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May 25, 2012

Can Facebook grow into its $100 Billion Valuation?

NPR has an interesting podcast on the topic which also describes various aspects of the Facebook ecosystem like marketing companies who pay Facebook users to 'like' their clients; automated fake Facebook accounts that are created to take advantage of such schemes.

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.

Logic behind Aditya Birla's acquisiton of Pantaloons

Businessworld has a quick analysis:
For the Future Group, the happy marriage means thttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifhat Rs 1,600 crore out of the Rs 5,256-crore debt will be wiped off PRIL’s balance sheet, giving Future Group chairman Kishore Biyani a breather. “This is the first of the many steps to reduce the debt of the Future Group,” says Devangshu Dutta, CEO of Third Eyesight, a retail consultancy.

But is the union good for ABN, too? ABN’s business generates $4 billion in revenue, but its lifestyle business makes only $400 million. The new entity should change that for the better. ABN’s Madura Fashion is the largest premium-branded apparel player in India, with brands such as Louis Philippe, Van Heusen, Allen Solly and Peter England as part of its stable, and retails through 1,082 exclusive brand outlets, apart from being sold in more than 1,250 departmental stores and multi-brand outlets.

ABN has a distributorship tie-up with leading brand Esprit and it retails international brands under ‘The Collective’, a luxury store. Access to PRIL’s network will double ABN’s revenues and make it the single largest chain in India. The combined revenue of rivals Shoppers Stop (50 stores) and Lifestyle (40 stores) will be about that of the new ABN/Pantaloon entity.

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.

May 23, 2012

The Business of Parking

Businessworld has an article featuring VC-backed Central Parking Services and other local and international players (like Australia's Secure Parking, Malaysia's Tenaga Parking, etc) who have entered this market.
Setting up a parking lot for around a 1,000 cars costs nearly Rs 1 crore, of which Rs 70 lakh goes towards the technology (sensors, cameras and security systems, parking software, etc.) while the rest is used to put up signage, speed breakers and ground-level offices, etc. Besides the fixed costs, the major operating expenses for these companies include staff salaries, training and maintenance.

On an average, 45 people are employed in the parking space of a 1.2 million sq. ft mall. But some malls rely more on technology and less on people. For instance, the Number One MG Road mall in Bangalore has completely auto-pay stations, and employs fewer than 20 people in the parking lot.

On the revenue side, on average, a mall charges Rs 20 per hour, which goes up to Rs 50 on weekends. So if a mall has 1,000 bays and 800 of them are occupied for eight hours every day, the parking company will earn a revenue of Rs 128,000 daily. On an average a parking company nets 9-10 per cent profit after tax. “If the mall or airport is successful, we make our money,” says Mayar of Secure Parking.

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.

May 22, 2012

Indian Private Equity at the Crossroads: A LP View

Anubha Shrivastava, Managing Director (Asia), CDC - one of the oldest investors in Indian PE/VC Funds - highlights the problems facing the industry in a Business Standard article .
The twist in the tale is that many investors have generated single-digit net returns from the India portfolio. The 2004, 2005 and 2006 vintages that should have delivered outstanding returns have, in fact, had patchy returns at best. While funds have gone on to raise their second and even third funds, investors and returns are languishing.

The root of this problem lies in the fact that the understanding between PE and the businesses was set incorrectly in 2004. PE was regarded by businesses as just another source of financing, alongside the public markets and bank debt. The PE industry did not correct this understanding. With capital rushing into PE in India and immature teams being set up to capitalise on the capital flow, a number of mistakes have been made by an immature start-up industry. These included compromising on the quality of opportunities, price-value balance, governance attitude of potential partners and evaluation of exit options.

...Against this backdrop, the General Anti-Avoidance Rule or GAAR (now deferred by a year) and the uncertainty of retrospective taxation can prove to be seriously harmful to the industry. Investors cannot and should not face regulatory uncertainty. Given the high dependence on this asset class for the supply of risk capital in the country, a slowdown would severely affect private capital formation and development of entrepreneurship.




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.

Deal Alert: Everstone Capital and Helion Venture Partners invest in Bangalore based salon chain R& R Salons (“YLG”)

From the Press Release:

Bangalore-based salon chain R&R Salons Private Limited (“YLG”) today concluded its second round of private equity funding. This round saw participation from Everstone Capital and its existing investor, Helion Venture Partners. Avendus Capital was the sole financial advisor to R&R Salons on this transaction.

R&RSalons runs the “YLG” brand of salons, with Twenty salons in Bangalore and Pune, along with its Beauty Academy, ISHA. The proceeds of this fund raise will be used towards YLG’s organic growth plans and expand into major cities across thecountry.

Mr.Sameer Sain, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Everstone Capital, said “The Beauty and Grooming services space is growing rapidly and is highly fragmented. YLG has built a strong regional brandand our goal is to make it a leading national player. A combination of a strong management team and Everstone's strong operational capability and growth capital give us the confidence that YLG can truly become the premier salon business in India.”

