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April 28, 2017

"Private equity firms exit $18 bn in two years" - Business Standard

Business Standard has analyzed exit trends using Venture Intelligence data. Extracts:

Lack of exits and poor returns have been the biggest bane of private equity (PE) firms in India. While returns remain an issue, PE funds in India have returned around $18 billion to investors in the past two years — $8.12 billion in 2015 and $9.77 billion in 2016, according to research firm Venture Intelligence. 

Venture Intelligence is India's longest serving provider of data and analysis on Private Company Financials, Transactions (private equity, venture capital and M&A) & their Valuations in India.

April 19, 2017

"Venture capital investment keeps dwindling in India" - Nikkei

Nikkei has a report on VC investments in India quoting Venture Intelligence data. Extract:

While venture businesses for Internet services continue to draw attention, venture capital investment in the first three months of this year totaled 68 in number and $314 million in value, according to Venture Intelligence, the research arm of TSJ Media. The number of investment roughly dropped in half from a year earlier and was the smallest in 11 quarters.
...Venture capital investment in business-to-consumer (B2C) companies is expected to keep decelerating, said Arun Natarajan, CEO of Venture Intelligence. But opportunities to raise funds are increasing for business-to-business (B2B) startups as investment in them is continuing, he said. 

Venture Intelligence is India's longest serving provider of data and analysis on Private Company Financials, Transactions (private equity, venture capital and M&A) & their Valuations in India.

April 13, 2017

Public investors make big bucks on D-Street even after PE exits: Economic Times

Kiran Somvanshi of Economic Times has used Venture Intelligence PE-backed IPOs data to showcase how the share prices of PE-backed companies have done post their listing. Extract:
The largest IPO exits in the last three years made 1-14 times returns for private equity firms. But after listing, retail, HNIs and institutional investors have gained 9-156% in these firms, thanks to a strong stock market, data from Venture Intelligence show.  

Venture Intelligence is India's longest serving provider of data and analysis on Private Company Financials, Transactions (private equity, venture capital and M&A) & their Valuations in India.

Media Mention: PE Exits off to strong start in 2017 - Mint

Mint carried the following infographic on April 10, 2017 based on data from the Venture Intelligence PE-VC Exits Database:

Venture Intelligence is India's longest serving provider of data and analysis on Private Company Financials, Transactions (private equity, venture capital and M&A) & their Valuations in India.

April 12, 2017

VC investors breathe sigh of relief post Flipkart's latest billion dollar investment

That Flipkart was able to attract such a large investment and that too at a valuation that's double of what one of its existing investors had marked it down to just a few months ago, has come as a big relief to Early Stage investors. ET-NOW Startup Central has a discussion featuring Rehan Yar Khan of Orios Venture Partners, K.Ganesh of GrowthStory and Arun Natarajan of Venture Intelligence on the impact. 

As part of the show, Arun indicates the fact that investors in the latest round were strategic ones with deep pockets, bodes well for Flipkart. The repeated mark downs made some of Flipkart's previous investors - especially the mutual fund arms of Fidelity, Morgan Stanley and others - have been a source of distraction for Flipkart even as it battles in the marketplace.  (Such investors have to put a value on their investments - even in privately held companies - each quarter). 

According to Venture Intelligence data, while the $700 million round raised by Flipkart in end 2014 spelled the beginning of  a "bull run" in early stage investments (with early Flipkart investor Tiger Global as the key catalyst), the similar amount the company raised in mid 2015 (post which Tiger Global effectively withdrew from the Early Stage segment) signalled the end of the party.

Venture Intelligence is India's longest serving provider of data and analysis on Private Company Financials, Transactions (private equity, venture capital and M&A) & their Valuations in India.

April 11, 2017

Does Zephyr Peacock's Fingerlix investment signal a focus shift away from B2B?

Until 2014, Zephyr Peacock India's (ZP India) major investments were mostly focused on B2B and industrial sectors - in companies like 20Cube Logistics, Trimax IT Infrastructure, Pennar Engineered Building Systems and E to E Transportation Infrastructure. Post 2015, the firm's portfolio seems to have taken on a more consumer bent - adding student loans focused MPower Financing, Swarna Pragati Housing Microfinance and now, ready-to-cook food service Fingerlix. We asked Zephyr Peacock India Managing Partner Mukul Gulati what is attracting the firm towards consumer businesses at this point and to Fingerlix (in which ZP India has just invested $3-M) in particular.

