Skip to main content

“Cos. we invest in should be able to match or better the ‘Reliance Rate of Return’” - Interview with Harshal Shah, CEO of Reliance Technology Ventures



Venture Intelligence recently spoke with Harshal Shah, CEO of Reliance Technology Ventures Limited (RTVL) which has announced a series of investments in telecom technology companies like Sequans Communications, Stoke, E-Band Communications, etc. RTVL was launched in 2006 to incubate new business ideas and streamline the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group’s investments in emerging and high-growth technologies.

Venture Intelligence: RTVL’s recent investments have been in the telecom space. Would this high focus on telecom continue?

Harshal Shah: Not at all. It is just that Reliance Communications was the first out of the blocks in the Reliance ADA Group. As the group’s other areas of business – including Energy, Financial Services, Media & Entertainment, etc. - mature, we will make investments in areas synergistic to them.

VI: Why has the focus been on companies outside India?

HS: Technology is geographic agnostic. Since we can invest anywhere in the world, it really doesn’t matter where the company is located. At the end of the day, we are making investments focused on providing an extra edge to Reliance ADA Group companies.

VI: What are the key criteria you use in making investments?

HS: We need to get a “Reliance rate of return” or better. Given the kind of high growth and returns that we are able to create within our own group firms, any investments we make should be able to generate at least that kind of IRR.

Other things we would look for (in investee companies) is how they would be able to add value to us (the R-ADA Group) and how we would be able to add value to their businesses. The company should be able to leverage the Reliance ecosystem in a way that we can generate higher returns.

VI: What is your preferred stage of investing?

HS: We are purely opportunistic. The threshold of returns expected is pretty high. The way we see it, the amount of work that goes into a deal is the same. So, for it to make sense for us, the proposition needs to be something that can scale fast and have the capability to grow into a multi-bagger.

We could invest in cases where it is just an idea but has great capability to scale up and give us the kind of returns we look for. For example, yatra.com was not even incorporated when we decided to go ahead and invest.

VI: Would you look at the same kind of time frame for exits as a regular VC firm?

HS: We have Unlimited time and Unlimited Capital. The bottom line is generating a higher IRR. (As long as that’s clear) there is no pressure of time and capital.

VI: RTVL has invested in SeedFund. Would you invest in other VC funds as well?

HS: The options are open. But nothing has excited us as of now.

Popular posts from this blog

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

ChrysCapital, Motilal Oswal PE & Sequoia named PE-VC Firms of the Decade

Press Release ChrysCapital, Motilal Oswal Private Equity and Sequoia Capital India have been named the top Private Equity & Venture Capital investors in India during the last decade, as part of Venture Intelligence’s APEX Awards. The Venture Intelligence “Awards for Private Equity Excellence” (APEX) is dedicated to celebrating the best that the Indian Private Equity & Venture Capital industry has to offer.  While ChrysCapital won the “Private Equity Investor of the Decade” award, Motilal Oswal Private Equity was feted as India’s “Growth Capital Investor of the Decade”. The Indian arm of the storied Silicon Valley VC firm, Sequoia Capital, was named the country’s “Venture Capital Investor of the Decade”. The APEX Awardees are selected based on both Self Nomination by the participating PE-VC firms as well as "crowd sourced" nominations and voting from the Limited Partner, PE-VC and advisory communities. (The main criteria were Exit Track Record, New Fund Raises & Fo

Ambit tops League Table for Transaction Advisors to Private Equity deals in 2019

Ambit Corporate Finance topped the Venture Intelligence League Table for Transaction Advisor to Private Equity Transactions for the year 2019. Ambit advised PE deals worth $2.4 Billion (across 4 qualifying transactions) during the period. Citi ($1.1 Billion across 2 deals) and  Avendus  ($969 million across 12 deals) took the second and third spot. Edelweiss Financial Services ($758 million across 9 deals) and  PwC  ($708 million across 15 deals) completed the top five in 2019.  The  Venture Intelligence League Tables , the first such initiative exclusively tracking transactions involving India-based companies, are based on value of PE and M&A transactions advised by Financial and Legal Advisory firms. Ambit Corporate Finance advised the $1.9 Billion buyout of Pipeline Infrastructure from Reliance Industries   by Brookfield Asset Management  and the IFC and I Squared Capital-backed   Cube Highways' acquisition of Delhi-Agra Toll Road from Reliance Infrastructu

Jio deals help PE investments climb 12% in H1'20 to $18.8 B

Press Release With Reliance Industries' communications unit Jio Platforms attracting 51% of the investment value, Private Equity-Venture Capital (PE-VC) investments in India rose 12% during the first 6 months of 2020 to $18.8 Billion (across 341 deals), shows data from  Venture Intelligence , a research service focused on private company financials, transactions and their valuations. Investments totaling over $9.5 Billion in Jio by a troop of global private equity firms, following social media giant Facebook's $5.7 Billion mid April investment in the company, helped overall PE-VC investments better the $16.8 Billion (across 503 transactions) invested during the same period in 2019. (Note: These figures include Venture Capital investments, but exclude PE investments in Real Estate).   Jio Platforms' $9.5 Billion Private Equity haul (excluding Facebook’s strategic investment) was led by Middle Eastern and American investors with KKR, Saudi Arabia's Public Invest

Inventus, Sixth Sense, Blume & Norwest win Apex'20 Venture Capital Awards

Inventus Capital Partners, Sixth Sense Ventures, Blume Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners were voted the top Venture Capital investors in India during 2019. The Venture Intelligence “Awards for Private Equity Excellence” (APEX) is dedicated to celebrating the best that the Indian Private Equity & Venture Capital industry has to offer. Other 2019 winners in the VC segment included  Axilor Ventures which was voted   the  Accelerator of the Year for the second year running, 3one4 Capital (VC Fund Raise of the Year) and Innoven Capital (Venture Debt firm of the Year). The APEX Awardees are selected based on both Self Nomination by the participating PE-VC firms as well as "crowd sourced" nominations and voting from the Limited Partner, PE-VC and advisory communities. (The main criteria are Exit Track Record, New Fund Raises & Follow-on Funding Rounds for Portfolio Companies).    " It is an honour to be recognised by entrepreneurs and investors as