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October 29, 2011

Profile of employability training firm Talent Bridge

Smart CEO has profile on this company which focuses on making youth from Tier II and III cities more employment ready.
After three years of research, the Graduate Certificate in Corporate Readiness (GCCR) is a copyrighted program from TalentBridge to help students from smaller towns prepare for interviews and a corporate career.

...The company conducted an online survey, which showed that 77 per cent of the time corporates are looking for the right attitude in students, 13 per cent for communication skills, six per cent on subject knowledge and four per cent on other specific needs. The first typical question hiring managers ask candidates is, “Tell me about yourself.”

...The company has seven full time trainers and 50 empanelled trainers. They are all trained under a ‘Train the Trainer’ program, which is based on a video content TalentBridge has developed and used as a framework. In 2010-11, about 1,500 students were trained and its current year target is 5,300, which Shukla is confident of exceeding.


Venture Intelligence is the leading provider of data and analysis on private equity, venture capital and M&A deals in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.

Off Topic (Slightly): Impact of Financialisation

NPR's Planet Money has a very interesting podcast with Satyajit Das, a finance professional-turned-author, where he talks about the imbalances created by finance (and financial engineering) driving businesses, rather than the other way round. He provides a very graphic example from his career at an airline firm - which began to make more money by making bets on the price of oil than from transporting people (and hence became more of a Financial Institution than an airline). Das also talks about how finance getting into the driver's seat has led to too many bright young minds getting into this area (because the money is better, etc.) and how, one of the benefits of the great credit crunch of 2008/09, is taking some fizz out of finance.

You can listed to the podcast from here

Here is the Amazon.com link to the new book ("Extreme Money") by Das on this topic and more.

Venture Intelligence is the leading provider of data and analysis on private equity, venture capital and M&A deals in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.

October 18, 2011

Data Highlight: Blackstone Lights Up Q3'11 Investing Over $500-M

US-headquartered Private Equity firm Blackstone stepped on the gas on its India investments, committing to invest over half a billion dollars in just the three months ended September 2011, according to the Venture Intelligence quarterly Private Equity Roundup Reports. Overall, Private Equity firms invested about $2,249 million across 98 deals during the quarter (not including Real Estate investments).

Three of Blackstone's investments during the period were targeted at companies involved in Power Projects: SKS Chhattisgarh Power Generation ($261-M via the Blackstone owned Sithe Global Power); Visa Power ($111-M) and Monnet Ispat & Power ($29-M in the listed group company of Monnet Power - in which it had invested $60-M last year). Blackstone was also involved in the largest real estate sector investment announced during Q3’11: a reported $200 million investment in Bangalore’s Manyata Embassy Business Park. The firm also wrote a small cheque (by its standards) - of about $33 million - to financial inclusion-focused tech firm FINO.

As per data available in the Venture Intelligence Private Equity Deal Database, the latest investments take Blackstone's overall India investments (not including Real Estate) to over $1.8 billion. It's first investment, announced in April 2006, was a $50 million cheque for Pune-based Emcure Pharmaceuticals. 2011 also witnessed Blackstone's first exit from its India portfolio - via the sale, in June, of BPO firm Intelenet (in which it had acquired a majority stake in June 2007) to UK-based Serco.

October 17, 2011

VC firms invest $217-M in Q3’11

Venture Capital firms invested $217 million over 43 deals in India during the three months ending September 2011, 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. These figures take the total VC investments in 2011 to $752 million across 136 transactions (compared to $504 million across 97 deals in the first nine months of 2010 and $707 million across 132 transactions during the entire year).

The amount invested during Q3’11 was flat compared to the same quarter in 2010 (which had witnessed $212 million being invested across 42 deals) and significantly lower compared to the immediate previous quarter ($325 million across 56 deals), the Venture Intelligence study showed.

Information Technology and IT-Enabled Services (IT & ITES) companies attracted the most investments at 21 deals worth about $89 million, followed by Energy and Financial Services companies (that attracted about $47-M and $21-M respectively across 5 deals each). The share of IT & ITES deals dipped to 49% in volume terms (and 41% in value terms) during Q3’11 compared to 55% in volume terms (and 49% in value terms) in the corresponding period a year ago.