There is no planned shift to consumer sector. We like businesses with sustainable competitive advantages and a path to market leadership. Sometimes, these businesses sell to other businesses, while other times they target consumers. We continue to seek differentiated business models across the consumer and b2b space. All our businesses serve consumers directly or indirectly. For instance, one of our investments, Varthana, provides loans to educational institutions. These institutions, in turn services more than a million students across the country.

Coming to Fingerlix, the macro thesis is driven by the fact that India’s packaged food industry is expected to grow from $1.6 Billion in 2015 to $4.6 Billion by 2021 driven by growth in urbanization, increase in number of working women and growth of nuclear families. Consumers are seeking solutions to certain core lifestyle problems that include busy schedules, evolving food preferences and need for cost and time efficient food options. 

Fingerlix (owned and operated by Mumbai-headquartered Maverix Platforms Pvt Ltd) makes and delivers Ready-To-Cook (“RTC”) fresh Indian food such as idli-dosa batters, dal vada batters, curries, parathas and pasta sauces. It is targeting customers from the middle and upper income households seeking to reduce lead time to prepare their meals. Fingerlix delivers its products directly to customers (who can order on phone, online or via a mobile app) and also sells them through retail outlets. The founders of Fingerlix - Shripad Nadkarni and Shree Bharambe - have over five decades of cumulative experience in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry in India. Over the next four years, the company is expected to strengthen its supply chain and become a category leader in the fresh foods RTC category. 

As a PE investor, we need to have a clear exit thesis as well. Here, we are encouraged by the fact that the packaged food segment has witnessed high level of M&A interest from large food companies seeking to expand their product portfolio by acquiring promising brands. 

Venture Intelligence is India's longest serving provider of data and analysis on Private Company Financials, Transactions (private equity, venture capital and M&A) & their Valuations in India.

April 10, 2017

Media Mention: Interest in Commercial Real Estate investments spikes

Economic Times and Times of India quote Venture Intelligence PE in Real Estate data to showcase this trend. Extracts:
This year has also started with a bang as real estate companies and projects attracted 19 investments totaling an announced value of $3.41 billion in the first quarter ended March. The value of investments in the March quarter was up 2.7 times from the year-ago period, which had seen investments worth $1.25 billion across 18 transactions, showed data from Venture Intelligence.
The commercial segment, led by GIC’s $2.14 million investment in DLF’s rental arm, attracted an all-time high investment worth $2.6 billion across five transactions during the March quarter. Venture Intelligence data assumes the proposed transaction between DLF and GIC, which has been disclosed to the stock exchanges, goes through.  
...“While the mega deal between GIC and DLF's promoters does skew the numbers in a big way during the first quarter of 2017, the spike in investor interest in the commercial segment is for real, given the enhanced activity of other investors like Blackstone and others as well,” said Arun Natarajan, founder of Venture Intelligence. 

Venture Intelligence is India's longest serving provider of data and analysis on Private Company Financials, Transactions (private equity, venture capital and M&A) & their Valuations in India.

April 05, 2017

Corporate VC Perspective: Joydeep Bose

“Corporate VCs should invest not only in technology adjacencies for their Business Units, but also to capture innovation in disruptive areas.”

Here is an interview with Joydeep Bose - veteran corporate VC (Intel and Cisco) and currently Executive Vice President-Corporate Strategy & Business Development at Tejas Networks - brought to you in association with Global Corporate Venturing (GCV) magazine

Q: You have one of the best track records of CVC investing in Asia over the last 16 years. What do you attribute your success to?

I strongly believe that success is always a function of timing and opportunity with a bit of luck. I attribute my success to mainly three things - sector knowledge, operational experience and deep understanding of the ecosystem. Guy-Kawasaki once said “Venture capital is something to do at the end of your career, not the beginning. It should be your last job, not your first.” I relate to this a lot. I started as an engineer,designing telecom products in late 80’s, data switches, internet applications, real time operating systems, security products. In mid 90’s, I switched to sales and eventually to general management armed with a sponsored business school exposure through AT&T. 

By the beginning of the millennium, I figured out how to make a product and how to sell it. So, I thought that it was the right time in my career to be a venture capitalist. The opportunity came knocking from within my own employer and I joined Intel Capital in early 2000. I attribute lot of my successes to this “rising from operations” and every stripe that is hard earned.

