Sources said SoftBank, which made a fortune on its investment in China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, looks to set up a five-member team for India.
It would include a country head, besides executives at director and associate levels. "They are meeting people and are expected to finalise the recruitment by February," said a person familiar with SoftBank’s plans.
SoftBank has emerged as one of the largest investors in Indian Internet, deploying nearly $1 billion in companies including online etailer Snapdeal, online cab aggregator Olacabs and realty classifieds firm Housing over the past four months. SoftBank’s presence will add a late-stage investor to the Indian market, where local venture capital firms are focused on early to mid-stage deals of up to $20-25 million.
"Now we will have a serious investor writing large growth-capitalround cheques sitting out of India, where there were no obvious players in that market," said a venture capital investor familiar with the plans. It is not clear if the move to set up a team will mean that Soft-Bank will also go after smaller deals, starting at $10-20 million. Besides deciding on new investments, the team will also manage SoftBank’s growing India portfolio which also includes mobile advertising firm InMobi.
ASoftBank spokesperson didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. Cash-rich SoftBank, headed by Japan’s wealthiest businessman Masayoshi Son, said last year that it would like to invest about $10 billion in India in the coming years.
The firm’s stake in Alibaba is estimated to be worth more than $80 billion, on an investment of $85 million made in 2000.
Tiger Global, one of the early backers of the India Internet story and an investor in companies like MakeMyTrip and Just Dial, is looking to further increase its pace of deals. The firm, which according to market sources has invested over $1.3 billion in Indian ventures, is looking to further replicate the success of its early bets like Flipkart and Ola. The move by Tiger Global comes after it said it is raising a new $2.5 billion global fund for venture capital investments, according to filings with US regulators.
"They will be making more trips to India and Kalyan is back to his full-time job from Flipkart; there will be a renewed thrust," said the founder of an early-stage venture capital firm, referring to managing director Kalyan Krishnamurthy who moved back to his role at the fund after a stint as chief financial officer at India’s largest e-tailer.
While one source said Krishnamurthy is expected to stay in Bengaluru to step up deals, it could not be independently confirmed. Tiger Global has also been in talks with early-stage VC firms to look at coinvestments. A Tiger Global spokesperson declined to comment for this article.
"For Tiger Global, things have been working till now with the investments being done through New York while their operations team is based in Singapore," said another Mumbai-based venture capital investor.
"But since they have over a dozen portfolio companies, it makes sense to be in India."
Read More News on
5 Comments on this Story
Anju Anand2213 days ago
Japan's SoftBank Corp and New York-based Tiger Global Management â two of the largest investors in the nation's Internet sector â are looking to increase their presence here and will hire or move overseas executives to lead operations in India.
George Zachariah2215 days ago
Why Vijay Mallaya is waiting?
Anurag Autodidact2218 days ago
a dangerous yet necessary game is about to begin !!!!