Mumbai: Dubai-based Relam Investment LLC plans to begin its India journey with an initial investment of around $250 million (Rs16,800 crore) in real estate and technology start-ups, a top executive said.

The investment company, which launched its India operations on Tuesday, will revise its fund allocation for the country within a year.

Relam Investment is an equal joint venture, or JV, of Dubai’s Vault Investments LLC and Vietnam’s MIG Holding.

“Dubai and India have a history of strong trade and cultural relations. India will be a very important market for us, considering the growth potential it offers, especially under the current government," Sultan Ali Rashed Lootah, chairman and managing director at Relam Investment, said in an interview.

Apart from investing on its own, Relam Investment will also explore co-investment opportunities with strategic and financial partners, Lootah said.

“We are in talks with multiple financial institutions and Indian companies for partnership. Considering the fact that we are new to India, we would like to partner with Indian firms to better understand the market before taking a larger exposure," Lootah said.

Unlike many private equity companies that invest in completed real estate projects, Relam Investment will prefer new projects with an investment time frame of between 10-15 years.

“We expect a return of around 7% from real estate portfolio in India, whereas, for technology start-ups our return expectation is upwards of 20%," said Lootah.

Relam Investment will also be looking to form a joint venture with an Indian company for investment purposes.

The investment firm will focus on blockchain, app-based and big data start-ups for its technology portfolio.

Relam Investment will also be actively looking at funding opportunities in the Indian small and medium enterprises.

Apart from the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and India, the Dubai-headquartered firm also operates in Egypt, Turkey and the UK.

While it has chosen specific sectors in other geographies, it will be following a sector-agnostic approach in India.

Currently, Relam Investment is setting up its India team headed by Rajesh Gunani, one of its directors.

“We are going to be a pure play investment firm, picking up minority and substantial minority stakes in the firms we invest. We do not intend to get into the operational side of the businesses at any point of time," said Lootah.

He further said Relam will also be helping its portfolio firms to scale up business in other geographies as well as help UAE-based businesses set up shop in India in capacity of an advisor.

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