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Showing posts from December, 2007

Rejuvenating hydel power

Businessworld has an article on the challenges facing hydelpower projects in India.
While India is reeling under a huge power shortage, hydro accounts for just a fourth of the total installed capacity of around 100,000 mega watts (MW). India’s progress on the hydro front has, after the initial spurt, been tepid. Till now, only 21 per cent of the potential hydro capacity is developed.

...three-fourths of the projects still remain in the public sector, with central PSUs such as National Hydroelectricity Power Corporation (NHPC) and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation accounting for the bulk. Only 4 per cent of the installed hydropower capacity has been commissioned by the private sector till September, according to the CEA.

...Manoj Gaur, chairman of Delhi-based infrastructure group Jaiprakash Industries, says that land acquisition and government clearances pose the biggest hurdles. Jaiprakash has the largest share (58 per cent) in private hydropower in India. Uncertainty in the tim…

Deal Alert: IDG Ventures India invests $3-M in Perfint

From the press release:

IDG Ventures India, a $150 Million early-stage technology venture capital fund has announced an investment of $3 million in Perfint, a healthcare devices start-up.

Perfint is headquartered in Chennai with its product development labs in Mysore. It has been co-founded by Mr. S Nandakumar, Mr. B D Vijaya and a team of healthcare device professionals that were closely associated with building GE Healthcare's Design, Manufacturing and Sourcing hub in India.

Perfint will focus on developing Niche Healthcare Products and Solutions, that address Clinical Productivity needs globally with a special focus on Emerging Markets like India, China , amongst others and subsequently developed markets like USA, Europe etc. Their first product called PIGA, is a Tool Positioner for Image Guided Minimally Invasive (IG-MI) procedures. Some of the clinical applications that PIGA supports would be, Fine needle aspiration (FN A), Biopsy and RF Ablation (RFA) of small tumors in the l…

Interview with Kreeda Games' Quentin Staes-Polet

Kamla Bhatt has a twopart audio interview with Quentin Staes-Polet, the Belgian CEO of Kreeda Games, the Bombay-based online multiplayer gaming start-up funded by IDG Ventures India and SoftBank.

Quentin has some interesting points on why the firm chose not to disclose the amount of funding it raised, interplay between social networking and gaming, experience of an "foreigner" starting a business in India, etc.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the Private Equity and Venture Capital ecosystem in India. View sample issues of Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.

Lassi Making Machines

Businessworld has a profile of a Delhi-based company that makes Lassi making machines.
...an enterprising young man called Sultan did the next best thing. He perfected a lassi-churning device. He sold his first machines to the numerous lassi shops and restaurants in the crowded lanes around Delhi’s Jama Masjid area. The devices ran on electricity, worked for hours on end, needed little maintenance and almost never broke down. That was the 1950s.

Fifteen years after starting out, Sultan passed away. His son Mohammed Usman, barely 20 then, took over. Usman decided to name the devices ‘Sultan’ in memory of his father. He moved the workshop to Daryaganj in 1992 and also set up a factory in Wazirabad, which employs 25 workers and engineers, to meet the growing demand for his father’s machines. He called the business Raja & Co. — a nickname given to him by friends and loyal customers.

Usman’s sons have helped add a modern touch to the 50-year-old family business. Orders from outside Delh…

Deal Alert: IDFC PE invests $63-M in Goodearth Maritime

Edited extracts from the press release:

IDFC Private Equity (IDFC PE) has invested Rs.260 crores in Goodearth Maritime Limited (GML), a leading Chennai-based dry bulk shipping company. o3 Capital was the sole advisor to GML for this transaction.

The company intends to use these funds to fund its growth plans for the green-field ship building yard in Tamil Nadu, as well as for its foray into the on-shore and off-shore oil drilling sector. The shipyard is expected to require a total investment of around $500 million in the first phase, with a capacity to build about 25 to 30 ships a year, including VLCCs.

