Home / Companies / Amadeus plans India entry this year, scouts for firms to invest in

Bangalore: UK-based technology venture capital firm Amadeus Capital Partners Ltd plans to enter the Indian market and is looking to invest $5-10 million in Indian companies.

It will invest in Indian firms that focus on mobile technology, financial services, digital media and online services.

“The Indian market right now is at a tipping point and there’s a lot of maturity in the market, particularly in the online services space," said Jason Pinto, a partner at the London-based firm.

The firm is also looking to open an India office soon and will hire someone to head the India efforts, said Pinto. The firm “hopes to launch in India this year", he added without giving details.

Amadeus Capital Partners, co-founded by European technology entrepreneur Hermann Hauser, who built Acorn Computers, has around £500 million under management. It has backed over 85 companies since its inception in 1997.

The India focus comes as part of the Amadeus IV Digital Prosperity Fund, which had its first close in July last year at $75 million, and is focused on emerging markets.

South African telecommunications company MTN Group is one of the corporate investors in this fund. Amadeus Capital Partners also expects more investment from other institutional and corporate investors.

In late April, Amadeus made its first investment from the fund in Bidu, an online insurance price comparison and brokerage business in Brazil. The $8.9 million funding was led by Amadeus with participation from Monashees Capital, Bertelsmann, and Otto Capital Partners.

So far, Amadeus Capital has invested in companies across the US, Europe and Latin America. It has offices in London, Cambridge, San Francisco and Stockholm.

Besides these, “India will be the only location where the firm plans to have its permanent office for at least the next few years", said Pinto, adding that the firm does not plan to invest in very early or very late stage ventures, and is likely to stay away from larger start-ups.

Amadeus Capital Partners has already started scouting for Indian start-ups that it plans to invest in and said that it may close a few deals before it opens the India office. The company assesses around 100-200 companies before closing a deal, said Pinto.

“Mobile technology and e-commerce is catching the fancy of investment groups and we will see more investments going forward," said Sanjeev Krishan, leader, private equity at consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Since January 2012, venture capital and private equity investors, both local and foreign, have ploughed more than $3 billion into e-commerce firms, according VCCEdge and Mint research. Out of this, more than $2 billion has been invested so far in 2014.

“The investment environment is changing and in the last few months, it has definitely turned positive. With the new government, there is a general confidence among investors and they are looking at India more actively. The government is working towards cutting down the approval time and de-bottlenecking the decision-making process. Over a period of time, it is likely to become easier to do business in India," said Krishan.

Major businesses built by Amadeus Capital Partners include CSR Plc, producer of single chip Bluetooth radios for short range connections, Solexa Ltd, the developer of genetic analysis systems that merged into Illumina Inc. and Transmode, a networking solutions business that had an initial public offer (IPO) on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm in 2011.

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