Restaurateur Rahul Akerkar, the owner of Mumbai’s Indigo restaurant, is in talks with venture capital (VC) funds and companies to raise Rs20 crore to take the fine-dining restaurant, which is on Condé Nast Traveller’s list of top 60 restaurants in the world, to New Delhi in 2008 and Bangalore in 2009.
Demand for fine-dining options in the world’s second fastest growing major economy after China has resulted in a boom in the restaurant business. “Besides venture funds and corporations, we are also talking to high net worth individuals interested in investing in the company. We hope to have the money in place two months,” Akerkar, managing director of deGustibus Hotels Pvt. Ltd, the company that owns Indigo, said. He declined to name the companies and VC firms. Though he declined to reveal the valuation of the firm, he said that he started the project with Rs1 crore investment from NRIs in 1996. This group sold out to other investors in early 2000.
Catering to the taste buds: Rahul Akerkar, MD of deGustibus Hotels Pvt. Ltd, at Mumbai’s Indigo restaurant.
Indigo Deli, another restaurant run by deGustibus, offers a more casual environment and a all-day menu, and it will be rolled out into other cities to cater to people looking for delicatessen-style food.
The executive chef and creative backbone of Indigo, Akerkar is also gearing up to take his culinary expertise out of the restaurant’s rarefied atmosphere and into the world of outdoor catering and banqueting.
Moveable Feast, Akerkar and wife Malini’s (who is deGustibus’ joint managing director) venture into outdoor catering , will kick off with a new 11,000 sq. ft, 5,000 meals a day commissary kitchen in Mumbai, which is being set up with an investment of about Rs4 crore. The kitchen will dish out “high-end western food and middle- to high-level Indian food,” Akerkar said. The couple attempted outdoor catering from Indigo’s kitchen, but failed because they could not cope with the demand. With experience in catering to companies including Citibank and Goldman Sachs, Akerkar has now decided to take on the challenge of large-volume high-end cuisine in an attempt to meet demand from people who want to host their events on a grand scale.
ICL teams up with MSN, Provogue, SABMiller
New Delhi: The Indian Cricket League (ICL), promoted by media baron Subhash Chandra’s Essel Group, has roped in fashion brand Provogue, brewery SABMiller and portal MSN India as partners.
It has also named the six teams that will feature in the Twenty20 league after six cities: Chandigarh Lions, Mumbai Champs, Kolkata Tigers, Delhi Jets, Chennai Superstars and Hyderabad Heroes.
Sport biz: Fashion designer Manish Arora created the team gear that will feature in ICL’s Twenty20 tournament on 30 November.
The tournament, to kick off at Panchkula on 30 November, is not recognized by the sport’s administrative bodies in India and other cricket playing nations. The latest backlash came from the English board, which has warned counties against aligning with the league.
At a launch programme in Mumbai on Monday evening, the promoters also unveiled the team gear, created by fashion designer Manish Arora. ICL plans to push its range of league-related merchandise including the gear through the 126 Provogue stores across the country. “It will also be a business of sports merchandising in India,” Provogue president Bipin Gurnani said.
Software giant Microsoft has developed the ICL website indiancricketleague.in.
Meanwhile, ‘PTI’ reports, quoting the UK ‘Daily Telegraph’ newspaper, that the England and Wales Cricket Board has made it clear to counties that they could not afford to allow their players to join ICL if they wanted to play in the four-nation Champions League, a Twenty20 tournament, carrying a prize purse of $5 million (about Rs19.6 crore) to be played in India next October.
The top two teams of T20 tournaments in England, South Africa, Australia and India, will compete. Anik Basu
UB, Prestige announce retail destination
Bangalore: UB City, a 55: 45 joint venture between United Breweries (Holdings) Ltd and real estate major Prestige Estates Projects Pvt. Ltd on Tuesday announced plans to launch a luxury retail destination here.
