In early 2012, Summit Partners expanded its international presence with the launching of a new office in Mumbai, India. Amit Chaturvedy, Director-India, is managing the office. Below, he shares his thoughts about the appeal of India, why Summit’s investment style works across geographies and cultures, and how Summit plans to approach the Indian market.
Q: Why did Summit Partners decide to open an India office as its next outpost?
The opening of the Mumbai office is a natural step in the global growth of Summit Partners. Over the years, we’ve backed a number of successful Indian entrepreneurs in North America, and many of our portfolio companies have a major presence in India. In 2008, our size and scale allowed us to recruit an India advisory team. Being on the ground in India has enabled us to react faster to investment opportunities and deliver more value to our Indian, North American and European portfolio companies.
Q: How are you staffing the Mumbai office?
I manage the Mumbai office with the support of Gaurav Prakash and Miloni Shah. Scott Collins heads our International Equity practice, and Bruce Evans co-heads our North America Growth Equity practice. Our team includes investors and former operators from India, North America and Europe with a global network of intermediaries, entrepreneurs and industry contacts. This helps us to promote business development domestically and internationally; identify and execute acquisitions, IPOs and strategic sales; and recruit board members and management teams.
Q: What is your strategy in the Indian market?
Summit Partners looks to back high-growth businesses that are generating cash from their operations and that have a strong management team in place. We’re comfortable providing capital for business expansion or creating liquidity for existing shareholders. Some high-potential businesses in India that raised funding from early-stage investors or angel networks are now on our radar screen because they have continued to scale up and become profitable.
Q: Do you target a specific type of Indian entrepreneur?
We seek world-class entrepreneurs who want to dominate their industry. They could be first-time or third-generation entrepreneurs located in smaller cities such as Ludhiana and Cochin or in metropolitan areas such as Mumbai and Delhi; they could be educated in the United States or the United Kingdom, or totally home-grown. Ultimately, our goal is to work with the best.
Q: What is your investment focus?
Our primary focus is on growth equity investments from INR50 crores ($10 million) to more than INR500 crores ($100 million) per company. We’re finding rapidly growing companies in software, communication technology, internet and media, healthcare, consumer, financial services and education. Most of these enterprises can attribute their success to consumer demand for products and services in India.
Q: What are your short-term and long-range plans for the India office?
First, we’re focused on adding high-performing businesses to our global portfolio. Then we’ll seek liquidity opportunities for our existing Indian portfolio. Over the long term, we’d like to scale up our team based on investment activity and momentum.
Q: Do you find that India entrepreneurs differ from their North American and European counterparts?
We find India entrepreneurs to be just as smart, hardworking and tuned to global trends as their counterparts in other continents. Having said that, there are some key observations that are worth highlighting. In the past, Indian entrepreneurs generally focused on managing robust business growth rather than building the supporting infrastructure of systems, people and resources to sustainably handle the growth. The tech-savvy, metrics-focused entrepreneurs of today, however, are driving greater transparency in their businesses, and are building the blocks to create sustainable enterprises. They also understand the importance of investing time and effort into hiring, developing, mentoring and retaining talented executives. We are definitely excited about the evolution of strong entrepreneurs all around us.
Q: What are some of Summit’s notable Indian investments?
In 2010, Summit Partners invested in Krishidhan Seeds Limited, one of India’s leading seed companies. A number of our portfolio companies—for example, Belkin International, Continuum, McAfee, Multifonds, Ogone, Snap Fitness and Winshuttle Holdings—also have a major presence in India.
Q: Is growth equity well understood in India?
Most global and local funds in India are funding the capital needs of an existing business that is already growing or that requires capital injection to meet its growth objectives. They’re also funding business plans that have the potential to become high-growth businesses. This growth equity awareness is increasing among entrepreneurs who choose Summit Partners for strategic rather than survival reasons.