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Showing posts from August, 2008

LIBA, TiE Chennai launch Business Plan Competition

Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA) and The Indus Entrepreneurs, Chennai (TiE-Chennai) are organizing a Pan-India Business Plan Competition. IDG Ventures India is sponsoring the event. Apart from prizes worth Rs. 8 lakhs worth, the event offers funding and mentorship opportunities. Significant dates: Closure of Registration: Sep 23, '08 Last date of submission of Executive Summary: Sep 26, '08 Last date of submission of detailed Business Plan: Oct 24, '08 Last Date for submission of Final Presentation: Nov 19, '08 Final Presentation: Nov 21, '08 For more information, visit the competition page on the LIBA web site at or email

Recent Amendments in Foreign Investment Reporting Norms

By Rajesh Begur, Partner, A.R.A. Law In comparison to most emerging economies, India has one of the most transparent foreign investment policies. The Indian regulatory authorities constantly make an effort to modify the regulations keeping in mind both the domestic and global markets. The change in the outlook of the Indian Government with respect to foreign investment in the past few years has been rather significant and its impact cannot be ignored. Foreign investment in India is freely permitted in most sectors and its scope has been increased further with the recent amendments made by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) vide Master Circular dated July, 2008. In addition to the existing list of sectors in which foreign investments is permitted, foreign investors can now invest in small scale industrial units, Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs) (registered with RBI), infrastructure companies and commodity exchanges. The flow of foreign investment in sensitive sectors such as airports

Interview with Bharat Banka of Birla Private Equity

Venture Intelligence recently spoke to Bharat Banka, CEO - Private Equity, Aditya Birla Group. He has been with the Aditya Birla Group for more than 13 years. Venture Intelligence: Tell us more about the PE effort at the Aditya Birla Group… Bharat Banka: We started out around December last year investing proprietary capital and commitments received from domestic associates. In coming months, we would have formalized a fund and initial commitments would become the Limited Partners. We also plan to launch a Real Estate fund sometime down the line. VI: What would be the corpus of the PE fund? BB: In addition to the initial commitments, we would target raising $100-150 million from domestic investors and a similar or higher amount from international investors. VI: Don’t you think that you are late to the PE party? BB: No, I don’t think so. The PE industry in India has just reached the inflection point. From $2 billion in 2005 the investments have grown to over US$14 billion in 2007. We

Murdoch on Star India 2.0

Businessworld has an interview with Rupert Murdoch on his latest plans for India. You have a DTH success story in BSkyB. What has been the experience in India like? Tata Sky has become a great brand, but it is going to be very competitive. There are Reliance and Bharti coming in; there are many who would like to provide these services. In three or four years, we will see some consolidation. Some will lose money, others will say they are investing money because they are expanding. And then we will see who will tire first. It has been a two-player market in the US, but otherwise you rarely see more than one player in most markets. ... China and India have both been great growth stories, but for News Corp. and Star, India’s performance has been way ahead of China. What happened? China does not like foreign media. Period. We tried and tried; and we tried to get joint ventures going; ... then there was a change of regime and we closed down. We are standing by now to see what happens. Indi

MEETINGS! - By Sanjay Anandaram

Many years ago when I was young, not-yet-senior-enough-to-attend meetings and gainfully employed, meetings were, in my then innocent mind, attended by senior company executives who discussed serious and grave matters that could dramatically impact everything from my salary to perhaps even world peace. I was overjoyed one day when I was asked to attend a meeting the following morning. Nothing else was told to me except “there’s a strategy meeting tomorrow and please be present.” Two important words – strategy and meetings- in the same sentence that included an invitation to me! I was breathless with excitement and couldn’t wait to attend my first strategy meeting with senior management. The day long meeting concluded with the Chairman sagely announcing “Lets form a task force that will create an approach paper on our customer support strategy that we’ll discuss in the next meeting.” I was perhaps not the only one who thought we’d achieved an unusual amount that day which was neatly cap

Backgrounder on Emami-Zandu takeover battle

Businessworld has a backgrounder on the ongoing Emami-Zandu takeover battle. The events surrounding this takeover are the stuff of intrigue and drama: family quarrels, accusations of abysmally poor management and sheer incompetence fly thick and fast between the two families - Parikhs and Vaidyas - that comprise the promoter group. Not surprising then, that when opportunity presented itself, the Vaidyas -members of the founding family - sold their almost 24 per cent stake to Emami. Emami, led by the Agarwal and Goenka (not related to the Goenkas of RPG) families, whose open offer for another 20 per cent more is yet to receive the approval of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), hopes that the Parikhs - the other promoter group that holds about 20 per cent at June end, and is entrenched in management - will see reason. But Girish Parikh says that he controls about 40 per cent of the stock - including through proxies - enough to fight Emami's bid. But that will requir

Another great sub-prime video

An anonymous Private Equity Professional has done an amazing job of re-doing the subtitles of a TV mini-series on the final days of Adolf Hitler. In the videos (the latest on YouTube being Part V ), Hitler is Chairman & CEO of a investment banking firm (the Nazi Party, of course) which is falling apart due its bad bets on CDOs. Enjoy the series! Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.

