Government to invite bids for Air India privatization
The government will soon invite bids to sell its entire stake in Air India, after potential buyers baulked at an initial attempt to divest a partial stake in the national carrier, Mint reported citing a finance ministry official. The plan is to sell 100% stake in the airline. The proposal needs clearance from a ministerial panel before it is made public. A sale of Air India is key for the Union government to meet its ambitious disinvestment target of ₹1.05 trillion for the year to 31 March. Meeting the target is crucial this year as the government estimates that its corporate tax rate cut will lead to a revenue loss of ₹1.45 trillion. Debt-laden Air India has been surviving on a ₹30,000-crore government bailout and has ceded market share to private airlines such as IndiGo and SpiceJet. The ministerial panel to divest Air India, headed by home minister Amit Shah, met for the first time on 19 September to explore all options. The panel also includes finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, civil aviation minister Hardeep Puri, and railway and trade minister Piyush Goyal. The panel is likely to meet soon to formally clear the privatization process of Air India.
Multiples PE in talks to lead investment round in Kissht
Private equity (PE) firm Multiples Alternate Asset Management is in advanced talks to lead a funding round of around $60 million in digital lender Kissht, Mint reported citing three people aware of the matter. While Multiples is expected to invest $50 million, Kissht’s existing investors—Singapore’s Vertex Ventures, Russia’s Sistema Asia Fund, Fosun RZ Capital, Ventureast and Endiya Partners—will contribute a total of $10-12 million, at a post-money valuation of $200-220 million. Kissht is a consumer credit startup founded in 2015 by former McKinsey consultants Krishnan Vishwanathan and Ranvir Singh. It allows consumers to pay for their online orders in monthly instalments, without a credit card. The company has signed up more than 3,000 offline retail stores and over 50 online merchant partners, including Amazon, Flipkart, Caratlane, MakeMyTrip and Uber. It uses proprietary algorithms to assess the creditworthiness of a potential buyer and processes credit purchases instantly. It currently lends about ₹90 crore a month, with its share of loans from offline channels marginally increasing at a marginally faster pace compared to online, said a third person aware of the company’s plans.
Auto parts maker Minda acquires Germany’s Delvis
Auto parts maker Minda Industries Ltd has signed a definite pact to acquire German automotive lamps engineering, design and testing company, Delvis Gmbh, at an enterprise value of about €21 million, Mint reported. The deal will include two subsidiaries, Delvis Solution and Delvis Products, Gurugram-based Minda said in a regulatory filing. The transaction, subject to closing conditions and other regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed within the next two months, and will be funded through a mix of debt and equity. The acquisition forms part of Minda’s strategy to improve its technological prowess in existing product lines, which includes automotive lighting, the statement said. Delvis has a significant presence in auto-lighting technology and works closely with German automakers such as Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche.
Sequoia unveils second batch of Surge startups
Sequoia Capital India, the local arm of the storied Silicon Valley investor, on Tuesday unveiled its second cohort of startups from Surge—the accelerator programme it started earlier this year, to find, help and fund early-stage startups in India and South-East Asia, Mint reported. Surge is a 16-week programme, wherein startups receive company-building and cross-border support, along with $1-2 million in capital from Sequoia, besides co-investments from other investors. The new batch has 20 startups from across sectors such as consumer internet, clean energy, robotics and social commerce, and have raised about $45 million collectively. Around 80% of the companies have co-investors. Commerce investments include e-SIM store Airalo, Bijak, a B2B trade platform for the agriculture sector, commercial construction e-commerce firm Brick&Bolt, and Chilibeli, a social commerce platform for farmers, suppliers and consumers. Its software investments include Cognicept, which helps humans and robots to work together, Classplus, a mobile operating system which lets coaching institutes take their brick and mortar setups online, HevoData, a data platform that helps companies understand their users and customers better, and Quolum, a software-as-a-service product to better manage risk and compliance for enterprises.
Hevo Data gets $4 million in seed funding
Unified data platform for mid-size enterprises, Hevo Data, has raised $4 million in seed funding led by Sequoia Capital’s Surge and Chiratae Ventures as it looks to grow its base of customers in the US and other Western markets, The Economic Times reported. The San Francisco and Bengaluru-based company offers a solution to enterprises to unify data and derive insights from several sources such as CRM, advertising channels, marketing tech, financial system software, helping build a better understanding of customers. Hevo Data largely focuses on online commerce, financial technology and healthcare sectors, which rely heavily on customer data to drive sales. The company’s cofounder Manish Jethani said the company builds tools that will allow every company do what Amazon did with its razor-sharp customer focus.