November 2007
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VC funds bet on e-learning, digital media firms in October

Indian companies received more than $74 million (Rs290.8 crore) venture capital funding in October. Deals included investments in sectors ranging between e-learning, digital media and engineering solutions outsourcing. The single largest deal was struck by online travel portal Makemytrip.com, which received $15 million in its third round of funding. The New Delhi-based portal, which plans to go for an initial public offering by 2009, received funding from the US-based hedge fund Tiger Fund, along with existing investors Helion Venture Partners, Sierra Ventures and SAIF Partners. Online education and e-learning services emerged as the flavour of the season as venture capital firms struck three deals in this space in the last month—Mumbai-based Hurix Systems Pvt. Ltd received $5.1 million from Helion Venture Partners; TutorVista.com, an online tutorials company started by serial entrepreneur K. Ganesh, received $2.5 million from Manipal Education Group; Mumbai-based e-learning services company 24×7 Learning Solutions Pvt. Ltd received $4 million from Capital18, the venture capital arm of media group Network18. All three companies have had earlier rounds of funding. Digital media was another sector popular with venture capital firms—New Delhi-based Live Media and Bangalore-based Tag Media Network, which operate in-store television networks for advertising and marketing, received funding from Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and Intel Capital, respectively. The month also saw investments in outsourcing services companies such as New Delhi-based RT Outsourcing Services Ltd by Motilal Oswal Venture Capital, Indo-US outfit Satellier Llc. by Sequoia Capital India and engineering and technology services company Neilsoft Ltd. [...]

Infinity FCS buys 25% in Brazil's Lumiere

One of India's premiere film bonding company, Infinity Film Completion Services, has acquired 25 per cent stake in Brazil's biggest film distribution company Lumiere. With this arrangement in place, Infinity FCS now becomes a 25 per cent partner in Lumiere's distribution business thereby allowing Infinity FCS to distribute all of Lumiere's films in the Indian market. According to Aanand Mahendroo, managing director, Infinity FCS, “We have ambitious plans in this line of business for the coming years and joining hands with Lumiere is the first step in this direction. We should be announcing more such deals in the coming months.” Founded by Aanand Mahendroo and Mehool Parekh, Infinity FCS is a division of Infinity India Advisors Pvt Ltd. The nature of business conducted includes giving guarantees of completion to producers and financiers of Indian and international films. The General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC)-India's state-owned re-insurer-backs Infinity's services. While Mahendroo refrained from disclosing the financial details of the deal, according to a Brazil's Variety Magazine, Infinity FCS and NYC-based investment advisory and equity participation firm SCGI Financial Partners have together invested $10 million for becoming Lumiere's shareholders. As for Infinity FCS's other investment plans are concerned, company sources indicated that it is either close to or has already acquired 25 per cent stake for an undisclosed sum in Hong Kong filmmaker Yu Lik-wai's upcoming international co-production Plastic City. An acclaimed filmmaker and Cannes award winner Yu Lik-wai is exploring something new and revolutionary in his new movie. [...]

Private equity investors to take 10% stake in ABCTL’s retail business

The VG Siddhartha-led Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading (ABCTL) is closing a $95 million (Rs 340 crore) fund-raising from Deutsche Bank and Templeton Darby International. The investment is to expand and develop ABCTL’s retail business, the key component of which is Cafe Coffee Day, the country’s largest chain with 480 cafes in India. The transaction, which has been in the making for a while, is likely to be wrapped up soon, according to sources in the company. Mr Siddhartha, who pioneered India’s coffee cafe culture, won ET’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2003. The two private equity investors together are expected to take a little over a 10% stake in ABCTL’s retail business, whose enterprise value is close to $600 million with debts included, sources say. It is believed that Deutsche Bank will invest $70 million with Templeton Darby International bringing in the remaining $25 million. [...]