Mr.Rahul Bhalchandra, the promoter and CEO of R&R Salons said, “We have drawn up aggressive expansion plans whichinvolve opening up over 200 company owned salons over the next 6 years. We are delighted to partner with Everstone and believe that the business capital and high caliber of operational inputs provided by them would be a key enabler in the successful execution of our plans. Continued support from Helion reinforces its conviction in the company and in the mid-premium salon space in India”.

Mr.Kanwaljit Singh, Senior Managing Director, Helion Advisors, said “The Helion team were early believers in the salon business. The sector is attracting higher investor interest and the learning from the early years of the business can now be applied to build a truly long lasting pan Indian Beauty service brand. Helion Ventures, as an early investor,had virtually helped incubate the business from idea stage to reality, and continue to remain invested and excited about YLG’s growth prospects.”

Mr.Gaurav Deepak, Managing Director at Avendus Capital said, “The Hair and Beauty Salon Industry in India is poised to grow at over 30% per annum, driven by the rising affluence and increasing consumer awareness. We believe that YLG presents a strong platform driven by a high quality management team, uniquely positioned to become themarket leader in this space. The partnership with Everstone gives YLG a strong runway to execute its growth plans.”

About R&R Salons Private Limited
R&R Salons Private Limited is a Bangalore based company running the “YLG (You Look Great)” brand of women-only salons. Started in 2008, it currently operates nineteens alons in Bangalore and one salon in Pune, and is known for introducing its unique “Unlimited use” membership programs for its customers. It also operates an academy which offers hair and beauty training courses to students. The company is promoted by Mr. Rahul Bhalchandra. Helion Venture Partners had invested in the company in 2008.

For more information, please visit http://www.ylgindia.com

About Everstone
Everstone Capital is an India focused investor with dedicated private equity and real estate funds with assets under management of around USD 1.6 billion. Founded in 2006 by Atul Kapur and Sameer Sain,Everstone Capital now has more than 100 people working across five offices andhas invested over US$ 1 billion in India over the last 6 years. EverstoneCapital has an active operational, hands-on approach to its private equity andreal estate investment management businesses with a focus on companies thatbenefit from domestic consumption within India and several other sectors suchas energy and infrastructure services. Some of Everstone's investments includeSula, VLCC, Blue Foods, IndoStar Capital, Crystal Crop Protection,RegenPowertech and Asian Genco.

For more information, please visit www.everstonecapital.com

About Helion Venture Partners
Helionis a multi-stage, India-focused venture fund with over $600 million undermanagement. The fund invests in businesses that are technology-powered orcatering to the Indian consumer services space. The focus sectors of investmentinclude - internet, mobile, technology products, outsourcing, Healthcare,education, retail services and financial services. The fund's investors arewell-respected global institutions including top tier university endowmentfunds, sovereign funds, foundations, pension funds, family offices and Fund offunds. The fund and its portfolio companies are advised by an experienced andindustry renowned team of professionals based in India and includes SanjeevAggarwal, Ashish Gupta, Kanwaljit Singh, Rahul Chandra and R Natarajan.

For more information please visit www.helionvc.com

About Avendus Capital
Avendus Capital is a leading financial services firmwhich together with its group companies provides customised solutions in the areas of financial advisory, equity capital markets, alternative asset management and wealth management. Avendus Securities through its Institutional Equities practice is able to offer clients best-in-class research-driven adviceto help them take investment decisions, while Avendus PE Investment Advisorsmanages funds raised from its investors by investing in public markets. The Group relies on its extensive track record, in-depth domain understanding and knowledge of the economic and regulatory environment, to offer research based solutions to its clients that include institutional investors, corporates and high net worth families. Avendus Capital has consistently been ranked among the top-five corporate finance advisors in India and has emerged as the advisor of choice for cross-border M&A deals and has closed 40 cross-border transactions in the past 4 years. Headquartered in Mumbai, the firm has offices in New Delhi and Bangalore. Avendus Capital, Inc (US) and Avendus Capital (UK)Pvt. Ltd. located in New York and London, respectively, are wholly owned subsidiaries offering M&A and Private Equity syndication services to clients in the respective regions.
For more information, please visit www.avendus.com

May 21, 2012

Profile of Hatsun Agro Founder

The Hindu has a profile of R.G. Chandramogan, founder of Chennai-based Hatsun Agro Products, best known for it Arun Icecream (launched in the 1970s) and Arokya Milk (1980s) brands.
While frozen dessert lovers were lapping up whatever came from the stables of Arun, Chandramogan busied himself with another venture — the dairy business. In 1995 he started Arokya milk. “We were procuring milk for our ice creams and so this idea came about. Today Arokya sees an annual turnover of Rs.1,300 crores. We also manufacture butter, milk powder, ghee and curd. We are associated with 3,50,000 farmers and buy milk from 8,000 villages. We operate from nine different factories and our people travel 4,20,000 km to collect and distribute milk,” he adds. Hatsun dairy products are available across the country. Hatsun has its dairy plants in Kanchipuram, Palacode, Salem, Madurai, Belgaum, Honnali.

