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Showing posts from July, 2012

The rise of boutique investment banks

Business Today has a cover story on the phenomenon.

Among the "bigger boutiques", Veda Corporate Advisors, set up by C. Venkat Subramanyam and M. Vinod Kumar, who have been together for 20 years, through three jobs and two entrepreneurial ventures, has 20 people. Jacob Mathew, M. Ramprasad and Ajay Garg left DSP Merrill Lynch to start MAPE Advisory, which has 38 people. And Equirus, which came into existence when Garg left MAPE to start his own outfit, has 40, half of them in investment banking and the other half in institutional equity

...In fact, boutiques are the ones really active in the ring right now, feasting on deals of Rs 50 crore to Rs 200 crore, which is the range where the action is. They charge the same percentage as fee that the big ones do, but get by happily in spite of the low absolute amount, a result of the smaller deal sizes, because their expenses are far lower.

...It is not just the lower expenses that make boutiques click with clients. All six that BT spo…

Deal Alert:Acumen Fund Invests INR 1.5 Crore ($300K) in Edubridge Learning

From the Press Release:

Acumen Fund, a pioneering nonprofit global venture fund addressing poverty across Africa and South Asia, today announced a INR 1.5 Crore ($300K) equity investment in Edubridge Learning Private Limited, a growing company that provides vocational skills training for low income youth across Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Chhattisgarh.


The investment builds on the recent launch of Acumen Fund’s Education Portfolio, which seeks to support private sector innovations that increase access to low-cost, high-quality learning and employability services for the poor. Acumen’s investments aim to support the development of early stage companies with a focus on meeting the needs of low-income market segments, an approach recently explored in a report released by the Monitor Group and Acumen entitled “From Blueprint to Scale.”


“Edubridge is an early stage company that has tremendous potential to significantly alter the landscape of opportunities for rural youth in India,…

"Leveraged stock purchase led Arvind Rao to go astray": Forbes India

Forbes India has an article on the series of events leading to the recent controversial exit of Arvind Rao, Co-founder & CEO of listed Mobile VAS firm OnMobile.

On November 23, 2010, Arvind Rao, the 53-year-old co-founder and CEO of OnMobile, bought approximately 6 lakh shares of his company from the open market, representing a little over 1 percent of the company’s total shares....At Rs 277 a share, he had to pony up nearly Rs 16.5 crore to acquire them....So he went ahead and borrowed money to buy the shares, thinking nothing of the interest it entailed or the fact that he’d need to put up nearly half his existing shareholding as collateral...OnMobile’s shares continued to fall from those levels, while Rao’s interest payments ballooned.

...Motivated by OnMobile’s growth all these years, he had never paid much attention to his salary, most of which went towards the monthly rental on his sea-facing apartment in Mumbai and his BMW 7-Series, both paid directly by the company. He reque…

VC Interview: Shailendra Singh of Sequoia Capital India

In a recent interview to Venture Intelligence, Shailendra Singh discussed some of the firm’s newer investments in the early stage segment including in the online payments space, the progress at a few existing portfolio companies and the active role the firm is playing in helping its portfolio companies scale and succeed in India and globally. Prior to joining the firm in 2006, Singh was a strategy consultant at Bain & Company in New York and before that, an entrepreneur in the digital media industry.

Venture Intelligence: How does Sequoia go about identifying potential early stage investments in India? Is there anything different you are doing today than, say, a couple of years back?

Shailendra Singh: There is a lot more focus on technology investing and early stage investing. In general, as you might remember a few years ago, we were doing primarily growth investing but in the past 18-odd months, we have had a very strong focus on early stage and that’s continuing. In terms of how…

Deal Alert: Bookmycab.com –Mumbai’s First and Only Call Taxi Service Raises Funding from YourNest Angel Fund and Mumbai Angels

From the Press Release
YourNest Angel Fund, an early stage venture capital fund has invested in Bookmycab.com, which offers lowest fare among all cab operators in Mumbai. Bookmycab.comoffers local travel – point to point, airport transfer and railway station transfer using metered taxi through its 24 hour taxi helpline (022) 6-1234567, website www.bookmycab.com or by sending email to mumbai@bookmycab.com.It is the only service provider to book Black & Yellow Taxis and Cool Cabs in Mumbai. The local taxi services are offered at regular fare structure as approved by transport authority:   Non AC – Rs. 17 for 1.6 Km and thereafter Rs. 10.5/Km,  AC – Rs. 21 for 1.6 Km and thereafter Rs. 13/Km  Bookmycab.com has an exclusive Pan India partnership with ARS SE (subsidiary of ARS Traffic & Transport Technology BV, The Netherlands) for running its entire technology backend including dispatch technology comprising navigation device, automated dispatch technology and IT infrastructure…