Impact of Proposed Amendments to Venture Capital Regulations

By Rajesh Begur, Partner, A.R.A. Law The contribution of private equity and venture capital funds to the Indian economy in the last few years has been phenomenal. In the last three months ending June 2008, Venture Capital firms have invested $158 million over 26 deals in India. In the last six months, PE firms have invested about $5.9 billion, or Rs 25,565 crore, across 141 deals, compared with $5.03 billion invested across 126 deals during the corresponding period in 2007^. In order to keep a check on the investments being made and to ensure a level playing field between the domestic and foreign funds, the Indian regulatory authorities have proposed certain changes to the venture capital regulations. PROPOSED AMENDMENTS The India regulatory authorities are revisiting the laws governing private equity and venture capital funds. Stated below are the proposed amendments that are currently under consideration and likely to be introduced soon. I. THE RETAIL SECTOR The Government has pro

European PE fund seeks to invest in Renewable Energy Sector

ADVERTISEMENT A European PE fund doing global deals wishes to invest in Indian unlisted Hydro, Wind, Solar and Bio-mass Companies. Companies / IPPs having running projects or projects under execution with good management are preferred. The fund is looking at funding 100% or partial management buyouts. Company / investment bankers with firm mandates of such proposals may urgently forward a one page brief on the Company on a no name basis to

The Booming Business of Education

Business Today has a detailed article on the rising interest of entrepreneurs and investors in the education sector. The next wave of great entrepreneurial activity in India is going to be centered around education. India’s 75,000 private schools account for just 7 per cent of total institutions and enrol 90 million students. Of course, there’s a slightly larger universe of children, about 129 million, who go to public schools. Still, that leaves 142 million students who are not in the system yet, says a CLSA report on education. Game for more numbercrunching? The country has nearly 370 universities and 18,000 colleges, 500,000 teachers and the third-largest system in terms of enrolment with more than 10 million students. Whereas, Japan with its nearly 128 million people, has 684 universities, USA with 300 million people has 2,364 universities, and Germany with 82 million people has 330 universities. ...India’s education and training sector market is valued at $40 billion with a poten

"Managing the Board Meeting"

Matt McCall, Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson Portage Venture Partners, has a funny post on how entrepreneurs can manage their company’s board of directors. 1. Meet by phone whenever possible. Most of them will be doing their email or goosing their admin or something and not paying any attention at all. They’ll just vote when you ask’em to. 2. Never distribute anything in advance; they might read it and get themselves all confused. Just present it all: gets you through most of the meeting. ...8. Have a nine person board with three insiders, four VCs and two people who don’t have a clue. Just four VCs alone should guarantee gridlock. 9. Every meeting should run way over schedule. You control the agenda: presentations up front; substance in the third overtime period. 10. If they’ve gotta discuss something, get’em down in the weeds. Color of the office; words for the new ad campaign; what bank to deposit tax payments in. That keeps everybody out of trouble. 11. If you’re publ

IDG Ventures' Sudhir Sethi on the Indian VC Space

Ernst & Young’s Global Venture Capital Insights and Trends Report 2008 has an interview with Sudhir Sethi, Founder, Chairman & Managing Director of IDG Ventures India. An extract: Ernst & Young: What were your surprises in the last 12-18 months? Sudhir Sethi: When we raised our US$ 150 million fund and started operations in September 2006, we focused on early stage technology investments. Our focus was and continues to be in Software Products and Services, manufacturing and engineering, medical electronics, digital consumer and telecom / semiconductor sectors. Our first surprise was the pace at which funds are vacating the venture investment space and moving increasingly to the growth investment stage. Our intention is to dominate the venture stage technology focused sectors as an early stage fund. Our second surprise was the extent of competition in our sectors; except for digital consumer space (internet / mobile VAS), we really do not face significant competitive pressu