...Hatsun produces 18 lakh to 20 lakh litres of milk per day. Twelve lakh litres are used up for milk and milk products. Sixty thousand litres are used for ice cream. The remaining is used for ghee and skimmed milk.

...In 2012, Hatsun started yet another ice cream brand, Ibaco. This is the posh cousin of Arun ice cream and is based on the ice cream-by-scoop model. “Arun is a factory finished product and comes in cones, cups and sticks. As for Ibaco, it's the scoop variety. You walk into an Ibaco parlour, choose the flavour and get it dressed with toppings. As of now Ibaco is available in Chennai, Bengaluru and Delhi. By next year I'll be taking it to Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata,” says Chandramogan.

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.

Deal Alert: TaxiForSure raises venture capital from Accel, Helion

From the Press Release:

Serendipity Infolabs Pvt. Ltd., which runs the online taxi booking site TaxiForSure.com, has raised venture capital funding from Accel Partners, Helion Venture Partners and Blume Ventures. As part of the transaction Anand Daniel of Accel and Ritesh Banglani of Helion have joined the board of the company.

TaxiForSure.com was founded by IIM Ahmedabad graduates Raghunandan G and Aprameya Radhakrishna in June 2011. As frequent business travelers, both co-founders used to find it extremely difficult to book taxis, and even after booking there was no guarantee the cabs would arrive at the right time and place. Co-founder Aprameya Radhakrishna said, “On researching the market we found that on the one hand consumers struggle to find taxis reliably, and on the other taxi operators and drivers struggle to get enough customers every day. We realized that technology can play an effective matchmaker in this market”.

Anand Daniel of Accel Partners said, "As a consumer I have often faced the frustration of not finding a taxi when I needed it the most. TaxiForSure is a refreshingly better experience as one is assured of getting a taxi at the click of a mouse. And when our team met Aprameya and Raghu, their passion and energy to solve this big consumer need was clearly visible and convinced us to partner with them.”

Ritesh Banglani of Helion Advisors said "Our previous investments in Makemytrip and Redbus have shown us the tremendous potential of the online travel industry. We are excited to back TaxiForSure because they are tackling the next frontier in online travel by organizing a highly fragmented industry. The use of technology in this industry will benefit both consumers and taxi operators".
The service is currently operational in Bangalore and will be available in Delhi and Mumbai very soon.

About TaxiForSure

TaxiForSure.com is an aggregator of car rentals and taxis in India. They work with various taxi operators and enable them with technology to ensure that customers get an easily accessible, safe, reliable taxi ride ‘for sure’.
The company was founded by two IIM Ahmedabad graduates Raghunandan G and Aprameya Radhakrishna. They started operations in June 2011 and have since enabled bookings in Bangalore predominantly. Expansion plans are on the cards and would be servicing all major cities in the near future.
Customers can book local point to point, local packages, outstation and airport transfer taxis, across various car types, by logging on to www.taxiforsure.com or by calling 080 6060 1010.

For more information, visit www.taxiforsure.com

About Accel
Founded in 1983, Accel Partners has a long history of partnering with outstanding entrepreneurs and management teams to build world-class businesses. Accel today invests globally using dedicated teams and market-specific strategies for local geographies, with offices in Palo Alto, California, New York City, London and Bangalore, as well as in China via its partnership with IDG-Accel.
Accel has helped entrepreneurs build over 300 successful companies, many of which have defined their categories, including 99designs, Actuate, AdMob, Agile Software, Alfresco, Angry Birds (Rovio), Atlassian, BBN, Bonobos, Braintree,Brightcove, Cloudera, ComScore, Diapers.com (Quidsi), Dropbox, Etsy, Facebook,Fusion-IO, Gameforge, GlamMedia, Groupon, Imperva, Infinera, Interwoven, IronPlanet, JBoss, Kayak, Lookout, Macromedia, metroPCS, MoPub, OPOWER, Polycom/PictureTel, Playfish, Portal Software, QlikTech,Rapt, Real Networks, Redback, Responsys, Riverbed, Spotify, Squarespace, SunRun, Trulia, UUNet,Veritas, Walmart.com, Webroot, Wonga, XenSource and Zimbra. In India, Accel hasmade investments in companies such as Babyoye, enStage, Exclusively.in,Flipkart, Healthcare Magic, Kaatizone, Letsbuy, Myntra, MuSigma, Perfint,Virident, QwikCilver, Deeksha, FreshDesk, Zansaar.com and Vinculum.
For more information, please visit the Accel Partners web site at www.accel.com find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/accel.