Within IT & ITES, Enterprise Software and Mobile VAS companies, that attracted 4 investments each during Q3’11, narrowed the lead of the traditional favorite sector of Online Services (which attracted nine investments). The largest deals in these sectors included online used car exchange service MotorExchange ($13-M from Tiger Global and existing investor Canaan Partners), data backup software provider Druva Software ($12-M from Nexus Ventures and existing investor Sequoia Capital India) and mobile social networking firm SMS Gupshup ($11-M round led by new investor Tenaya Capital).

The latest quarter witnessed two investments in renewable energy producers: Green Infra (a reported $18-M from IDFC PE) and Bharat Light & Power (undisclosed sized investment from DFJ). Green Infra, which was originally incubated by IDFC PE in 2008, has a portfolio of 164 MW of operating assets, with another 100 MW in the pipeline. Bharat Light & Power, founded by Tejpreet S. Chopra, former President and CEO of General Electric India, also plans to multiple renewable sources including wind, solar, bio mass and hydro.

Among Financial Services deals, Sequoia Capital India provided additional funding to electronic transactions enabler Prizm Payment Services (in which it had originally invested in early 2008), while IFC, the World Bank’s private sector investment arm, chose to invest in low cost ATM provider Vortex Engineering and Tata Capital’s special purpose lending vehicle for cleantech projects.

VC firms found exit routes for four portfolio companies in Q3’11 – including one via an IPO (that of Tree House Education). Pre-school chain Tree House Education, backed by Matrix Partners India, Omidyar Network and Foundation Capital, pulled off its IPO in an extremely choppy environment raising $25.3 million. Citrix Systems acquired Nexus Ventures-backed Cloud.com, a US-based provider of software infrastructure platforms for cloud providers, for a reported $200-250 million. Nexus first invested in Cloud.com (then called VMOps) in Aug-09 and reinvested as part of the $11-M second round funding in May-10. The deal represents the third exit by Nexus in the last 12 months: online classifieds website OLX was acquired by Napsters in Sep-10, while open source web-conferencing company Dimdim was acquired by Salesforhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifce.com in Jan-11. (On October 4, 2011, Nexus announced the acquisition of another of its US-headquartered portfolio company Gluster, a provider of open source storage solutions for standardizing the management of unstructured data, for $136 million by open source software firm Red Hat).

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Venture Intelligence, a division of Chennai, India-based TSJ Media Pvt. Ltd., is the leading source of information on private equity, venture capital and M&A transactions in India. For more information, please visit http://www.ventureintelligence.in

October 11, 2011

Deal Alert: Nexus Ventures invests $4-M in mobile apps developer Genwi

From the Press Release:

GENWI (http://genwi.com), the leader in cloud publishing platforms for Tablets and Smartphones, has raised $4 million in Series A funding in a round led by Nexus Venture Partners (http://nexusvp.com). GENWI’s existing investors,Inventus Capital Partners and Quest Venture Partners, also participated in the round, bringing GENWI’s lifetime funding to $5.1 million including their original $1.1 million seed round raised in 2010.

Offering one of the easiest and yet extremely powerful cloud-based platforms for publishing content on Tablets and Smartphones, GENWI has created and is actively managing over 1,500 apps for thousands of publishers. As opposed to custom building apps for each deviceform factor, GENWI affords publishers the ability to publish once and deliver interactive apps across all smart mobile devices - including iOS, Android, and HTML5.

The GENWI Cloud Publishing Suite offers a mobile optimized, content aggregation and management system,a custom interface layout engine, usage analytics, smart content curation based on analytics, social and ad networks integration, and app distribution from the cloud. Publishers and mobile marketers can now build out their entire mobile strategy on the GENWI platform as opposed to creating piece meal solutions for various devices from multiple services.Resulting live publications in the form of interactive apps offer a visually stunning experience along with real time content delivery and interactivity while affording the publisher a cloud publishing platform with unparalleled scalability and an incredible time to market advantage.

