Mumbai: The world’s largest private equity (PE) firm Blackstone Group on Thursday said that it will invest an undisclosed amount in California-based business process outsourcing (BPO) firm TaskUs. The capital will be utilized to strengthen TaskUs’ technology and geographical footprint.

However, two people close to the development said, requesting anonymity, that the PE firm will infuse $250 million into the company for a majority stake. “The investment, before funding, values TaskUs at more than $500 million," the companies said in a joint statement. Blackstone has acquired Navegar Partners’ stake in the firm.

Founded in 2008 by Bryce Maddock and Jaspar Weir, solution offerings of TaskUs include customer service, back-office support and customer experience consulting. Some of its clients include Tinder, mobile-based travel app Hotel Tonight and online marketplace SpareFoot, among others.

“The firm has developed expertise in servicing e-commerce firms and online aggregators in the US. It now wants to expand in India, which is a booming market for e-commerce and online marketplace," said one of the people mentioned above. He further said that Blackstone’s experience in the BPO space has been good, especially with its investment in Mumbai-based BPO firm Intelenet.

In June, Blackstone had announced that it will be selling Intelenet, which it had acquired in 2015 from UK-based Serco Group, to French back-office services provider Teleperformance for $1 billion. The firm had invested a little over $350 million in the firm to clock 4-times return on its investment.

According to a report by marketing research firm eMarketer, online retail sales in India are expected to grow 31% this fiscal year to touch $32.70 billion. It said that a quarter of India’s population will become digital shoppers by end of 2018, and 41.6% by 2022.

“The growth in ride sharing, social media, online food delivery, e-commerce and autonomous driving is creating an enormous need for enabling business services. TaskUs has established a leadership position in this domain with its base of marquee customers, unique culture and relentless focus on customer delivery. With access to capital from Blackstone, as well as our two decades of experience with BPO companies, we are confident that our investment in TaskUs can significantly accelerate the company’s growth trajectory," said Amit Dixit, senior managing director, Blackstone.

The BPO firm will also be able to expand its India business through other portfolio companies of Blackstone, the second person said.

“TaskUS will be able to get easy access to Blackstone’s portfolio companies, which can be its potential clients. Part of the funds will also be utilized for funding new technology."

Blackstone manages $430 billion of assets globally and has invested about $7.5 billion in India till date.

The PE firm is sharpening its India focus.

In April, Mint had reported that it will be looking to invest about 60% of its maiden $4 billion Asia-focused fund in India.

“We chose to partner with Blackstone because they have a track record at building category-defining businesses. This partnership will help us dramatically increase our investment in consulting, technology and innovation to support our customers’ efforts to streamline and refine their customer experience," said TaskUs co-founder and president Jaspar Weir, adding that the proceeds will also be used for making fresh investments in Europe, India and Latin America.

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