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June 02, 2009

New wave of CEO-turned-Entrepreneurs

Business Today has an article profiling top corporate executives who have turned entrepreneur in recent months. The list include former iflex Solutions CEO Deepak Ghaisas, who is now a biotech entrepreneur. Another venture profiled is a consulting firm founded by three former telecom CEOs which plans to handhold MNCs "through the Byzantine maze of regulation and intrigue".
Enter Ravi Sharma and his two partners. “Our proposition is not capital, but management services that will not only help in reducing promoters’ capital but will also trim down the time to market,” says Sharma, 47, who has named his venture Phi. “Phi is a wonderful name, easy to pronounce and has two very powerful meanings: Wisdom of God and the Golden Ratio,” he adds.

Sharma and Pramod Saxena, former Head of Motorola India, first discussed the idea of floating such a venture. Later, they roped in B.D. Khurana, former CEO, Reliance Communications. “Our new association is more like a meeting of minds at the professional level,” says Saxena. In fact, both Sharma and Saxena, who are the majority (and equal) partners in Phi, have studied engineering from IIT Roorkee in Uttarakhand. The business model is such that Phi can earn minority equity in return for strategic, regulatory and management support in the initial phase of a new MNC venture.

“That’s why we call ourselves Angel Partners,” says Sharma. Phi will nurture the new venture for 2-4 years. Since the promoters have experience in telecom, projects in this sector will be a focus area. But Phi is also in discussions with MNCs in renewable energy and green energy solutions. Phi is ready with three engagement models: One, a joint venture with an MNC; two, incubate a business with venture capital support and then bring in an MNC as a majority partner; the third is the option of finding suitable MNC partners for Indian companies. In all three models, Phi would earn a minority stake in the business.
Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private equity, venture capital and M&A deals in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports. Email the author at arun@ventureintelligence.in