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November 30, 2011

Rob Chandra of Bessemer on E-Commerce Valuations

Forbes has a video interview with BVP Partner Rob Chandra in which he talks about Internet and e-commerce company valuations. He also talks about the impact created by Internet companies including Chennai, India-based in which BVP invested recently.

Click Here for the accompanying Forbes article.

Venture Intelligence is 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.

November 18, 2011

Alok Mittal on the Happiest Minds Funding

Startupcentral has an interview with Alok Mittal of Canaan Partners on the $45 million first round funding led by his firm for Wipro veteran and Mindtree Co-founder Ashok Soota's new IT Services venture.
What do you find interesting about the business model?

The business model draw for us (Canaan) was the outsourcing play. We already have a couple of portfolio companies (iYogi and UnitedLex) in that area. As far as the software services sector is concerned, in the past, significant shifts in information technology spends have created space for new companies. There is a shift taking place now in terms of enterprises in the US and Europe adopting cloud and mobility-based solutions. We think Happiest Minds has the potential to grab a large slice of this market.

Will they work closely with some of your India and global portfolio companies which are in the same area?

Absolutely. In fact, the founders have been very diligent about walking through both our and Intel Capital’s portfolio companies. They’ve picked a dozen that they could partner with. Their core differentiation is going to lie in the solutions that they come up with. Canaan has a number of computers in the cloud computing area. For instance, we have one that is in the area of testing for the cloud. Happiest Minds will look to partner with such companies to create their own solutions.
Venture Intelligence is 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.

November 14, 2011

Deal Alert: Aditya Birla PE Invests Rs.95-Cr in telecom tech firm Alphion India

From the Press Release:

Aditya Birla Capital Advisors (ABCAP), the private equity arm of the Aditya Birla Financial Services Group (ABFSG), today announced an investment of Rs. 95 Crores from Aditya Birla Private Equity – Fund I in Alphion India Private Limited (AIPL). AIPL is the principal subsidiary of Princeton, USA based Alphion Corporation (Alphion).

Alphion develops, manufactures and globally provides optical Fiber-To-The-Premises (FTTx) access systems, subsystems and integrated photonic devices. Their access systems offer optical networking solutions for the rapidly emerging FTTx market and the portfolio includes a full range of products for central office, outside plant, customer premise and network management. Alphion is a full member of the ITU FSAN group and a leader in developing key technologies for the next generation of passive optical networks. Alphion is the pioneer in developing all optical PON (passive optical network) network extension solutions to extend the reach of broadband services. Alphion GPON solutions enable the convergence of wireless and wire-line networks as it is suitable not only for multiple-play voice, high speed Internet, data and video services but also for backhaul of WiMax, 2G/3G/4G cellular and future wireless networks.

Commenting on the occasion, Bharat Banka, Chief Executive Officer, Aditya Birla Capital Advisors Pvt. Ltd. said “Alphion is a unique player in the telecom sector offering proprietary R&D based, very high speed optical networking systems and solutions which empower carriers and local service providers to deliver high quality services with substantially lower operating costs. Apart from India, where we expect encouraging growth prospects with investments in broadband and data services infrastructure, Alphion is also positioned to capture customers in other emerging markets. We are excited to partner with Alphion and play a value-added role”.

Mr. Banka further added “As per published research and internal estimates, the global market for PON equipment currently is about US$ 4 billion p.a. and is growing at a CAGR of 20%. The current Indian market for PON equipment is estimated at about US$ 300 million p.a. and is expected to grow rapidly as service providers are in the process of rolling out FTTx services across India. Alphion currently has significant market share of this segment in India and emerging markets and is poised to further expand its position.”

“We are pleased to have ABCAP join us as a major partner,” commented Dr. Bharat P. Dave, Chairman and Managing Director of AIPL and Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alphion Corporation, “Their strong endorsement of Alphion and our vision will allow us to continue to be a leading provider of FTTx network solutions in India as well as other emerging global markets.”

