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New Delhi: SoftBank Corp. vice-chairman Nikesh Arora said on Thursday that he had quit the boards of the Japanese investment firm’s portfolio companies in India to directly engage with the founders and their management teams.

Arora has quit the boards of e-commerce companies Housing.com, Snapdeal.com and Ola, a taxi hailing company.

SoftBank has invested close to $1 billion in these Indian Internet start-ups in the last six months and pledged to invest a total of $10 billion over a decade in the country.

“I am leaving the boards to engage with the founders directly and spend more time with them and their management teams," Arora said in an email response to a query.

“I spent a few hours in Snapdeal’s offices on Monday in Delhi with Kunal (Bahl) and Rohit (Bansal) and the team, I had lunch with Bhavish (Aggarwal, co-founder, Ola) yesterday to discuss the status and plans of Ola," he added.

Arora, a former senior vice-president at Google Inc., did not comment on who will replace him on the boards of these companies. It is also not clear how quitting the boards will help Arora spend more time with the portfolio companies and entrepreneurs.

“I believe the most important part is to have a positive relationship with the entrepreneur where they value your advice and you can be there in their time of need," Arora said. “There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur in India, but everyone can use some advice once in a while."

SoftBank, the largest shareholder in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, invested more than $90 million in Housing.com in November and close to $627 million in Snapdeal.com in October.

It also led an investment of $210 million for a significant stake in Ani Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs Ola.

Investors have pumped more than $4 billion into e-commerce companies last year. Online retail is expected to be worth $6 billion this year, a 70% increase over 2014 sales of $3.5 billion, according to technology researcher Gartner Inc.

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