March 2008
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Norwest Venture Partners plans $1 b kitty

One of the oldest global venture funds — and one with a sharp focus on what India can offer — is almost two thirds of the way through its last funding cycle which had $650 million in the kitty two years ago. Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) is already planning to assemble its next war chest which, Managing Partner Pramod Haque indicated, might be deployed in 2009 and could well be around $1 billion. Speaking to the media on Thursday, even as NVP opens its second India office here (the first is based in Mumbai), Mr. Haque said the focus would increasingly be on harnessing and leveraging the reservoir of product and process innovation — much of it Internet driven — that is available in India. An indication of which sector might seem like sunrise for NVP was the recent appointment of former Motorola Vice-President Mohan Kumar as India-based Executive Director. [...]

Lok Capital raises $ 22 m for micro funding

Lok Capital LLC, a Mauritius-based venture capital fund, has raised USD 22 million from institutional investors to fund micro-finance institutions in India. “Lok Capital raised its first round of funds from institutional investors including CDC, FMO, KfW, and IFC. The funds will be utilised to finance micro-finance institutions engaged in rural and urban lending,” Lok Advisory Services Managing Director Vishal Mehta said. He said with a fully functional local venture team in place, the Fund was confident of delivering support to larger number of MFIs and contribute to the overall growth of the sector. The increased capital base will enable the venture fund to reach out to a few more MFIs than what it originally envisaged, he said. [...]

CalPERS widens India investments

In India, CalPERS made new investments of over $75 million (Rs 300 crore) in 100 new stocks, as per its annual report for the year ended June 2007. Companies belonging to oil/refineries (26.4 per cent), IT (20 per cent), logistics (14.2 per cent), banks/financial institutions (6.5 per cent) and infrastructure (5.5 per cent) accounting for the lion’s share of the fresh capital. Though the annual report does not show any investments in real estate companies, the fund’s spokesperson clarified that they have allocated $100 million to IL&FS Investment Managers for the India Realty Fund and $50 million to Sun Apollo for the India Real Estate Fund. The fund’s latest India portfolio shows that CalPERS’ top five sectors were oil/refineries, banks/financial institutions, IT, cement and telecom. [...]

Mahindra & Mahindra to set up $50 mn VC fund

Mahindra & Mahindra is setting up a venture capital fund with an initial corpus of $50 million (Rs 2 billion). The fund, which will be held by a trust, is going to invest in the group's film and media initiatives. “The name of the media company is not yet firmed up. But it is the VC fund which will invest into the media business,” says a source in the company. Though the company will kick off with the film production business, it also plans to get into the television, internet and mobile space. “We are also considering the broadcasting business,” the source says. The peak funding requirement for the movie business would be $75 million (Rs 3 billion), the source adds. The plan is to produce 2-4 films in the first year of operations. [...]

Pvt equity funds eye stake in IPL franchisees

Several PE (private equity) funds are eyeing the Indian cricket board’s lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) for a stake in the franchisees. Sources close to some of the franchisees, which include Reliance Industries, India Cements and United Spirits, told Business Line that funds such as ICICI Ventures and Kotak Private Equity Group are reportedly in talks with some of them. Sources in ICICI Ventures said there is a possibility the company is involved in talks with Reliance Industries, which has bought the rights for the Mumbai team for Rs 441 crore. An official with Ceat Tyres, which brings out annual cricket ratings, said the company is on a ‘wait and watch’ mode before deciding on investing in the IPL. An official with Kotak Private Equity Group, however, denied any such move. [...]