co-founder of i-DNS.net International, a GA-backed software start-up, where he was responsible for strategy and business development. Arora started his career at The Boston Consulting Group serving clients in India and South East Asia primarily in the financial services and e-commerce sectors. He holds a BA in Economics from Swarthmore College and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School.

During the interview, Arora told me that Battery is especially keen on looking at investments in BPO firms focused on analytics and collections outsourcing, wireless technology companies providing value-added services, chip design firms and Internet companies. Yes, you read the last part right. Internet companies. (I think this is the first time in five years that I have heard an India-focused VC mention this sector as a focus area for the last 5 years or so.) Arora even has a special preference within the sector - e-finance. "Indian companies can leverage Battery's special expertise in areas like telecom, software, Internet, media and semiconductors," Arora said. "I'm going to be in India once every two months and am very keen to meet with entrepreneurial teams in our focus areas," he added. Arora can be reached by email at marora (at) battery.com.

PS: In case Arora's infectious enthusiasm isn't good enough and you need more evidence of Battery's commitment to the Indian market, check out the article titled "India: The Next Hub of Global Venture Capital Investing" co-authored by General Partner Mark Sherman and Partner Carl Stjernfeldt in the latest issue of the firm's newsletter.

Arun Natarajan is the Editor of TSJ Media, which tracks venture capital activity in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of TSJ Media's Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.