Home >Companies >People >SoftBank may hire Norwest’s Sumer Juneja as India head

Bengaluru: Japan’s SoftBank Group, which has invested billions of dollars into Indian start-ups such as Flipkart, Paytm and Ola, may rope in venture capitalist Sumer Juneja to help lead its India investments, said three people aware of the development.

Juneja, who is currently a partner at Mumbai-based Norwest Venture Partners, and sits on the boards of start-ups such as food-delivery service Swiggy, is expected to join SoftBank in the coming months, the people mentioned above said, requesting anonymity.

Besides Juneja, SoftBank is expected to hire at least one more executive to help manage its India operations, one of the people said.

If Juneja does come on board, he will work with the team at SoftBank’s Vision Fund and report to Munish Varma, a London-based partner at SoftBank, they added.

A London School of Economics graduate, Juneja joined Norwest in 2009, and was a founding member of the Goldman Sachs’ Asian Special Situations Group in India.

Juneja did not respond to an email seeking comment. A SoftBank spokeswoman said that the company did not want to comment on “speculation".

SoftBank, which has invested heavily in India through its $100-billion Vision Fund, has been looking to hire an Indian head for some time. Kabir Misra, who launched his own RPS Investment Fund, till recently led SoftBank’s India investments. SoftBank is an anchor investor in RPS.

Mint had first reported on 12 July that Misra, a managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, was in advanced talks to set up an investment fund, which would make early- and mid-stage investments primarily in the US, India and Southeast Asia-based start-ups. Mint had also reported on 6 November that Misra’s RPS was set to pick up stakes in social commerce start-up Meesho and insurance provider Acko.

In September, The Economic Times reported that Egon Zehnder had been tasked by Softbank to help find suitable candidates for the role of India head.

In the last five years years, SoftBank, which is owned by billionaire Masayoshi Son, has been the most prolific late-stage investor in India. It has pumped in over $4 billion, which comprises its biggest investments in Flipkart, Paytm, online insurance firm Policybazaar, ride hailing firm Ola, hotel aggregator Oyo and online grocery firm Grofers. SoftBank also benefited from a massive exit at Flipkart, estimated to be at least $4 billion, after the e-commerce firm was acquired by US-based retail giant Walmart.

Some of its investments in India, however, have turned out to be duds.

For instance, its investments in e-commerce firm Snapdeal and online real-estate firm did not work out well. Mint had reported in June that SoftBank had struck 24 deals in India committing $7 billion since 2011.

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