Mr. P.B. Anandam, Chairman, GML, speaking on the occasion, said “We are in the process of making Goodearth Maritime a global shipping company, with a strong shipbuilding base in India. The potential of Indian shipbuilding economics will fully unfold in our yard near Cuddalore with third generation international standards of ship construction. It would give our ship owning a competitive ed…

Deal Alert: IDG invests in IISc incubated co.

Extracts from IDG Ventures' press release:

IDG Ventures India, a $150 Million early-stage technology venture capital fund, has announced its investment in 3D Solid Compression (3DSoC), a startup incubated by Stanford University and Indian Institute of Science (IISc).

3D Solid compression has been co-founded by Prof. Fritz Prinz (Stanford) Prof. B. Gurumoorthy (IISC), Dr. Krishnan Ramaswami and Mr. K K Venkatraman around the vision of ‘3D for All’. 3DSoC is positioned to be a key player in the 3D content creation and visualization space with VIS (Virtual Interactive Solid), its novel 3D representation format. The ability to interact with the concise representation enables 3DSoC to straddle markets as diverse as 3D Publishing and Visualization and Rich Internet Applications. Today, 3DSoC’s customers in India include major players in the Automotive and Engineering verticals who see significant benefits in leveraging 3D product data in both marketing and the MRO side of the business, …

VC Market

The following companies are seeking capital for starting-up / expanding their operations:

07-11-28-2: Yanam, AP based developer seeks around $5 M for acquiring land for the development of Industrial Estates, SEZs and tourism-related projects.

07-11-28-3: Hyderabad based ERP focused IT Services firm seeks above $5 M – ideally from an investor with strong network in Europe - for funding acquisitions.

07-11-28-4: Bangalore based group seeks <$1 M for setting up restaurants business.

07-11-28-5: Nagpur based Project Engineering company engaged in HVAC Projects, Marine AC & R Projects, Industrial Chilling Systems etc. seeks <$1 Million for expansion of operations.

07-12-12-1: Delhi based woman entrepreneur seeks $1-5 M for launching day care services for working women

07-12-12-2: Ranchi based award-winning anti-hacking services organization seeks <$100 K for expansion

For more information about any of these companies, investors - who are subscribers to the Venture Intelligence ser…

Interview with Symphony Cap's Sunil Chandiramani

The Mint has an interview with Sunil Chandiramani, Partner at Symphony Capital. The team behind Symphony, which was earlier investing as Schroders Capital Asia, is one of the most experienced "India hands" with successful investments in companies like Apollo Hospitals, Blue Dart and Orchid Pharma. In the interview, Sunil talks about the firms pan-Asia focus, why it decided to raise money from the public capital markets (instead of the LP route) and, of course, valuation concerns.
One of the things we constantly face with entrepreneurs is that they don’t want to sell their businesses but an IPO (initial public offering) can cause them to be locked in longer than they may want. So now we can give a third option for exits. We can give them stock in our diversified investment company. As long as we are comfortable that there is a succession plan in place, we can swap stock in his company for stock in our company.

...Our 1994-1995 vintage fund saw rough times with the Asian crisis …

The Restaurateur from Chennai

While I was reading a profile of M. Mahadevan of Oriental Cuisines in The Hindu, I realized that he seemed to own almost every restaurant that I'd enjoyed eating at in Chennai. (And, I had always associated his name mainly with "Hot Breads" - which I don't frequent at all!)

The gentleman indeed seems to be a very fascinating entrepreneur - one that is sure to be besieged by offers from Private Equity firms.

Along the way, Mahadevan, the restless man that he is, launched a whole slew of fast food and restaurant brands for every segment of consumers – Benjarong, the Thai restaurant, Wang’s Kitchen and Noodle House for Chinese, Don Pepe for Mexican, Zara, the Spanish Tavern and the byword in food courts – PlanetYumm.