About Helion

Helion is a multi-stage, India-focused venture fund with over $600 million under management. The fund invests in businesses that are technology-powered or catering to the Indian consumer services space. The focus sectors of investment include - internet, mobile, technology products,outsourcing, Healthcare, education, retail services and financial services. The fund's investors are well-respected global institutions including top tier university endowment funds, sovereign funds, foundations, pension funds, family offices and Fund of funds. The fund and its portfolio companies are advised by an experienced and industry renowned team of professionals based in India and includes Sanjeev Aggarwal, Ashish Gupta, Kanwaljit Singh, Rahul Chandra and R Natarajan.
For more information visit www.helionvc.com

May 19, 2012

Deal Alert: Lok Capital and Acumen invest Rs. 7 Crore in Hippocampus Learning Centres

From the Press Release:

LokCapital, one of the largest dedicated funds in India for businesses focused onserving the lower income and base of the pyramid (BOP) customer segments and Acumen Fund, a pioneering nonprofit global venture firm addressing poverty in South Asia, East and West Africa, today announce Rs. 7 crore investment in Hippocampus Learning Centres (HLC), a for-profit rural education service provider in India. This is Lok Capital’s and Acumen’s first investment in Education and marks the launch of their respective education portfolios. Based in Karnataka, India, HLC provides affordable, quality education by employing and training local female teachers who coach students between the ages of 3-12 in both pre-school and primary instruction.

Education has traditionally been a public sector service but public education systems globally have struggled to meet the learning needs of low-income populations. In a rapidly developing economy like India, more than 50% of children between the ages of 15 and 19 are currently unemployed or out of school. Those that go to school receive low-quality instruction that often focuses more on rote memorization than on real learning.Rural India faces the greatest challenges –more than half of rural 5th standard students cannot read a 2nd standard level text and only 28%can do a basic division problem.

“The private sector has a critical role to play in creating education innovations that serve the poor. These customers are increasingly demonstrating their willingness to pay for quality solutions and demand accountability for them,” said Ankur Shah, Interim India Director at Acumen Fund “That is precisely what we want to promote. We believe the public sector in turn must play a role in enabling these solutions to scale and see many opportunities to partner with governments.”

HLC’s goal is to create positive and tangible learning outcomes for children in rural India, using its in-house curriculum which allows children of various age groups to learn at their own pace. This curriculum is designed by veteran educationists. The learning and pedagogy at HLC is creative, facilitative (not chalk-and-talk), non-threatening and enjoyable, which is a clear contrast to the largely common rote learning approach. HLC not only aims to address the learning crisis for children in rural India but also unlock potential for local women by creating attractive employment opportunities. Currently HLC’s pilot in 39 villages has generated significant lessons learned with 50 teachers and 700 students across two districts in rural Karnataka. With this investment, the company plans to focus on delivering learning outcomes to over 7,000 students through 300 teachers in 100 villages serving in the next two academic years.

HLC’s founder and CEO, Umesh Malhotra has extensive education and entrepreneurial experience in India as the founder of Hippocampus Reading Foundation, a network of over 250 libraries, and as co-founder of Bangalore Labs, India’s first IT infrastructure management firm. “Our emphasis must be on building strong delivery systems rather than just products,” Malhotra said. “HLC has a tremendous opportunity to provide quality education to a massive group of young children – forever changing their future. HLC’s pedagogy, ability to impart learning through centers, teacher training processes, center administration and focus on learning outcomes will ensure robust instructional delivery at scale.”

Announcing the funding, Mr. Ganesh Rengaswamy, Partner, Lok Capital said “We are excited to partner with Hippocampus Learning Centres as our maiden investment in the affordable education space. Education is a crucial game changer in addressing social and economic inequalities of present and future. Private investments in sound and replicable business models like HLC and joint PPP initiatives with government in school management are pivotal in addressing the primary education imperative.’

Going forward, Lok Capital and Acumen Fund will continue to partner with more entrepreneurs working in the sector focused on improving the quality of education, at an affordable price, with a clear focus on customers at the lower income or base of pyramid segments in rural and urban India.