Several major GENWI customers include Vans Shoes, PBS Arizona, PBS Sprout Kids,Moguldom Media (Bossip), and Newser. Acquiring new customers including major media publishers and retailers at an indelibly fast pace, GENWI continues to see its customer base grow while offering one of the fastest solutions to creating a reliable and innovative mobile presence without the complexities or costs of original code development,and low total cost of ownership.

“Our new funding round will be used to build out the infrastructure and an extensive app network to offer more advanced monetization, and distribution features for publishers” said PJ Gurumohan, CEO and Founder of GENWI. “This new round comes from the very best visionary leaders and entrepreneurs with expertise in cloud and infrastructure services combined with publishing industry expertise to help us expand internationally.”A primary focus of the funding efforts will also be a full global expansion of the service, as well as development of multilingual functionality.

“We are thrilled to support GENWI’s impressive efforts in the mobile cloud publishing arena,” said Jishnu Bhattacharjee,of Nexus Venture Partners, who will be joining GenWi’s board of directors। “GENWI’s technology is set to enable and accelerate the transformation thatsmart phones and tablets are bringing in the modes of media consumption”.

About GENWI


GENWI is the leader in cloud publishing for mobile. By allowing publishers to transform online media, marketing, and enterprise content into live, social, and engaging mobile applications from the cloud, GENWI is revolutionizing the publishing industry.

GENWI's comprehensive cloud publishing platform enables rapid design, deployment, and management of visually stunning native or HTML 5 Apps, with no native device OS programming while incorporating rich media capabilities and real-time data. The solution has comprehensive real-time analytics that provide insights into App usage and engagement. Apps can also include various revenue generating capabilities for businesses like ads, coupons, in-App subscriptions etc.
Founded in 2010, GENWI is a privately held firm based in Los Altos, CA. For more information, please visit www.genwi.com

About Nexus Venture Partners

Nexus Venture Partners (http://nexusvp.com) is India’s leading venture capital fund, with offices in Silicon Valley and India. It has $320m under management and an active portfolio of over 30 companies across technology, internet, media, consumer, business services and rural sectors. The Nexus team plays an active role in helping entrepreneurs and management teams build market leading businesses.Some of the companies that Nexus has invested in include Cloud.com (cloud infrastructure, acquired by Citrix), Gluster (Open source cloud storage, acquired by Red Hat), Pubmatic (Publisher Ad revenue optimization), DimDim (Open Source Web Conferencing acquired by Salesforce.com), snapdeal.com (ecommerce), Mapmyindia (Digital Navigation), Netmagic (Managed Services and Cloud), Komli (Online ad network), and Yebhi (E-commerce). Investors in Nexus include leading university endowments, foundations and sovereign funds.To learn more about Nexus Venture Partners, visit: http://nexusvp.com

October 10, 2011

PE firms invest $2.25-B in Q3’11

PE Investments in first 9 months of 2011 surpasses entire of 2010 as deal sizes grow significantly

Private Equity firms invested about $2,249 million across 98 deals during the quarter ended September 2011, according to a study by Venture Intelligence (http://www.ventureintelligence.in), a research service focused on Private Equity and M&A transaction activity in the country. The latest figures take the total PE investments in the first nine months of 2011 to about $8,570 million (across 317 transactions) – significantly higher compared to the about $6,400 million (across 270 transactions) in the same period last year. Also, the value of PE investments year-to-date in 2011 has already surpassed the $8,256 million invested (across 358 transactions) in the entire of 2010, the Venture Intelligence study showed. (Note: These figures exclude PE investments in Real Estate.)

The PE investment amount during Q3’11 was lower than that during the same period last year (which witnessed $2,357 million being invested across 111 deals) and also compared to the immediate previous quarter ($2,911 million across 122 deals). The median investment value in Q3’11, at $10 million, was however higher than both the year-ago period ($9-M) and the immediate previous quarter ($8-M).