Not being content with India operations, Mahadevan ventured into foreign shores – he took Hot Breads to France and Italy, tied up with Saravana Bhavan to take the brand to US and opened a string of bakeries in the Gulf region. “But India is still my exploring…

McHospitals

Business Today has an interesting article on how healthcare firms are responding to newer consumer needs with innovative formats.
The Cradle is a high-end model where people come and pay for the experience. Just like Gayathri, 28, who recently delivered her child at The Cradle in Bangalore. She and her husband, R. Venkateshan, an engineer with Accenture, chose The Cradle because, as he says: “We opted for this place mainly to undergo the experience. It’s very homely here and of international standards.” His corporate insurance took care of the bills.

Typically, a Cesarean section delivery costs about Rs 80,000 at The Cradle. That’s not too much if you consider the facilities. The place hardly looks like a hospital with its bright colours, no visiting hours, a cake shop, private birthing suites, and all-in-one labour, delivery and recovery room equipped with imported Hill-Rom beds that cost around Rs 10 lakh and can perform many tasks—for instance, it has drawers fitted with infant monit…

Deal Alert: IDG Ventures invests $2.5 million in security product co. iViZ,

Edited extracts from IDG Ventures's press release:

IDG Ventures India, a $150 Million early-stage technology venture capital fund, has announced its investment of $2.5 million in iViZ, a network security startup in the Security and Vulnerability Management market. Kolkata-based iViZ has come up with the world’s first "Automated and On Demand Penetration Testing product".

"It is our privilege to support iViZ founded by Mr. Bikash Barai and Mr. Nilanjan De. This investment is based on our thrust of investing in disruptive software product firms out of India with a potential to scale globally,” said Mr. Sudhir Sethi, Chairman and Managing Director, IDG Ventures India.

iViZ plans to utilize the investment to build its sales team in North America, Europe, Middle East/APAC and India and to significantly enhance its product development initiatives.

“Our vision is to be a global leader in the Security and Vulnerability Management market with Automated Penetration Testing and …

Metamorphosis at Manipal

Business Today has an article of the changing face of the education- and healthcare- focused Manipal Group.
Gradually, he has ceded close control of his businesses to professional managers. “We want each business unit to be run individually and we will take a minimal supervisory role,” says Ramdas Pai. On the education front, Sudarshan has been given a broad mandate to not only expand its global footprint (with institutes in Antigua in the Caribbean and possibly in Curacao, a Dutch principality off the coast of Miami), but also look to inorganically grow the company’s businesses.

“We want to model ourselves on Tata Sons, especially when it comes to nurturing new companies and providing seed funding,” says Ranjan Pai. Manipal Cure and Care, in fact, was begun with Rs 5 crore in seed funding from MEMG. It then leant on MEMG’s chain of doctors and other medical staff to get people for these centres. Now, it wants to replicate the model for Stemputics, its stem cell research initiative. “Th…

Profile of Godrej Properties

Business Today has an article on the Godrej Group's property business, which is to launch an IPO shortly.
As of September, GPL had projects—in progress and signed—on close to 200 acres of land. Some of them are joint developments, involving other developers, whilst a few are wholly-owned by GPL. Going by the property prices prevailing in the various locations where these projects are being executed—in areas in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Kolkata and Hyderabad—Godrej’s share is estimated to be worth a little under Rs 4,000 crore.

...It’s the sheer scale of the potential that’s locked within the group that has investors licking their chops in anticipation of GPL’s public offering (which is slated for March 2008; GPL is expected to raise a little under Rs 1,000 crore by issuing 10 per cent of fresh equity). Analysts currently value the company at 3,500-4,000 crore, based on current operations. But that is the proverbial tip of the iceberg that is GPL. As Korde points out: “Today, we don…

Rupee Rise Begins to Hit Manufacturing

Business Today has an article on how millions of jobs in the manufacturing industry "could vanish" due to the rupee's seemingly inexorable rise.
The weakening dollar has now started taking its toll on manufacturing in India. The worst hit are export-intensive sectors like textiles, leather, handicrafts and engineering. Faced with contracting margins, companies in these industries are now resorting to drastic measures, like retrenchment drives, to stay competitive. And the estimated job losses run into several millions. According to the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), the apex export body, almost 8 million jobs are likely to be lost this financial year. And it reckons that the problem will get worse if the rupee continues to appreciate rapidly.