About Hippocampus Learning Centres
The goal of Hippocampus Learning Centres (HLC) is to offer high quality education services to children in the villages of our nation. We establish education centres which offer both Kindergarten and After School programs. The after-school programs teach English, Math and Kannada. Each of our centres boasts of a library and a LEGO kit and conducts activities on art,craft and science to give these children a well rounded education. Our goal isto ensure that these children stay ahead of their class requirement and get an equal opportunity to participate in the progress of the nation. We employ women from the local community as teachers. They are then trained and provided continuous support. Within 2 years of its establishment, Hippocampus is working in 90 villages, employs 300 people and reaches out to 5,000 children. For more information contact Umesh Malhotra on umesh@hippocampus.in

About Acumen Fund
Acumen Fund is working to create a world beyond poverty by investing in social enterprises, emerging leaders and breakthrough ideas. We invest patient capital in business models that deliver critical goods and services to the world’s poor, improving the lives of millions. Since 2001, Acumen Fund has globally invested more than $75 million in 69 enterprises across South Asia, East and West Africa. And we are building a global community of emerging leaders that believe in creating a more inclusive world through the tools of both business and philanthropy. In India, we have approved and invested over $30 million in 24 enterprises that have provided over 10 million low-income individuals access to water, health, energy, and agricultural services.
With anchor philanthropic commitments from the AfJochnick Foundation, the World We Want, Giving Wings, and Motwani Foundation,Acumen Fund has launched a dedicated Education Portfolio that will support private sector innovations that increase access to low-cost, high-quality learning and employability services for the poor. With this first investment in place and a pipeline of additional investments in development, Acumen Fund’s Education Portfolio is positioned to grow quickly in support of Acumen Fund’s global goal of impacting the lives of 150million people by 2015. For more information on Acumen Fund’s activities and investments, visit www.acumenfund.org.

For additional information on Acumen Fund’s Education Portfolio and its investment in Hippocampus Learning Centres, please contact Molly Alexander at malexander@acumenfund.org(India)or Elizabeth Patella at epatella@acumenfund.org(Global)

About Lok Capital
Lok Capital is one of the most active venture capital funds investing in high potential financial inclusion and broader inclusion enterprises (Education,Healthcare, Livelihoods), serving the lower income and bottom of pyramid (BOP)segment. Lok Capital has under management currently, two funds with ac orpus of almost $90 million. Lok Capital aims at impact investing; to promote inclusive growth by supporting the development of social enterprises to deliver basic services to serve the BOP segment in a scalable, affordable and commercially viable manner. Lok seeks to partner with visionary entrepreneurs to help take these social enterprises to new levels of sustainability, scalability and professionalism and thus multiply the ‘impact’ on the BOP segment.

Lok Capital was founded by Rajiv B. Lall in the year 2000 with a seed grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. Other co-founders include Donald Peck and Vishal Mehta. The Lok portfolio includes the likes of Ujjivan, Basix, Janalakshmi, Asirwad, and RuralShores, among others. For more information on Lok Capital’s Funds and activities, visit http://www.lokcapital.com

May 16, 2012

The promise of "in app" advertising

Businessworld has an article explaining how and why there's an ad for SBI in the free version of Angry Birds that you download on your tablet/mobile.
In a country obsessed with mobile devices, cool new apps on smartphones or tablets are often part of watercooler conversations. This viral growth of apps is creating an ecosystem for a new genre of mobile app advertising. Apps such as Angry Birds — which has registered over 7 million mobile downloads in India across platforms such as Android, iOS and BlackBerry — are creating captive audiences for brands.

...Sponsored advertisements allow interactivity that advertisers hope will lead to engagement and brand building. The advertisement rates depend on the number of downloads, time spent on the game, among other things...The usual revenue split is that for every Rs 100 earned through in-app advertising, Rs 30 goes to the app store, and of the remaining Rs 70, 60 per cent or Rs 42 goes to the publisher and the rest goes to the advertising network.

...A well-organised online advertising market has helped create a readymade playground for app-based advertising. Similar to the online advertisement market, advertising agencies buy inventory on behalf of their clients from advertisement networks who, in turn, buy inventory from advertisement enablers who aggregate it (media space) from the publishers. In effect, advertisement networks and advertisement enablers play the role of intermediaries bridging the gap between the brand advertisers and the publishers. The medium is also supported by analysis providers who collect location and demographic-based information of the users to help advertisers identify relevant apps.


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.

May 11, 2012

Deal Alert: Acumen Fund invests Rs.9-Cr in agri services firm Basix Krishi

Acumen Fund, a pioneering nonprofit global venture firm addressing poverty in South Asia and across Africa, today announced an equity investment of INR 9 crores (~$2M) in BASIX Krishi Samruddhi Limited (BASIX Krishi).

BASIX Krishi delivers productivity enhancing extension services—such as soil testing, seed treatment, vermicomposting, pest management and good harvesting practices for crop farmers; and livestock vaccination, para-vet services, fodder demonstration and milk market linkages for dairy farmers. The company provides this service to its customers through a network of trained Livelihood Service Providers who visit each customer at least twice per month. Incorporated as a public limited company in April 2010, BASIX Krishi is part of the BASIX Social Enterprise Group promoted by Vijay Mahajan, an accomplished social entrepreneur who is considered a pioneer in the areas of financial inclusion and rural livelihood promotion.