There were five PE investments worth over $100 million during Q3’11, with three of them over $200 million. Some of the largest investments during the period included The Blackstone Group-owned Sithe Global Power’s $261 million investment in SKS Chhattisgarh Power Generation; Blackstone’s direct Rs. 500 crore ($111 million) investment in Visa Power and Goldman Sachs’ Rs.1,000 crore (about $204-M) commitment to ReNew Wind Power.

Powered by these mega deals, the Energy industry emerged as the favourite destination for PE capital (in terms of investment amount) during Q3’11, attracting $823-M across 16 transactions. IT & ITES companies came in next attracting $437 million across 29 transactions. The largest deal in the IT & ITES industry was India- and US-based mobile advertising network InMobi’s $200 million investment from SoftBank. This was followed by the $40 million round raised by online group buying service Snapdeal.com from Bessemer Ventures with participation from existing investors IndoUS Ventures and Nexus Ventures. Blackstone invested about $33 million in financial inclusion-focused tech firm FINO.

Interest in infrastructure services firm operating in the roads and water projects helped the Engineering & Construction industry attract $279 million across 8 investments during Q3’11 across companies like Soma Enterprise (from JP Morgan), HCC Concessions (from the Xander Group) and GVR Infra Projects (from IDFC Private Equity).

Exit Activity

Private Equity firms obtained exit routes for their investments in 20 Indian companies during Q3 ’11, including one IPO (that of Tree House Education). This compares to 26 exits (including 3 IPOs) in the same period in 2010 and 17 exits (including 1 IPO) in the immediate previous quarter. Pre-school chain Tree House Education, backed by Matrix Partners India, Omidyar Network and Foundation Capital, pulled off its IPO in an extremely choppy environment raising $25.3 million. Among exits via public market sales, mobile phone operator Idea Cellular witnessed the exit of two of its PE investors - ChrysCapital and TA Associates – who had participated in the company’s nearly $1 billion pre-IPO placement in Oct-06. In an exit via secondary sale, Axis PE sold its stake in water projects firm Vishwa Infrastructures to new investor Olympus Capital for over Rs.200 Crore.

The acquisition of software testing services firm Applabs by US-based IT Services firm CSC provided an exit route Sequoia Capital India (which has been invested in the company since 2004 – then as Westbridge Capital). In another exit via sale to an US-headquartered MNC, edible oil maker Geepee Agri, majority owned by Thailand's GP Group and a portfolio company of Rabo Private Equity’s India Agri Business Fund, was acquired by food processing firm Archers Daniels Midland Company (ADM).

Real Estate

Private Equity-Real Estate firms made 14 investments (amounting to US$388 million across 8 deals with disclosed values) during the quarter ended September 2011. The pace of investments during the quarter was lower than that during the same period last year which witnessed 21 investments (with $744 million being invested across 20 deals with disclosed values) and also lower compared to the immediate previous quarter which witnessed 17 deals (with $533 million being invested across 12 deals). The largest PERE investment announced during Q3’11 was Blackstone’s $200 million investment in Bangalore’s Manyata Embassy Business Park.

The residential segment (including townships) accounted for 64% of the deal volume during the latest quarter. Investments in South India-based ventures accounted for 50% of the investments during Q3 ’11.

"Who's Afraid Of Private Equity?"

Extract from an article by Haigreve Khaitan of corporate law firm Khaitan & Co. in The Economic Times.
Promoters may be able to assess investors' intentions from the manner of their treatment of anti-dilution rights that keep the investors' holding at a pre-agreed level. For example, if an investor holds 100 shares issued at Rs.100 per share, and the company makes a fresh round at Rs.50 per share, the investor with full anti-dilution protection would be entitled to a further 100 shares at no additional cost. If investors do not participate at the lower-price rights issue,it may indicate that they do not have a long-term plan with your company. Promoters could negotiate provisions where the investor loses its anti-dilution protection in such circumstances.

