Menlo Park, California-based Mayfield Fund, which started its Mumbai office last June, has in the last two months struck as many deals: investing with Canaan Partners and Yahoo Inc. $11.75 million (Rs47.3 crore) in Chennai’s Consim Info Pvt. Ltd, which owns match-making site Bharatmatrimony.com and jobs portal Clickjobs.com; and $3.75 million in power equipment company Servomax India Ltd. The fund, whose local offices are manned by two partners, Nikhil Khattau and Vikram Godse, had earlier invested in Bangalore-based Tejas Networks India Ltd and Seedfund from Mumbai. Mayfield, one of the oldest venture capital (VC) firms operational today (it was founded in 1969), has raised two funds in China, while in India it invests out of its global fund.
It has decided to focus on growth-stage companies that have a proven business model and some revenues, rather than early-stage start-ups in the Internet and wireless space. Godse, who led the fund’s latest investment in Servomax, talks to Mint about its India strategy and the opportunities it sees. Edited excerpts:
Mayfield has been playing it cautious in the India market. Why?
I wouldn’t say that. We took our time to understand the market and figure out where the opportunity lies. And that is really in the mid-market companies. We see
ourselves as ‘late-VC, early-PE’ players, investing in the $5 million to $15 million range. Given our past experiences, we can really help companies scale up.
Being bullish: Vikram Godse
What sectors are you focused on?
We are very bullish on consumer ancillaries and infrastructure ancillaries. Our recent investment in Servomax is one such example. Or, it could be a packaging company. We are also looking at speciality retail as a sector.
What kind of companies do you find within these niches?
These companies would typically have revenues of $10-100 million. We like companies that have proven client risk. Many of these are survivors who have made it through a capital constrained market and are looking to expand now the economy is good. Take, for example, telecom infrastructure. In the last 10 years, 70,000 towers were built, but operators are now looking at setting up 100,000 towers in the next one year. This opens up markets. Earlier, (companies) did not have capital to scale up, but now they have access.
How many deals are you looking at this year?
We will do four deals a year at best. With two full-time partners, more than that would be stretching our bandwidth.