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Private equity, venture capital firms strengthen teams after losing talent

Ranju Sarkar/New Delhi 05 Dec 18 | 07:11 PM

Private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) firms are strengthening their teams by inducting partners who could add value to the investee companies or elevating people with good track-record on exits.

Last week, Bangalore-based VC firm Kalaari Capital roped in Sreedhar Prasad from KPMG, where he was partner and head-consumer markets & internet business, advisory. Prasad will strengthen the team at Kalaari which has seen 3-4 exits over the last 12 months.

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Last week, Fireside Ventures, which focuses on early-stage investments in the consumer space, roped in Dipanjan Basu as partner and chief financial officer, from Myntra and Jabong.

Basu will be responsible for initiating and managing new investments in addition to setting up financial, regulatory and investor management processes for the fund.

Before joining Myntra in 2016, Basu was the CFO and COO for Wipro’s digital and consulting business, where he was responsible for building and setting up new businesses, M&A and investments in start-ups. A chartered accountant, he was also CFO with Quatrro Risk Management Services.

In October, Sistema Asia Fund, the venture capital fund floated by Russian conglomerate Sistema PJSFC, appointed Sumit Jain as a senior partner. Jain was earlier with VC firm Kalaari Capital. “Sumit brings years of proven investment and portfolio management experience," said Andrey Terebenin, managing partner of Sistema Asia Capital (India), in a statement.

Investors are not just roping in talent from outside but also promoting them internally. In October, Blume Ventures elevated Ashish Fafadia as partner to oversee the overall finance function, including risk management, support fundraising and helping the investment team on portfolio firms that graduate to the growth stage, said Blume in a statement. He will also assist companies during the exit process of Blume, it added.

Fafadia, who had joined Blume Ventures in 2012, led the structuring of investments at the firm with co-founder Karthik Reddy. He also oversaw Blume's notable exits including TaxiforSure, which was acquired by Ola, Zipdial, which was bought by Twitter (both deals struck in 2015) and recently Mettl, which was acquired by Mercer.

In June, Orios Venture Partners promoted Anup Jain as managing partner, after he led investments in the consumer space at the firm for over a year. “He is a key addition to our leadership team and will be instrumental in raising the bar further at Orios as well as tapping new opportunities that have arisen in FMCG/retail space," Rehan Yar Khan, founder & managing partner at Orios Venture Partners said.

Some of these hires are replacements for people the VC firms have lost. For instance, Sumit Jain joins Sistema from Kalaari after the Rusian firm lost a partner Kirill Kozhevnikov to peer VC firm RTP Global, earlier known as ru-Net. 

Similarly, Prasad joins Kalaari after it lost three senior executives over an year or so. In October last year, partners Bala Srinivasa and Prashanth Aluru quit the venture capital firm. In August 2018, Mint reported that Kalaari managing director Rajesh Raju may quit but would continue to manage its second and third funds.

In April, Eight Roads Ventures, the investment arm of Fidelity International, appointed former Goldman Sachs executive Shweta Bhatia as partner for its India team. Bhatia was head of Asia investments at Goldman Sachs Investment Partners for its venture capital and growth equity teams. She focuses on technology, consumer and financial services companies.

KKR makes two key hires for its credit business

Global alternative investment firm KKR & Co LP has appointed two new directors to grow its India credit business. KKR has roped in former Edelweiss Alternative Asset Advisors Ltd executives Sumanth Cidambi and Vijay Padmanabhan, it announced on Tuesday. “Sumanth (Cidambi) will complement our focus on building capabilities in the operational turnaround and workout areas, which are becoming a critical differentiator in credit investing in India," said KKR India Financial Services CEO BV Krishnan.

Cidambi, a chartered accountant as well as cost accountant, work closely with the firm’s credit portfolio companies in India to deliver identified and specific value. Cidambi’s appointment highlights the firm’s view that operational involvement in companies is a dimension that is critical to delivering value to stakeholders, KKR said in its statement.

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