Private Equity investors negotiate expensive affirmative rights and minority protection,via board control rights often not fully used when the company's business and finances are positive. Understand completely overly detailed provisions that may, in effect, shift the focus from minority protection to management participation depending on certain triggers such as sustained losses. If the promoter or company proactively involve the investor in the developments of negative triggers,there could be scope for negotiation on how the investor enforces these rights. Much would depend on the commercial justification of company decisions.

Investor exits are often secured by way of an IPO without taking into account hostile market conditions.Promoters could try to negotiate some liquidity realisation through the IPO in order to ensure a guaranteed payback.Company or promoter defaults in providing the promised IPO exit could lead to investors forcing promoters to purchase their shares at a price determined in advance or later. Our regulators frown upon such structures,classifying them as borrowings. The investor may also make the promoters sell their shares for a third-party buyout.Such drag-along clauses must be considered carefully.

Venture Intelligence is the leading provider of data and analysis on private equity, venture capital and M&A deals in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.

October 04, 2011

Nexus-backed Gluster to be acquired by Red Hat for $136-M

Edited excerpts from the Press Release:

NYSE-listed Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions to the enterprise, has agreed to acquire privately held Gluster, Inc, a leading provider of scale-out, open source storage solutions for standardizing the management of unstructured data, for approximately $136 million in cash. As part of the transaction, Red Hat will also assume unvested Gluster equity outstanding on the closing date and issue certain equity retention incentives. The transaction is expected to close in October, subject to customary closing conditions.

With this acquisition, Red Hat will define a new baseline for how enterprise IT manages the explosion of big data, whether deployed on-premise or spanning into the public cloud. Red Hat is expanding into a critical part of enterprise infrastructure, enabling it to deliver open storage solutions that protect customer investments as they approach the new era of computing.

Founded in 2005, Gluster's goal was to simplify storage using open source software and commodity hardware. The heart of Gluster is GlusterFS, a software-only, scale-out storage system. It allows enterprises to combine large numbers of commodity storage and compute resources into a high-performance, centrally-managed and globally-accessible storage pool. By combining commodity economics with a scale-out approach, customers can deploy abundant storage without compromising on cost, performance and manageability. Gluster has emerged as an innovative open source leader, relied upon by companies such as Pandora, Box.net and Samsung to efficiently manage large volumes of data.

"We are extremely pleased to be joining Red Hat," said AB Periasamy, co-founder and CTO of Gluster. "We believe this is a perfect combination of technologies, strategies and cultures and is a great development for our customers, employees, investors and community. Gluster started off with a goal to be the Red Hat of storage. Now, we are the storage of Red Hat.”

The acquisition is expected to have no material impact to Red Hat’s revenue this fiscal year but should begin to grow next year based on a subscription revenue model.

From the Venture Intelligence PE Deal database:
Gluster raised $8.5 million in its second round of funding from Nexus Ventures in November 2010. It had raised its first round funding from the same VC firm in 2008.

About Nexus Venture Partners

Nexus Venture Partners (www.nexusvp.com) is India's leading venture capital fund, with offices in India and Silicon Valley. It has $320m under management and an active portfolio of over 30 companies across technology, internet, media, consumer, business services and rural sectors. The Nexus team plays an active role in helping entrepreneurs and management teams build market leading businesses. Some of the companies that Nexus has invested in include Cloud.com (acquired by Citrix), Gluster (Open source storage), Pubmatic (Publisher Ad revenue optimization), DimDim (Open Source Web Conferencing acquired by Salesforce.com), snapdeal.com (ecommerce), Mapmyindia (Digital Navigation), Netmagic (Managed Services and Cloud), Komli (Online ad network), Deccan Pharma (Neutraceuticals), Prana (Animation services), Suminter (Organic farming) and Yebhi (E-commerce). Investors in Nexus include leading university endowments, foundations and sovereign funds.

About Gluster
Gluster is a leading provider of open source storage solutions for public, private and hybrid clouds. Over 150 enterprises worldwide have used Gluster in commercial deployments ranging from a few terabytes to multiple petabytes, across the most demanding applications in digital media delivery, healthcare, internet, energy and biotech. Gluster is privately-held and headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. Visit us at www.gluster.com.