“The BASIX Krishi model can increase smallholder farmer incomes by an estimated 30% through a combination of improved productivity and reduced input costs,” said Siddharth Tata, Acumen Fund’s Agriculture Portfolio Manager. “In addition to helping improve farmer livelihoods, this investment allows us to build on our knowledge base in the agri-inputs sector, providing valuable insights into how smallholder farmers make decisions on improving their farm productivity.”

Of the more than 100 million farms operating in India, nearly 85% are managed by smallholder farmers with less than two hectares of land. Most of these farmers have no access to quality extension services, making it very hard to access simple tools and engage in practices that help improve farm productivity.

“Acumen Fund’s investment will help us scale BASIX Krishi’s activities to 67 branches serving nearly 350,000 farmer customers over the next two years,” said Arijit Dutta, CEO, BASIX Krishi. “Through our model, farmers receive personal visits from trained extension workers who support their productivity needs and provide on-call assistance for any questions or emergencies. Eventually, we envision a world in which all smallholder farmers have access to agricultural extension services that empower them to improve their own lives.”

For additional information on Acumen Fund India and its investment in Basix Krishi or in the Agriculture sector, please visit www.acumenfund.org or contact Molly Alexander at malexander@acumenfund.org

About Acumen Fund
Acumen Fund is working to create a world beyond poverty by investing in social enterprises, emerging leaders and breakthrough ideas. We invest patient capital in business models that deliver critical goods and services to the world’s poor, improving the lives of millions. Since 2001, Acumen Fund has globally invested more than $75 million in 65 companies. In India, we have approved and invested over $30 million in 24 enterprises that have provided over 10 million low-income individuals access to water, health, energy, and agricultural services. We are also working to build a global community of emerging leaders that believe in creating a more inclusive world through the tools of both business and philanthropy. Please visit www.acumenfund.org for more information.

About BASIX Krishi
BASIX Krishi Samruddhi Ltd (Basix Krishi) is a BASIX Group company, and was incorporated in April 2010. Basix Krishi trains and employs a network of Livelihood Service Providers (LSPs) who provide services that enhance farmers’ productivity and reduce the cost of cultivation, thereby increasing farmers’ overall income. The services cover a wide range- vaccination, de-worming, fodder management for livestock and soil testing, vermicomposting, pest management for crops.

The Economic Version of the Ant and Grasshopper

Arjun Parthasarathy has this interesting take on this ancient fable (ironically by Greek author Aesop) via blog post at InvestorsAreIdiots.com
The European nations who have been playing while the world was working are struggling to come to terms with the issues facing them. The normal way of life with state support, low number of working hours, extended summer holidays and assured jobs is a thing of the past and the normal European is having tough time adjusting to the new environment. Jobs are scarce, government is bankrupt and people find they have to work hard for their money. It is no wonder that the Greeks and the French are rejecting austerity and it is most likely to spread to Spain, Italy and Portugal as well. However, rejecting austerity will not help the Europeans in any way and it is a long hard grind to come back to normalcy.

...India is also a part of the ant and the grasshopper story. In India the ant is the people who work hard and save money for the future. The government on the other hand is the grasshopper that lives off the savings of the hard working Indian. The government spends money when the sun is shining, read when the economy was booming and taxes were growing at a fast clip in the mid 2000’s. The government also spends money in the winter by taking away the savings of the people read fiscal stimulus post 2008 crisis. The government never learnt to save money and the people are paying the price for it.

The average Indian saver is seeing his hard work go down the drain in the form of inflation and depreciation in value of financial assets from bonds to equities. The government by merrily spending its way into and out of trouble has made sure that the hard working Indian is suffering for the sins of hard work. Inflation touched double digit levels while equities values are down while interest rates are up leaving the saver a hugely disillusioned person...The Rupee is facing the consequences of a spendthrift government and has lost over 20% in value over the last one year. Unless macro economic policies benefit the Rupee, it is unlikely that the Rupee will regain some of its luster.
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.

May 05, 2012

Rahul Bhasin on GAAR

The proposed General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) in the Indian budget are a short-sighted move that will impact foreign capital flows - including private equity - into the country, says Rahul Bhasin of Baring Private Equity Partners India, in an interview to The Mint.
I think what we seem to have created for ourselves in an environment where this global growth is slowing and where we’ve had an opportunity to stand out as the beacon of light in terms of growth and opportunity, I think that we have conspired against ourselves and have lost what could have been our moment in the sun.

...More importantly, from a practical perspective one should look at what the consequences of something like this would be over the next 10 years or so. We are a country running a huge current account deficit, we need to finance it. You need to make sure that you have capital flows in place so that there is no amount of sudden discontinuity in that process because that could prove very expensive.