Spread over 120,000 sq. ft, it will comprise 38 stores selling 23 luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dunhill, Gucci, Rolex and Omega. UB City will be operational by the first quarter of 2008.
The size of the luxury retail market in India is Rs1,500 crore and is growing by 25% every year, according to Vivek Kaul, head, retail, Jones Lang Lasalle Megraj.
“Luxury retail is aspirational shopping, where the positioning is different,” said Irfan Razack, chairman and managing director, Prestige Group.
UB City will have retail, commercial and hospitality players. Citigroup, Toyota, ABN Amro, Ernst & Young and 3M have already signed up for space at UB City, said Razack.
Shares of United Breweries closed 0.67% up at Rs1,078 on the Bombay Stock Exchange. Kavitha Srinivasa
Stone India, Sumitomo sign rly technical pact
Kolkata: A company of the Duncan Goenka Group, Stone India Ltd, has signed a technical collaboration agreement with Sumitomo Electric Industries of Japan for manufacturing air springs for passenger and suburban local trains of the Indian Railways.
This comes at a time when the railways is planning to replace mechanical suspension systems in its coaches with air spring and pneumatic suspension, which promises greater comfort and higher speed.
The railways induct 2,800 new coaches every year and while these will be fitted with the new system, the 25,000 existing coaches will be selectively upgraded. The complete package will work out to Rs475,000 to 550,000 per coach.
Sumitomo’s air spring systems are used in Japan’s famous Shinkansen (Bullet Trains). Rajdeep Datta Roy
Recruiters offer new job profile to IIMK students
New Delhi: A role in carbon credit trading is one of the job profiles offered by a recruiter for summer internships in 2008 by first-year or freshmen students pursuing their master’s in business administration (MBA) at the Indian Institute of Management-Kozhikode (IIMK). The business school refused to name the recruiter.
Under carbon credit trading, companies that pollute more than the permitted levels have to buy the right to indulge in excess pollution from others who have not used up their pollution credits.
Other new job profiles were environment consulting and entrepreneurship marketing. The latter was offered by Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS).
Sixty-six recruiters visited the campus, 22 of them for the first time. First-time recruiters include Google, Accenture Business Consulting, Citibank, Bank of America, KPMG, Coca-Cola India Inc., PepsiCo and Hewitt Associates. Aparna Kalra
Cognizant net profit up 58% to $96 million
Chennai: Cognizant Technology Solutions Ltd has reported net profit growth of 58% for the third quarter ended 30 September compared with the same period last year, driven by strong organic growth across various industries, service offerings and locations.
Net profit rose to $96.2 million (Rs378 crore) as against $61 million a year ago. The third quarter results include a one-time tax benefit of $2.8 million and a pre-tax foreign exchange gain of $2.6 million.
Revenues during the quarter grew by 48% to $558.8 million. European revenues contributed 17% (or $95 million) of total revenues, recording 90% growth on year-on-year basis. Vidhya Sivaramakrishnan
24X7 Learning gets Rs16 cr from Capital18
Bangalore: Capital18, the venture capital and private equity arm of Network18 has invested Rs15.72 crore in 24X7 Learning, a provider of e-learning solutions for companies and educational institutions.
24X7 Learning has been setting up virtual campuses, implementing distance learning programmes and employability enhancement programmes in corporate as well as educational institutions.
“Capital18 understands the market we serve, very well and will help us grow further, ” said K.S. Karthik, CEO of 24x7 Learning. He said 24/7 Learning will have revenues of $4 million by April 2008.
The six-year-old company, headquartered in Bangalore, had earlier received an undisclosed sum of money as seed funding in 2001 from Anil Garg, an angel investor based out of the US, and in January 2006 from Arun Sinha of Pitney Bowes and KITVEN, or Karnataka Information Technology Venture Capital Fund. The company has more than 150 clients, including six of the top 10 BPO/ITeS companies in India. Malovika Rao