New Delhi: Venture capital fund Kalaari Capital has hired former KPMG India head Sreedhar Prasad as its partner, said three people aware of the matter, even as it works to close its fourth domestic fund. Prasad, who previously headed consumer markets and internet businesses at KPMG, joined homegrown Kalaari in early November, said the people cited above, on condition of anonymity.
Prasad could not be reached for comment.
Kalaari is likely to raise a smaller-sized fund of $125-150 million in the coming months, said the people cited above. In an email to Mint on Thursday, Kalaari founder and managing director Vani Kola denied that the VC firm was raising a smaller-sized fund. She said the fund hasn’t taken a decision on the size of the next fund.
Prasad’s appointment follows the departure of a top executive at Kalaari earlier this year. Sumit Jain, former partner at Kalaari, joined Singapore-based Sistema Asia Capital in October. Late last year, partners Bala Srinivasa and Prashant Aluru had resigned in quick succession.
Mint had on 20 August reported that MD Rajesh Raju may leave for other opportunities, after the end of Kalaari’s third fund. VC funds are typically structured as eight year or ten year entities.
Kola denied that Raju is exiting Kalaari and pointed out that while some employees had left the fund, Kalaari had a 30-member team that was strong enough to deal with the executive departures.
Kalaari, which was once among the hottest VCs in India’s start-up ecosystem, has faced a string of top executive exits in the past 18 months. Some of its biggest bets like Snapdeal and Zivame soured though the fund has secured sizeable exits in both.
In Snapdeal, Kalaari’s stake was once valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. But Snapdeal collapsed in early 2017 after capital dried up, and a proposed sale to Flipkart didn’t materialise—primarily because the founders refused to sell. Kalaari consequently had to mark down the value of its stake. But the fund, which had sold a small part of its stake earlier, anyway secured an overall exit of more than $100 million. According to Kola, Kalaari also reaped an exit of more than $100 million from Flipkart—after Flipkart’s sale to Walmart earlier this year—and Myntra.
Kalaari also currently boasts of some fast-emerging startups in its portfolio such as Dream11 and CureFit. Kalaari is lead investor in both the startups and its stake is worth hundreds of crores of rupees in each company. Over the past year the fund also secured exits from ed tech startup Embibe and travel platform Via.
Kalaari continues to invest from its third fund, which it raised in 2015. The third fund had a corpus of $215 million, with an additional pool of $75 million that was allocated to Kalaari’s investors, or limited partners (LPs), as they are referred to.
In 2018, Kalaari has made early stage investments in SaaS start-up Hiver, omni-channel tech company Perpule, KYC solution firm Signzy and content start-up Vokal, among others.
This story has been updated to reflect the response of Kalaari Capital managing director Vani Kola.