Varun Laul, former Providence PE director, to join Zodius
Providence, which manages assets worth $54 billion in PE and credit businesses, exited India last year
Mumbai: Private equity fund Avendus Capital on Monday named Varun Laul, former director at US fund Providence Equity Partners LLC, as managing director of its technology-focused fund Zodius Capital Advisors.
Providence, which manages assets worth $54 billion in PE and credit businesses, exited India last year but retained Laul to manage its existing portfolios including UFO Moviez and Idea Cellular Ltd.
“Varun’s appointment is in line with the company’s enhanced focus on taking the alternative investments business to the next level of growth with highly differentiated offerings. Digital and technology ecosystem presents a great opportunity for investment in India, and Zodius will be at its core,” said Ranu Vohra, managing director and CEO of Avendus, in a statement.
“Zodius represents a great opportunity to identify and grow market leaders in digital consumption and enterprise technology space in India,” Laul said.
At Providence, Laul managed a portfolio including Hathway Cable and Datacom Ltd, Idea Cellular Ltd, Indus Towers and ShopCJ.
He is currently a board member of UFO Moviez India Ltd, India’s largest digital cinema content distribution platform, and serves on UFO’s audit and risk management committee.
Before joining Providence in 2007, Laul was an associate at investment bank DSP Merrill Lynch.
Previously, he worked at A.T. Kearney as a management consultant.
As a member of the Zodius Investment Team, Laul’s key responsibility will be to identify and invest in fast-growing companies and continue building the Zodius franchise.
“The knowledge and expertise that Varun brings with him will be a tremendous asset to the firm as we build the Zodius platform,” said Shilpa Kulkarni, managing director, Zodius Capital.
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. In November, Avendus Capital acquired Zodius Capital, an early investor in start-ups like online furniture retailer Pepperfry and grocery site BigBasket in November.
At present, there are three funds under the Zodius platform—a first independent fund of $20 million and two funds launched along with Avendus worth $110 million and $30 million, respectively.
Avendus, which has purchased the Zodius platform and the brand, will continue to launch future funds under the Zodius brand name and the existing Zodius team will continue to manage the funds until they exit the investments.
Besides the three funds, Avendus plans to launch a $250 million fund targeting mid- to late-stage growth opportunities in consumer and digital sectors under the Zodius platform. The fundraising will begin by early next year, Mint reported in November last year.
US-based KKR & Co bought a majority stake in Avendus Capital for about $115 million in November 2015.
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