...I think that the world is in a vulnerable position; it’s the wrong timing to be doing anything knee-jerk. More importantly, we need $2 trillion for our infrastructure spend over the next 7-8 years, a lot of that will have to be foreign capital. It’s very simple, when someone says I will invest in infrastructure over 25 years, but if I run the real risk that the government might renegotiate the contract with me with retrospective basis five years or 10 years later, I might end up with a low return than I bargained for, then upfront I am going to seek maybe 200 or 300 basis points more. Now 300 basis points on $2 trillion is $60 billion a year and $60 billion over 20 years is a lot of money. If you just do the trade off between earning a little bit of tax upfront because of a particular deal or transaction and incurring a significantly higher cost of capital over all you need, I think the mathematics is very clear in my mind.


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.

May 03, 2012

Deal Alert: RVCF acquires 11% in cardiac care hospital Frontier Lifeline

From the Press Release:

Jaipur-based Rajasthan Venture Capital Fund (RVCF) has acquired 11% equity stake in Chennai based cardiac care hospital Frontier Lifeline Private Limited for an undisclosed amount. RVCF invested in the company through its Rs 200 Cr SME Tech Fund which invest pan India in IT, education, , healthcare, agro products, auto components and other growth sectors. Girish Gupta, CEO of RVCF will joining the board of the company.

Established in 2003, the company is primarily engaged into running cardiac specialty hospitals at various locations including Chennai, Parumala (Kerala), Thrivalla (Kerala). The company is implementing its Contract research, Tissue engineering and Educational initiatives through its integrated healthcare park “Frontier Mediville” located around 45 kms from Chenna in 106 acres. The company is promoted by Padmashree Dr. KM Cherian who is considered to be the pioneer in pediatric cardiac surgery in India, and has held prestigious positions in India and abroad. Dr. Cherian has performed more than 36,000 operations and has been bestowed upon various awards and recognitions.

“Healthcare industry is growing at 15% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) and is expected to reach the market value of USD 280 billion by 2022. Private healthcare accounts for nearly 80% of the country‘s total healthcare expenditure, even though it is more expensive than public healthcare services. Frontier Lifeline through its promoter and experienced team is set to leverage this burgeoning demand in India and outside,” said Girish Gupta, CEO of RVCF.

May 02, 2012

Deal Alert: NYLIM Jacob Ballas invests Rs 200-Cr in Karaikal Port

From the Press Release:
Karaikal Port Private Limited, a subsidiary of Chennai headquartered MARG Limited, one among India’s fastest growing infrastructure companies, today announced that NYLIM Jacob Ballas India (FVCI) III LLC (“NYLIM-JB Fund”) has invested Rs. 200 crores (by way of primary and secondary investments) in MARG Karaikal Port for a minority stake. The funds will be used for the MARG Karaikal Port expansion plans which will enhance the port’s capacity from the already planned expansion of 21 MMTPA to 28 MMTPA. 

MARG Karaikal Port, a premier, hi-tech, all weather port on the South East coast of India is notably the only all weather, deep water, multi-commodity port between Chennai port and Tuticorin port and is strategically located in the middle of this 680 km coastline, which makes it the new gateway to the state of Tamil Nadu. Its combination of strategic location, state-of-the-art equipment and world-class infrastructure makes it the port of choice for industries and businesses located in and around Central Tamil Nadu and beyond.

Commenting on the investment, GRK Reddy, Chairman and Managing Director, MARG Limited said, “MARG Karaikal Port is fast emerging as one of the finest ports on the South East Coast of India. The investment from NYLIM-JB Fund into MARG Karaikal Port comes in at an opportune time. Karaikal Port had already attracted private equity investments by India Infrastructure Fund and Ascent Capital Advisors in the past. With the present investment by NYLIM-JB Fund, MARG Karaikal Port has three institutional investors adding value by their infrastructure exposure & expertise to augment and fuel the ambitious growth plans of Karaikal Port.

MLN Acharyulu, Executive Director-Karaikal Port, further addedMARG Karaikal Port posted an impressive performance and it has consolidated its position as the new Maritime Gateway to Central Tamil Nadu. Capacity to handle large vessels and diverse cargo, single window clearance, E2E logistics, state-of-the-art equipment, competitive tariffs and an ideal location are the hallmarks of MARG Karaikal Port.

Sunil Chawla, Partner, Jacob Ballas Capital India Pvt Ltd (“JBC”), investment advisor to the investment manager of NYLIM-JB Fund, said “Karaikal Port, with its strategic location and excellent connectivity, is well positioned to cater to the agricultural and industrial belts of central Tamil Nadu. The need for incremental, efficient port infrastructure in the country is well known, given increasing volumes and the relatively high turnaround time at some of our ports. Against that backdrop, we see Karaikal Port emerging as a port of choice on the southeastern coast of India, with efficient operations backed by world class infrastructure. NYLIM-JB Fund is delighted to partner with MARG in this exciting venture and looks forward to being a part of the Company's continuing success."

Sunil Chawla will be joining the Board of Directors of KPPL.