...Exporters, then, are struggling to cope with the onslaught of the rising rupee. If the rupee continues to appreciate, then it could force many small exporters to fold up operations or slash production, resulting …

DFJ's Sateesh Andra on mGinger investment

ContentSutra has an interview with DFJ's Sateesh Andra on the firm's investment in mobile advertising services firm mGinger.
How much have you invested in mGinger?
We’ve invested $1.5 million, while NEA-IndoUS has invested $500,000.

Why mGinger, what was the company’s valuation, and how did you value the company?
There are three things - first is a good marketing opportunity. Mobile is a great medium, as is opt-in permission based advertising in that segment. The second factor is that the mGinger team is a great team. The third factor is the traction - there are close to 1 million subscribers. Also, the change in market dynamics: when I turn on a spam filter, I don’t receive advertsing. That’s what the Do Not Call registry is doing. As a marketer, I can sign up with a network like mGinger, and I get advertisements that interest me. mGinger is building a directory of consumers. I can’t comment on the valuation.

There other advertising models like 160by2 for free messaging and even (…

Co. that makes "water out of thin air"

The Mint has a profile of Chennai-based economist-turned-entrepreneur S.S.Sivakumar whose Akash Ganga International is seeking to help solve the city's chronic water problems through its unique device.
The scientific basis behind Sivakumar’s air-to-water conversion is the heat exchange process: In this case, it involves sucking in air from the atmosphere and blowing it over cold gas resulting in the creation of water (in much the same way, condensate, or water, forms on the outside of the windows of a heated room in winter or an air-conditioned room in summer).

...By mid-2004, Sivakumar and his team worked out how to make water from air. AGL invested in a modest 3,000 sq. ft manufacturing facility and started rolling out its products. Priced between Rs9,200 (for an 8-litre version) to Rs42,500 (for a 120-litre one), the machines were powered by electricity, and sold through stores that sold consumer durables such as television sets, washing machines and refrigerators. The Akash Gang…

GPS based navigation services

Businessworld has an article on the market for GPS-enabled navigation services.
Until last year, Hyderabad-based SatNav Technologies was the only vendor of GPS devices. Since then, other companies have also entered the market with their own products. These include GPS-enabled mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) with built-in GPS receivers and other PNDs.

...MapmyIndia’s online maps are now used by several organisations such as Yahoo! India, Yatra.com and even India’s Election Commission. This September, the company introduced a PND for about Rs 22,000. It also launched several new navigation products. These include new PNDs, free-to-download navigation software and maps for mobile phones and PDAs, and a Web-based SMS service for directions.

...One company that promises to revolutionise the industry is Nokia. Two of its phones, the N95 and the E90, have built-in GPS capabilities . A third device is in the offing. “Navigation has the potential to surpass any other service, ba…

Taking banking to migrant laborers

Businessworld has an article on an interesting experiment by Axis Bank along with an NGO.
Anwar is one of the nearly 1,500 urban labourers who have joined a technology-assisted financial inclusion programme started by Basix, which describes itself as a livelihood promotion institution. The project, in collaboration with Axis Bank, provides basic, no-frills banking services to poor migrant workers. Basix and Axis Bank have also started a pilot remittance project to help migrant labourers in East Delhi transfer money quickly to dependents in Muzaffarpur in Bihar.

...Basix and Axis Bank are conducting their experiment in financial inclusion in the eastern part of Delhi, home to the capital’s largest slum. The area is populated largely with immigrant workers from remote hamlets in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. “Most of the people who have enrolled for the pilot project are those who make a living as rag pickers, rickshaw pullers, house maids and auto rickshaw drivers,” says Preeti Sahai, who spe…