Speed-dating for PE firms, promoters

Speed-dating for PE firms, promoters

At Mumbai’s India Private Equity Fair on 27 February, the Grand Hyatt ballroom hosted 23 booths with anxious promoters ready to present their products, plans and projections to private equity (PE) investors. The event — the first to engage in “investment speed-dating" between companies and potential funders — was unusual because most such showcase events cater to start-ups with prototypes rather than years-old companies.

Companies attending the event said it saved time for all, helped some gain access to investors and pushed many to better prepare pitches. As for PE investors, it helped them spot companies they would not have otherwise discovered.

Presenting companies came from Pune, Indore to Kolkata to this event seeking between Rs10 crore and Rs1,500 crore from some 40 PE firms, including ICICI Venture Funds Management Co. Ltd, Actis Advisers Pvt. Ltd and Kubera Partners Llc., who attended the event.

Indo-American cosmetics company Radico Fashions Pvt. Ltd was looking for investment for more than a year because a few PE investors were interested in businesses that required funds less than $10 million (Rs40 crore), according to P. Anand, the company’s consultant on new business development. But, he said, in the last year he found that more PE investors had become interested in “smaller companies with potential" like his.

The event was the Rs50 crore Chandigarh-based Scott-Edil Pharmacia Ltd’s first attempt at raising funds and Sanjeev Aggarwal, its managing director, said: “We want value add (from an investor), such as relationships abroad".

Investors asked promoters for quick figures on revenues, funding requirement, profits, growth rate and addressable opportunity for their offerings. Srini Vudayagiri, managing director of venture capital firm Lightspeed Advisory Services India Pvt. Ltd, was pleased to see a few firms from smaller cities in the showcase, which are often harder for VCs like him to find and find time for.