Entrepreneur Interview: Educational Initiatives’ Sridhar Rajagopalan

Educational Initiatives’ Co-founder & Managing Director Sridhar Rajagopalan became an entrepreneur in school education after acquiring a B.Tech from IIT Chennai and a PGDM from IIM-Ahmedabad followed by a three-year stint at Tata IBM. He was a member of the team that set up Eklavya School in Ahmedabad in the mid-nineties. In 2001, along with a few batch-mates from IIMA, Sridhar set up EI with an aim to create a school education system where children learn with understanding as against the currently dominant learning by rote. Sridhar firmly believes that this goal can be achieved through a 'for profit' enterprise focused on assessment tests for children based on research-based methodologies. Educational Initiatives’ Sridhar Rajagopalan Ahmedabad-headquartered EI's flagship product ASSET (Assessment of Scholastic Skills through Educational Testing) is a diagnostic test which, instead of trying only to find out how much a child knows (or has memorized), measures how well

Limited Partner Interview: PCG International's Steven Cowan

Venture Intelligence recently spoke to Steven Cowan, Managing Director, PCG International (PCGI), an affiliate of US-based Pacific Corporate Group, that invests in emerging markets private equity funds. Prior to PCGI, he had worked with Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and before that, was an attorney with leading US law firms. ( The full interview will be published in the forthcoming Venture Intelligence Quarterly Roundup Report ). Venture Intelligence: Please tell us more about your firm and its investments in India. Steven Cowan: Founded in 2005, PCGI is focused on Private Equity outside the US through partnership and co-investments across VC and PE sectors and stages. We are currently a team of 10 based in Washington D.C, with offices in California and Hong Kong and manage more than $1 billion. Our team is experienced in the emerging markets and some of them have been associated with PE in India since the 90s. Our geographical split right now is approximately around

Top Investors from General Atlantic, UTI Ventures & Baring PE join Speaker Roster at IT Services

Sunil Kolangara of UTI Ventures; Abhay Havaldar of General Atlantic; Subbu Subramaniam of Baring Private Equity and Dev Raman of Tricolor India will be the investor speakers at IT Services & BPO Connect '08 (IB Connect). IB Connect is a conference that brings together investors, entrepreneurs and top executives in the IT Services & BPO sectors to network, discuss and share best practices. The 2008 edition, to be held on August 28 at Mumbai , aims to review current trends and explore new opportunities. Here is the latest speakers at the conference: Aparup Sengupta, CEO, Aegis BPO Nitin Shah, CMD, Allied Digital Subbu Subramaniam, Partner, Baring Private Equity Salil Parekh, Executive Chairman, Capgemini India Akshaya Bhargava, CEO, Fulcrum Group Abhay Havaldar, Managing Director, General Atlantic Partha De Sarkar, CEO, HTMT Global Srinath Batni, Director, Infosys Rajesh Jain, Director, KPMG Niteen Tulpule, Director, KPMG Raj Chatterjea, Director-M&A, Motilal Oswal Shail

More Credit Crisis Jokes

Give a man a fish; he'll eat for a day. Give him a sub-prime fish loan and you’re in business, buddy! - Stephen Colbert (Hat tip: Dealmaker ) Now, Bloomberg has another "fishy tale" which starts with a Hedge-Fund Guy walking into an investment bank complaining about a derivative security which he purchased not so long ago... Click Here for the full tale. Of course, my favorite not-to-miss video on the credit crisis featuring c omics John Bird and John Fortune is linked here . Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.

Knowledge Commission recommendations on entrepreneurship

The National Knowledge Commission , headed by former Telecom Commission Chairman Sam Pitroda, has published recommendations on entrepreneurship. Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.

"Expensive Economy"

Businessworld has a cover story on how rising input costs, specially that of labour and power, coupled with shifting political alliances have made India an expensive business destination. Services, which accounts for 54 per cent of India’s GDP, is one frontier the country has to guard dearly. The sector has been hit by facilities and manpower expenses, which account for 65-70 per cent of costs. Several MNCs — including Nokia and Dell — have shut their captive business process outsourcing (BPO) units in India. “HR costs are growing at 15-20 per cent every year; globally, they grow at 2-5 per cent,” says Tanmay Kapoor, partner of business advisory at Ernst & Young (E&Y). In most areas of the services sector, CEOs in India are actually earning more than their counterparts in the US. The Rs 34-crore Cairn India’s CEO Rahul Dhir’s remuneration in 2007 was nearly Rs 7 crore. The median for a CEO’s salary in the US is $1.1 million (Rs 4.4 crore). ...A bigger challenge for companies i