About Alphion
The Alphion Group of Companies consists of US-based Alphion Corporation and Alphion India Private Limited, its principal subsidiary in India. Alphion develops, manufactures and markets communications systems, subsystems, integrated and discrete photonic components based on its proprietary QLight® technology platform. Alphion products are sold worldwide to service providers and OEMs in the Fiber-to the-Premises (FTTP), telecommunications, CATV, fiber optic sensing, test & measurement, medical imaging, and defense system markets. Alphion offers a growing line of broadband access products, which support complete end-to-end GPON network solutions. The AOLT-4000 Optical Line Terminal, AONT-100/200/300 Optical Network Terminal family, and Passive Optical Splitter family are in full compliance with the International Telecommunications Union’s standard for GPON equipment (ITU-T G.984). This ensures that the Alphion product family meets the stringent carrier-class requirements and interoperates with a broad spectrum of other manufacturers’ GPON equipment. Alphion is a member of both FSAN ( – a consortium of carriers and equipment suppliers developing tomorrow’s broadband network standards and the ITU (

Alphion India Private Limited has operations in Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, New Delhi, and Gurgaon. For more information about Alphion and its products, visit

About Aditya Birla Capital Advisors

Aditya Birla Capital Advisors Private Limited (ABCAP) offers asset management and advisory services in Private Equity, to domestic & global investors. The company has adopted a unique investment style of partnering with its portfolio companies by providing strategic and operational intervention and has its focus on growth investments in mid-market companies, with India as the investment destination.

ABCAP currently manages Rs.1100 Crores in two funds, Aditya Birla Private Equity – Fund I (Fund I) and Aditya Birla Private Equity – Sunrise Fund (Sunrise Fund). Fund I is growth capital focused and targets minority stakes while investing in mid-cap, high-growth, India-centric companies, and has a sector-agnostic approach. Fund I has invested in GEI Industrial Systems, Credit Analysis and Research (CARE) and Anupam Industries. Sunrise Fund is uniquely focused on providing growth capital to proven businesses/ concepts within sectors in early stage of exponential growth. Sunrise Fund has invested in SMS Paryavaran.

For more information, please visit

November 11, 2011

Deal Alert:Ventureast invests Rs.25-Cr in meat processing firm VKS Farms

Edited excerpts from the press release:

Ventureast Life Fund, an early growth and growth stage fund focused on the food and agriculture, clean environment and healthcare delivery sectors, has invested Rs.25 crores in VKS Farms, a Coimbatore-based, integrated meat processing company. Shekhar Kundur, General Partner of Ventureast, joins the Board of VKS Farms. The funding will be utilized for completing VKS's back-end operations, and expanding its retailing capability.

VKS's differentiation stems from its diverse product mix of chicken, egg, meat and salt; integrated poultry supply-chain, spanning 'grandparents' to commercial birds facilities to processing to retailing; exports to over 30 countries, besides domestic presence; and state-of-the-art processing plant built to international standards.

Shekhar Kundur said, “Hygienic meat retailing is the way forward in this unorganized market. With a comprehensive and efficient supply chain in place, we expect VKS Farms to have a strong competitive edge in the sector. The Company's wide presence in the export market will supplement this.”

“The investment by Ventureast will position VKS to achieve a four-fold growth in the next three years. The investment will be utilized to fund completion of the Company‟s backward integration and expansion of its meat retailing initiative. These will enable VKS to deliver hygienic, processed meats to the end-consumer”, said A.Sivakumar, Founder and Managing Director of VKS Farms.

November 10, 2011

Profile of online vegetables delivery firm Veggiebazaar

An extract from The Economic Times profile
... His business model is simple: takes orders online and delivers the very next day. This not only ensures freshness of the products—an essential feature of the company—but also means that he does not have to worry about bulk storage space and associated facilities, which is a huge saving.

... Since its launch, Venkatesan has pumped another Rs 1.2 crore into the company, of which Rs 60 lakh came from the couple's saving, Rs 40 lakh was raised by diluting the shares through a CA firm, while the balance was borrowed from family and friends. Venkatesan's effort is beginning to pay off. The company broke even in March this year, and has been yielding monthly revenues of about Rs 11 lakh ever since. Venkatesan says that he is now looking at the franchisee model for further expansion, both within Chennai and outside, starting with cities such as Bangalore,Trichy and Coimbatore.

Venture Intelligence is 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.

November 09, 2011

Naveen Tewari of InMobi on SoftBank and Ram Shriram

Extract from The Economic Times profile of the mobile advertising company made famous by the recent $200 million investment that it attracted from SoftBank:
On Raising Funds From Ram Shriram. There was a phase when credit cards of the entire founding team were used to just pay salaries! With little success in raising funds from sceptic Indian investors, I decided to take a flight to Silicon Valley, where our venture received positive response. Everyone believed in the power of the mobile internet. I was introduced to Ram Shriram and I was really looking at it as a once in a lifetime experience more than anything else. About 20 minutes into the presentation, Ram suddenly got up and said “Close the presentation, we are funding this. What is the execution plan?” I was in a state of shock not only because of his reaction but also because there was no execution plan to show him at that stage whatsoever.

