Mumbai: Financial services firm Avendus Capital is in talks with potential investors to raise a $300-million consumer sector-focused fund, two people in the know said.

The fund will be housed under the Zodius platform, which Avendus acquired last year, said one of the person cited above, requesting anonymity as he is not authorized to speak with the media.

In November, Avendus, which is backed by private equity firm KKR and Co. LP, acquired technology-focused PE firm Zodius Capital Advisors, an early investor in start-ups such as online furniture retailer Pepperfry and grocery site BigBasket.

Zodius was founded by Neeraj Bhargava, former chief executive officer of business process outsourcing firm WNS Global Services Ltd, along with Gautam Patel and Shilpa Kulkarni.

“Avendus is in talks with investors for its first new fund under the Zodius platform. While Zodius was previously focused on investing in technology start-ups, the new fund has a broader mandate. The fund will invest in traditional brick-and-mortar consumer businesses as well as consumer internet firms. Avendus is targeting to raise $300 million for the fund," said the first person cited above.

A spokesperson for Avendus Capital declined to comment.

The latest fund from Avendus will add to the firm’s growing alternative asset management business, which is currently focused on listed companies and has assets under management of more than $1.3 billion.

Avendus launched its alternative asset management business focused on listed companies in 2017 with the Avendus Absolute Return Fund, a hedge fund led by Andrew Holland and Vaibhav Sanghavi, which managed to raise around Rs3,300 crore as of October 2017.

In August, Avendus acquired Ocean Dial Asset Management Ltd, a UK-based asset management company.

Ocean Dial had assets under management of £450 million at the time of the acquisition. While the Absolute Return Fund is a long-short equity fund, funds managed by Ocean Dial are long-only equity funds.

In April, Avendus announced its Avendus Enhanced Return Fund, the second hedge fund launched by it, crossed Rs1,000 crore in assets under management in the four months since launch. The fund is managed by the Holland and Sanghavi team.

Other business verticals of Avendus Capital—wealth management and non-banking financial services company (NBFC)—too, are raising funds.

In September, Avendus Wealth Management Pvt. Ltd announced the launch of its first Category III AIF (alternative investment fund), Avendus Phoenix Fund. In the previous month, Avendus Finance, the credit solutions arm, announced the launch of its Rs500-crore structured credit fund.

According to Bain and Co.’s India Private Equity Report 2018, after a decline in 2016, fund-raising in Asia-Pacific grew 6% from 2016 to 2017, with India among the leaders of that growth.

“India continued to be an attractive destination for investments as India-focused funds increased 48% in aggregate to $5.7 billion," the report said.

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