Mumbai: Warburg Pincus India managing director and co-head of India, Niten Malhan is quitting to start his own investment firm, said two people aware of the development.
This will mark the second top-level exit at the top American PE investor’s Mumbai office.
Last week, The Economic Times reported that Warburg Pincus India managing director Nitin Nayar had quit to launch his own investment fund that will primarily focus on placing technology-related bets. Nayar’s new fund is expected to have a corpus of $150-200 million (Rs950-1,270 crore), and is likely to make mid- to growth-stage investments across the technology sector, The Economic Times reported.
“Vishal Mahadevia, the other co-head of Warburg’s India office, will now lead the almost 18-member investment team of Warburg, which includes four managing directors. Malhan is looking to start an investment firm of his own, but his plans are in very early days right now," said one of the people cited above, requesting anonymity as he is not authorized to speak with the media.
Besides being the co-head of the PE firm’s India operations, Malhan was also a member of the firm’s executive management group.
Prior to joining Warburg Pincus in 2001, he was an engagement manager with McKinsey & Co. in New Delhi, Jakarta and Boston, according to details available on Warburg’s website. He was also the director of business development for a Silicon Valley start-up.
Malhan is a director of Warburg’s Indian portfolio companies ACB, AVTEC, CleanMax Solar, Diligent Power, Embassy Industrial Parks, Lemon Tree Hotels and Piramal Realty. He became the firm’s India co-head in 2012. Malhan holds a B.S. in computer science and engineering from IIT-Delhi and an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
“We are grateful to Niten Malhan’s valuable contributions to the firm over the past 16 years and wish him continued success in his new entrepreneurial venture. Vishal Mahadevia will continue in his role leading our India business," Warburg Pincus said in response to queries regarding Malhan’s departure.
“2017 was a strong year in India for Warburg Pincus, and with a robust pipeline of opportunities ahead, we look forward to further increasing our activity in India in the coming years," the firm added. Malhan could not be reached for comment.
In 2017, Warburg Pincus invested close to a billion dollars in India across deals such as a $360 million investment in Tata Technologies, a $350 billion investment in Airtel DTH and $120 million investment in multiplex firm PVR Ltd.
Malhan’s plans to start his own firm mark yet another instance of a fund manager leaving an established firm to start an entrepreneurial investment firm.
Last year, Mathew Cyriac, former India PE co-head of Blackstone Group’s India operations, quit to launch his own fund.
Earlier in 2015, PE firm Carlyle Group’s managing director Mahesh Parasuraman, quit the American alternate asset manager’s India team to set up Amicus Capital with Sunil Vasudevan, a former partner of India Value Fund Advisors (now known as True North).
In 2014, another leading American PE firm KKR saw the exit of Heramb Hajarnavis who was heading its India private equity practice.
Malhan’s plans to start his own investment firm also come at a time when the Indian PE industry saw record deal making in the year gone by.
India received a record $24.4 billion in private equity (PE) investments in 2017, 26% more than the previous highest of $19.3 billion recorded in 2015, according to data compiled by Venture Intelligence, a researcher focused on private company financials, transactions and valuations.
The 2017 deal value marked a 59% increase over the $15.4 billion India received in the previous year.