On InMobi's International Expansion. As we evaluated the market, we soon realised that while there was some activity in the mobile advertising industry in the US, the rest of the world was primarily a virgin market! We saw that emerging geographies like Indonesia, South Africa and Malaysia are relatively untapped and hence we trusted our conviction and set up in these geographies. Lot of people criticised us for this, but we saw the results almost instantly. We have now set up offices in over 15 countries and have set up a completely decentralised model with regional headquarters across the world.

On the SoftBank Deal and the Journey Ahead
We’ve been looking to raise private equity for over six months now and what struck us as soon as we met with the SoftBank team was how well they understood the mobile internet market. This gave us the confidence to partner with them. With this new fund infusion we are looking to expand our reach in developed markets like the US and Europe, we are also looking to expand to new geographies like South America. We also realise that it’s important for us to innovate with new products, one product we’ve recently launched is ‘Smart Pay’, a payment gateway for mobile app developers; we will be announcing a number of other new products over the next six months.

Venture Intelligence is 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.

The Bargain Hunter: Sun Pharma's Dilip Shanghvi

From The Economic Times profile
Shanghvi has a conservative approach to doing business,with eyes firmly focused on cost and the bottom line. As bullish peers made ill-timed and expensive (in hindsight) acquisitions in western markets in the past decade, Shanghvi steered clear of bidding wars and oneupmanship. Instead he chose to buy distressed assets on the cheap with a view to turning them around. Taro,a financially mismanaged company whose shares were in the doldrums when Sun offered to buy control, is one such asset. Shanghvis perception of value is free of external stress factors, says the former CEO of a generics company.

In nearly every major strategic decision it has made,Sun has parted ways with conventional wisdom. In the 1980s,while Indian companies were hawking antibiotics and other short-term treatments to general physicians, Shanghvi saw an opportunity in selling meds for chronic diseases to specialists such as psychiatrists and cardiologists. India has since witnessed explosive growth in these segments. Then,when competitors began investing in researching completely new drugs an arduous expensive process with no guarantees he chose to back so-called differentiated medicines where risk is less. And whilst rivals planted flags in three continents, Sun Pharma chose to focus on just home market India, and the US.

Some of these contrarian bets have paid off. At Rs 5,721 crore in revenues, Sun is more than double its size five years ago and No.4 after Ranbaxy, Dr Reddys and Cipla. It is a leader in key specialist-focused therapy areas in India.On the bourses, Sun Pharma is twice as valuable as No.2 by market cap Dr Reddys Labs. It is also the most profitable among leading Indian generics companies with an operating margin of 34%. After buying Taro, it ranked as the number two Indian generics company in the US with $500 million in revenues in fiscal year 2011.
Venture Intelligence is 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.

November 05, 2011

"Entrepreneurship is all about getting the job done" - Raju Venkatraman of MEDALL

Cross-posting from the Venture Intelligence Entrevista series:

Interaction with Raju Venkatraman, Founder & CEO, MEDALL Diagnostics

Interview by Chandu Nair, Founder of Scope eKnowledge, followed by interaction with students and other entrepreneurs at the Department of Management Studies IIT-Madras on October 24, 2011.


The ability to "zoom in and zoom out"

- As an entrepreneur, whenever the situation warrants it, you should be able to work in a hands on fashion and get involved in the details. Similarly, you should also be able to step back and focus on the bigger picture (and leave the details to others).

Please click on the links below to view corresponding video snippets

The motivation as an entrepreneur is not in "being the boss"

- It's more about "getting to scale" (and hence the impact you can make)

"There is no such thing as a right decision. You should make a decision and then make it right."

The Essence of Business is to "Sell, Deliver and Collect"

- Early lesson learnt while helping out with father's business.

"The First Paying Customer is Key"

- If you have this validation, plunge ahead.

"Entrepreneurship is about getting the job done"

- As a student, you should grab opportunities to take part in organizing Extra Curricular activities which will provide you early experience in this aspect. Also, the focus in the early part of a career should be on "creating an impact" wherever you work - the salary, position, etc. are secondary.

Advisors make the journey less lonely
- But entrepreneurs can’t expect to delegate accountability to advisors

Why Rural Markets need more High Tech

- And why "Appropriate Technology" is not the answer (at least in diagnostics)

Click Here to Download The Full Interview Podcast - mp3 format - 47.5 minutes, 28 MB
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Click Here to Download the Q&A session
Use Right Click & Save As to download to your desktop