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August 20, 2005

Profile of ChrysCapital's Ashish Dhawan

Business Today has published a detailed profile of ChrysCapital co-founder and Sr. Managing Director Ashish Dhawan, who has managed to successfully transform his firm from an early-stage, Internet services focused investor to a predominantly late-stage (mostly PIPE and non-tech) one within just a few years.
Says a Delhi-based VC who knows Dhawan closely: "If Dhawan hadn't survived the (dotcom) crash and had not managed to raise his second fund, he would have ended up as a middle-level manager in one of the investment banks."

Fact is, Dhawan did not just survive but went on to thrive. With his second fund, he built what could be described as his comeback portfolio. He's picked up stakes in hot new companies like IVRCL (an up-and-coming infrastructure player), Yes Bank and Suzlon Energy. For instance, he paid a measly $5 million (Rs 22 crore) for a 7.5 per cent stake in Yes Bank (it works out to Rs 14 a pop). That investment today is worth $15 million, or Rs 66 crore, thanks to the bank's recent IPO that priced the stock at Rs 45. (The stock is slated for listing on July 12). In the case of IVRCL, Dhawan grew his $9-million investment to four times in just one year when he exited it via public market.

Of Fund Three's $250 million (Rs 1,100 crore), Dhawan has already invested $90 million: $55 million has gone into construction company Gammon (the investment was made in December last year) and $35 million into Chennai-based truck finance firm, Shriram Transport Finance. Stocks of both the companies are trading at a significant premium over the deal price, but Dhawan says he's in no hurry to sell. "We now have the ability to be really long-term oriented. Early on, there was pressure to show returns. Now, I don't mind holding on to companies for more than five years."