Among the things I am most proud of creating an investment relevance for a remote international geography to a corporate venture value matrix, will be on top. The core competency of every geography in this planet are different. Curating the local expertise and creating the strategic  thesis for the BUs, sometimes as their mentor, coach and advocate is a critical success factor of CVC investments. The rest is execution in terms of finding the right startups that fit this thesis either in capturing innovation or enabling preferential market access. Founding team, financial viability and scale, right level of influencibility and finally an engagement interest from both ends is by no means easy, but predictive.

Q:Which of your investments are you most proud of?

On the deal side, I am most proud be being an investor and being on the board in 2003/4 of a very unique local switching, routing and optical startup in India (Tejas Networks) that uses local innovation and software differentiation to capture the market and is currently the front and center of government’s make in India program. I am also extremely proud of four others investments I have in the areas of DC as a service, Cloud application migration, Cloud continuity and cloud container software in the early days of cloud evolution. The bets and the option value I helped my company achieve in these areas that were not so proven concepts then, paid rich strategic value and needless to say financial dividends over time.

More recently, I have become involved with several machine learning and AI startups. One such investment is in a company that discovers data, location analytics and sells rich targeting data to whoever needs them. It’s an India/Singapore based startup with major business in Australia and Japan.

Q: What were the learning from the various challenges you faced as a CVC investor?

The biggest challenge one faces in a CVC program - especially when away from the HQ - is mindset. You need to spend a significant amount of time educating people about your market, your eco-system, the best practices that are followed in your part of the world. 

Another problem that is prevalent in most CVC programs are lack of understanding of “local innovation”.  With an industry that is maniacally focused on “outcome”, technology innovation alone can not bring the desired impact on customers. Local innovation tweaks technology, integrates use cases and create an experience that is monetizeable.  Every market may have their own nuances as far as use cases and perceived monetizeable value is concerned. Creating the hypothesis and performing a sell-side function within your own organization is a key expertise needed in a CVC program.

Secondly, CVC program thrives on “portfolio value addition”. Value addition ranges from joint solution, access to channel, mentorship, introduction to key customers etc. Securing a “Design win” is often a pre-requisite of target qualification in the corporate investment world.   Although my experience in this regard is mixed across the organizations I have worked for, this remains a single big challenge for CVCs in terms of over promise and under delivery or even worse - orphaning a portfolio soon after investment.

Q: How is Asia, where you have spent most of your career, relevant to the new generation of global innovation economy?

A: Asia is one of the largest and high growth consumption economies in the world today.Mobile user base, 4G/5G, financial inclusion, infrastructure buildout, digital nation, smart cities, you name it. From my experience of managing Asia (excluding China), I typically divide the region into four innovation hubs:

a. Australia - an early stage startup market doing pioneering work in cloud and SaaS with early signs of AI.
b. India- Completed its transition from the core competency of  Business Process Outsourcing to BPM and developed key expertise in machine learning, NLP, SaaS, AI and microservices. Having a unique local market also qualifies India to become a good target for selective IOT, smartcity and consumer internet startup investments.
c. Singapore – Most definitely a Fintech innovation hub  in collaboration with SEA and India.
d. Japan- Showing significant IOT innovation and adoption in manufacturing, AI/Robotics, and new generation of consumer electronics.

There is an unprecedented innovation nexus between industry, academia, government and the venture capitalists as is evident from the increased deal flow in each of these hubs.

Asia has always skipped a generation or two in terms of new technology adoption and with a large local market for technology absorption. Smart entrepreneurs are innovating Asia-For -Asia products and technologies  and exporting them as Asia-for -the-world where there are similarities in use cases.

Q: What according to you is an optimal CVC model?

A:  Making an attempt to generalize and create a classical or logical model for CVC investment is inadequate. From my experience, one of the biggest mistakes many corporates make is that they tie the CVC program too closely to the business units and give significant veto to the engineering managers in the investment committee. While it is important to identify investable opportunities that create preferential access to the market or enhance value of an existing product, it is extremely important to create option value by investing into companies that deal with technology in an entirely upstream space within the industry and are typically 2-3 years out from a relevance point of view for that corporation. 

I would therefore recommend two approaches–
1. Investing into technology adjacencies for the BU, and 
2. Capture innovation in disruptive areas

No matter what you do, you must be clear in terms of what success looks like and when do you know you are “done”. A lack of such goals often lead to mismatch of expectations and anything that is not measurable is highly fungible.  