About MARG Karaikal Port:
MARG Karaikal Port is a premier, deepwater, all weather port on the South East coast of India. The Port has a sizable hinterland because of its strategic location. Awarded on BOT basis by the Government of Puducherry in 2006, MARG Karaikal Port when fully developed is envisaged to have a total of 9 berths capable of handling up to 47 MMTPA. The Port is to be developed over 3 phases with the final phase getting operational by 2017. MARG Karaikal Port has shown its versatility by handling different types of cargo like coal, fertilizer, cement, raw sugar, project cargo, gypsum, containers, steel pipes, scrap, bagged sugar, construction material etc.

The Port’s cargo handling capacity and capabilities increased significantly during the past 12 months as 2 new deep draft berths were operationalized, taking the total number of berths available at the Port to 5 at present. The Port has deployed dedicated infrastructure to handle containers and liquid cargo and expanded the existing facilities catering to dry bulk cargo.

MARG Karaikal Port has transformed the field of marine architecture by Master Planning, Engineering, Design, on and off shore construction, project management and value engineering. It is committed to continuously invest in high quality infrastructure to meet the future maritime trade needs of the region. Higher discharge rates, no pre-berthing delays, faster turnaround times and savings in the integrated logistics costs vis-à-vis competing ports, has helped in attracting almost all major customers in the Central Tamil Nadu / Puducherry region.

MARG Karaikal Port’s operational processes and practices are on par with the best in the industry and the Port has managed to bag ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certifications in a record time, demonstrating the maturity and quality of operational processes followed at the Port.

More information on MARG Karaikal Port is available on http://www.karaikalport.com

About MARG:

MARG Limited (BSE: 530543), incorporated in 1994 and headquartered in Chennai, is an infrastructure, real estate development and services company. The Company is listed on BSE and MSE and its shares are traded on the NSE under the category of ‘Permitted Security’. The holistic regional development undertaken by the group is unlocking economic prosperity and creating inclusive & sustainable growth models.

With nearly two decades of reassuring presence and the credit of pioneering the development of economic growth centers, MARG's portfolio spans across the entire infrastructure value chain - urban and industrial infrastructure, urban residential clusters, marine infrastructure & services, malls and EPC division. Listed by Dun & Bradstreet among “India’s Top 500 Companies 2010”, today MARG Group has nationally prestigious projects worth more than Rs. 3,000 crores under execution including the building of marine and cooling structures for the Bhavnagar Electricity Corporation, a seasoned human capital of more than 1,100, global partners in the infra space and offices spread across India, Singapore and China. The MARG CSR brand – MARG Parivarthan complements these business verticals.

More information on MARG is available on http://www.marggroup.com

About NYLIM Jacob Ballas India Fund III, LLC

NYLIM Jacob Ballas India Fund III LLC is a private equity fund with an investment objective of achieving long-term capital appreciation through equity or equity-related investments into companies based in or with significant operations in India. NYLIM-JB Fund and its predecessor Funds have so far invested in 25 companies in a diverse range of sectors including telecom, ports, power, engineering construction, shipbuilding, auto components, IT consulting, general manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, financial services etc. Some of the earlier investments by the Funds include Bharti Airtel, Gujarat Pipavav Port, Punj Lloyd, ABG Shipyard, Reliance Infrastructure, Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering Co., Commercial Engineers & Body Builders Co. (CEBBCO), Bhilwara Energy, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts, Financial Software and Systems, SEW Infrastructure, PNC Infratech, Vivimed Labs, Religare Finvest and DBM Geotechnics and Constructions.

About Jacob Ballas Capital India Pvt Ltd
Jacob Ballas Capital India Pvt. Ltd (“JBC”), based in New Delhi, is the investment advisor to the investment manager(s) of three India focused private equity funds, New York Life International India Fund (Mauritius), LLC, New York Life Investment Management India Fund II, LLC and NYLIM Jacob Ballas India Fund III, LLC.  JBC’s ten member investment team has over 150 years of collective operating and investing experience, with over 50 years focused on private equity investments in India.

JBC was founded by Rajan Jetley, Chairman, who is a well known professional and entrepreneur. Mr. Jetley has previously served as CEO of Air India and India Tourism Development Corporation, and as Director of International Airports Authority of India. JBC’s shareholders, apart from Mr. Jetley, include (i) NYLCAP Holdings (Mauritius) which is wholly owned by New York Life Investment Management Holdings LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of New York Life Insurance Company, (ii) Excelfin Pte Ltd, Singapore, promoted by Mr B S Ong and Mr David Ban, reputed Asian entrepreneurs and (iii) the JBC senior management team, which includes Srinivas Chidambaram, Sunil Chawla, Bharat Bakhshi and Anurag Kumar.

For more information on NYLIM Jacob Ballas India Fund III, LLC and Jacob Ballas, please visit www.jbindia.co.in.