Deal Alert: India Innovation Fund invests in life science technology company Shantani Proteome Analytic

From the Press Release:
With it’s focus on supporting innovation driven start-ups in technology and life sciences with early stage investment, the India Innovation Fund (IIF) (www.indiainnovationfund.in) along with Blume Ventures as co-investor, has made an investment in Shantani Proteome Analytics Pvt. Ltd.(http://www.shantani.com). Incubated at the National Chemical Laboratories’ Venture Center at Pune, Shantani develops advanced technology applications for use by drug discovery organisations for drug target discovery. Shantani also develops in-house drug discovery programs in defined therapeutic areas. Shantani has been founded by a management team with global scientific and business expertise.
Shantani’s proprietary chemical proteomics technology platform is used to identify and validate a few but rightful targets (cellular binding partners) of drugs and drug like bioactive molecules in a very short period of time allowing savings of 50-70 per cent in cost and time over exist…

VCs make 100 investments worth $363-M in first half of 2012

Volume of investments keeps pace with 2011; Deal Value comes down

Venture Capital firms invested $363 million across 100 deals in India during the six months ending June 2012, according to a study by Venture Intelligence (http://www.ventureintelligence.in), a research service focused on Private Equity, Venture Capital and M&A transaction activity in India. While the volume of investments has kept pace, the value of the investments has come down as compared to the same period last year (which had witnessed 103 deals worth $520 million).

In the latest quarter ending June 2012, VC firms invested $186 million over 55 deals - which was significantly lower compared to the same quarter in 2011 (which had witnessed $281 million being invested across 59 deals) but higher when compared to the immediate previous quarter ($177 million across 45 deals), the Venture Intelligence analysis showed. Top growth investments during the quarter included the $20 million investment led by Everstone (with p…

Deal Alert: Nexus participates in Aryaka Networks' $25-M 3rd round

From the Press Release:
Aryaka (www.aryaka.com), the world’s first cloud-based WAN optimization as-a-Service, today announced it has secured a $25 million Series C funding round led by InterWest Partners, with participation from Presidio Ventures, a Sumitomo Corporation Company, and existing investors Nexus Venture Partners,Trinity Ventures and Mohr Davidow Ventures. 
The proceeds will be used to support Aryaka’s rapid market penetration and global reach as the company continues to redefine the multi-billion-dollarglobal WAN optimization market and change the way enterprises consume this technology. Aryaka’s innovation in deployment architecture and utility-based business model has been accepted by enterprises worldwide as the way to optimize the new WAN. 
The latest funding round caps a record year of market traction and milestone achievements for Aryaka. 
Global Reach Expands
Aryaka continues its drive to “place the network near the customer.”  WAN optimization as-a-Service to 500+ cus…

Slowdown in PE continues; quarterly investment dips 34% to below $1.9-B

Private Equity firms invested about $1,848 million across 102 deals during the quarter ended June 2012, according to a study by Venture Intelligence (http://www.ventureintelligence.in), a research service focused on Private Equity and M&A transaction activity in India. The investment amount was 34% less than that invested in the same period last year ($2,798 million across 126 transactions) and also 10% less than that during the immediate previous quarter (which had witnessed $2,050 million being invested across 103 transactions). (Note: The above figures do not include PE investments in Real Estate.)

There were only four PE investments worth over $100 million (with one above $200 million) during Q2’12 compared to 10 such transactions in the same period last year (and six during the immediate previous quarter), the Venture Intelligence analysis showed.

The largest PE investment during Q2’12 was Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners’ investment of Rs.1,200 crore for a 51% stake in …

Deal Alert: Rajasthan Venture invests Rs. 20 crores in International Oncology

From the Press Release:
Jaipur-based Rajasthan Venture Capital Fund (RVCF) has invested Rs 20 crores in International Oncology Services Private Limited (IOSPL), a super specialty cancer care company for an undisclosed equity stake. 
International Oncology has established comprehensive cancer care centres (known as International Oncology Centre) equipped with cutting edge technology at Fortis Hospital, Noida and Dr. L H Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai. The company with an objective to make quality cancer care more accessible to the people has identified several cities in India for setting up world class cancer care centers and opening soon its next centers in Jodhpur, Rajasthan and Jalandhar, Punjab.
“The Oncology sector is currently witnessing a huge gap in terms of incidence of cancer in the country and limited quality cancer care facilities to treat the same. While the incidence of cancer is increasing at an alarming rate in India; the country faces large limitations in terms of lack of…