Secondly, every CVC must have a serious portfolio management team. Deal makers are not typically good at bringing the promised value to the portfolio beyond financial governance. There must also be stringent accountability for the sponsor groups who promises the portfolio access to market, joint solution or of becoming an internal customer. Unfulfilled promises are damaging for the CVCs brand in the eco-system.

Q: What are the tech trends that you are most excited about?

A:In my mental model, there are two kinds of innovation activities in today’s tech universe. In the first category are those companies that are doing data discovery and selling insights that are actionable and in the second, are companies that are creating experiences out of that data (first party, second party, third party data) and monetize the outcome.

Now, the problem statement for the data discovery and insight creation part is complex but relatively linear. There are significant innovation, IP creation in this space backed by VC money. However the transformation from data discovery to experience creation with this data is a continuum that is reasonably complex. The technology that are involved here are machine learning, predictive analytics, NLP, Micro services, messaging/API management, multi-factor authentication, chatbots and the entire gamut of data sciences. 

The application of such technologies cut across several domains such as internet security, conversational commerce, business SaaS, productivity and communication and applies to both edge computing and cloud computing models. In my opinion, most of today’s innovations are revolving around this.  I am most excited about this model and I see several startups across the globe and specially in Asia focusing on this.

Q: What is the next chapter in your career?

A: After spending 10 years at CISCO and 25 years in the industry,I started thinking what next. Upon networking with old colleagues and friends, I came across three opportunities that I liked– an operating partnership with a Singapore based PE firm; Head of strategy for a Series B startup and Corp Dev role for a  pre-IPO company. I came to the conclusion that late-growth stage startups who are looking at M&A for inorganic growth options, trying to build a larger structured eco-system and looking at tools like JV for preferential market access would benefit from my corporate development expertise. And I also realized there is a skill gap in the industry in Asia in the pre-IPO space. Going forward, I shall spend my time equally between Neoleap –the accelerator, helping a VC in their interaction with startups, apart from helping Tejas Networks in its Corporate Development initiatives.

Venture Intelligence is India's longest serving provider of data and analysis on Private Company Financials, Transactions (private equity, venture capital and M&A) & their Valuations in India.

April 04, 2017

VC Investment Activity falls to 3 Year Low

At 68 investments (worth $314 million), Venture Capital investment activity in Jan-Mar ‘17 fell to a three year low, Venture Intelligence data shows. VC investment activity (i.e., number of investments) fell 47% compared to Q1 2016 and 43% compared to the immediate previous quarter. The previous low in terms number of VC investments was 63 investment in Q2 2014.  (Venture Capital is defined by Venture Intelligence as Seed Capital to “Series D”/Fourth round of investment of up to $20 million in companies that are less than 10 years old. The monthly analysis includes investments of over $20-M as well in tech startups that are less than 10 years old.)

The VC investment amount in Q1’17 dipped 17% compared to Q1‘16 and 26% compared to the immediate previous quarter. The fall in investment value was cushioned by a few large Growth Stage investments. (As many as 15 VC type investments in Q1’17 were over $10 million - versus 10 in Q1’16). 

Early Stage investment activity (Seed Capital, “Series A” and “Series B” deals) fell by as much as 50% compared to the same period in 2016.

Notable Shift Away from Consumer Internet & Mobile Deals

While IT & ITeS companies continued to account for 74% of the investments (by activity), the value VC investments in IT companies fell sharply to 53% (from 74% in Q1’16). Industries like Education (e.g. Cue Learn), Healthcare (iGenetics Diagnostics) and Microfinance (RGVN NE Microfinance) are grabbing increasing attention from VC investors. Within IT & ITeS, Enterprise Technology and B2B focused startups (with 29 investments) attracted more investments than Consumer Internet & Mobile companies (25 deals) during Q1’17, Venture Intelligence data shows. (In Q’16 the number of Consumer Internet & Mobile investments at 66 were over double the B2B/Enterprise Tech deals at 32.). 

“Entrepreneurs from Enterprise Tech and Non-Tech sectors complain – often with justification - that VC investors favour consumer focused companies. Given the nervousness around expensive Consumer Internet & Mobile bets and the significant un-invested capital available with VC firms, this is probably the best time for non-consumer focused startups to get VC attention,” remarked Arun Natarajan of Venture Intelligence.

IDG Ventures emerges Most Active VC

While investors like Accel India, Aarin Capital and the Ratan Tata Family Office - who were very active last year - slowed down their pace of investments significantly in Q1 2017, IDG Ventures India stood out as an exception announcing eight investments during the period.

