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Murthy to be venture capitalist

One of India's most successful entrepreneurs is turning into a venture capitalist (VC). Infosys Technologies' co-founder and chief mentor N R Narayana Murthy, on Thursday, sold shares worth Rs 180 crore to start a venture capital firm that would fund start-ups mainly in India. The idea is to encourage young entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas. The VC will invest in start-ups operating in the areas of basic healthcare, education and nutrition.

In a reversal of roles, in deciding to become a VC, Murthy is following in the footsteps of his daughter Akshata who was until recently a VC based out of Bay Area in Silicon Valley operating in the clean tech space. Until her marriage to Rishi Sunak in August, she was a senior associate at Siderian Ventures.

Murthy on Wednesday and Thursday sold a combined eight lakh shares of Infy to raise money to fund VC firm. The number of shares owned by him in the company now stands reduced to 23.8 lakh valued at Rs 526 crore at Thursday's closing price of Rs 2,211. The Murthy family's combined holding is around 5% with his wife Sudha owning the largest chunk. Murthy's individual holding in Infy which has been less than 1% for a while now stands reduced to 0.4%.

A Infosys' communique to the stock exchanges said, ‘‘Narayana Murthy has intimated the company that the proceeds of the sale (of 8 lakh shares) will be used for a proposed venture capital firm to be set up by him in India.'' That the “fund will primarily invest in India and may on a case-to-case basis consider investing overseas.''

Murthy had told TOI a couple of months back that he and his wife intend to give financial help to people who are already doing good work in the fields they have identified rather than re-invent the wheel themselves. He had then said: “There are lots of fabulous initiatives in the field being executed by some wonderful people to address the issues that interest us. So, Sudha and I will give financial help to these people rather than do it directly.”

Source: Business Standard

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