Source: Venture Intelligence VC Deals Database

View ET-NOW's coverage of the latest quarterly VC numbers

Venture Intelligence is India's longest serving provider of data and analysis on Private Company Financials, Transactions (private equity, venture capital and M&A) & their Valuations in India.

Media Mention: 2016-17 in review: A record year for M&A deals

Leveraging Venture Intelligence Private Equity and M&A deal data, Mint has a round up of the deal activity in Financial Year 2016-17. 
This financial year has set a record for mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in India, with deals worth $61.26 billion—more than double the value of transactions last year. In 2015-16, M&A deals were worth $27.62 billion. The sharp increase was a result of both strong foreign buying interest and consolidation underway across sectors including telecom, cement and energy. From Rosneft PJSC’s acquisition of Essar Oil Ltd to the merger agreement between Vodafone India Ltd and Idea Cellular Ltd, 2016-17 has largely been a year of big ticket M&A deals. Inbound deals worth $21.2 billion and domestic deals worth $35.6 billion were reported in the financial year. 

Venture Intelligence is India's longest serving provider of data and analysis on Private Company Financials, Transactions (private equity, venture capital and M&A) & their Valuations in India.

April 03, 2017

Private Equity investments up by 36% to $5.4 Billion in Q1’17

Private Equity firms invested about $5.44 Billion across 117 deals during the quarter ended March 2017, according to early data from Venture Intelligence, a research service focused on private company financials, transactions and their valuations. The investment amount was 36% higher than the amount registered in Q1’16 (which had witnessed $4 Billion across 198 transactions) and 23% higher than the immediate previous quarter ($4.4 Billion across 179 transactions). The volume (or number) of investments was however lower by 41% compared to the year ago period and 35% lower compared to the previous quarter. (Note: These figures include Venture Capital investments, but exclude PE investments in Real Estate.)

Interestingly, almost $3.6 Billion - or 2/3rds of the total value of the investments during the period – were announced/reported in just March. 

The latest quarter witnessed 11 PE investments worth $100 million or more compared to 12 such transactions in the same period last year and 8 during the immediate previous quarter.  Many of the larger deals during Q1’17 involved secondary sales by either promoters or existing PE investors, the Venture Intelligence analysis showed. Telecom tower firm Bharti Infratel saw parent firm Bharti Airtel sell a 10.3% stake to KKR and Canadian pension fund CPPIB for almost $952 million. CPPIB also invested $720 million in IT Services firm GlobalLogic providing an exit route for existing PE investor Apax Partners. True North (formerly India Value Fund) exited one hospital chain (Manipal Health via a $215 million sale to Temasek) and entered a new one (KIMS Group via a $200 million investment that gave an exit to Ascent Capital and OrbiMed).
IT &; ITeS companies accounted for 53% of the PE investment value pie in Q1’17 attracting almost $2.9 Billion across 64 transactions. The value of IT & ITeS investments in Q1’17 was up 106% from the $1.4 Billion across 115 deals in the same period in 2016. BFSI companies attracted $498 million across 17 PE investments, followed closely by Healthcare & Life Sciences companies which attracted $496 million across eight transactions.

Venture Intelligence is India's longest serving provider of data and analysis on Private Company Financials, Transactions (private equity, venture capital and M&A) & their Valuations in India.

Media Mention: March sees rush to close deals as new tax rules kicks in from April 1

Economic Times' Sachin Dave has an interesting article - featuring Venture Intelligence data - descrbing how deal makers raced against the clock to seal Private Equity investments before March 31 (post which, new taxation rules come into effect under the amended India-Mauritius tax treaty). Extracts:
Scores of lawyers and dealmakers across the country were busy closing acquisition transactions before April 1, 2017, when new tax rules kick in. Indeed, close to 150 such deals were signed in March. "In terms of private equity, almost $3.6 billion — or two-thirds of the total value of investments during the January-March quarter — came in during March alone," said Arun Natarajan, CEO of Venture Intelligence.  
A revision in the tax treaty between India and Mauritius is one such change that has sparked a flurry of deals. As per the revised treaty, Mauritius-based entities buying shares of Indian companies before April 1 will not have to pay capital gains tax when they choose to exit in future. But such capital gains (as and when shares are sold later) will attract tax if the acquisition is closed after March 31, 2017.  

Venture Intelligence is India's longest serving provider of data and analysis on Private Company Financials, Transactions (private equity, venture capital and M&A) & their Valuations in India.