Canaan Partners Leads $45M Round In Ashok Soota's Happiest Minds

17 Nov, 2011

Happiest Minds Technologies Pvt Ltd, an IT solutions and services start-up by ex-MindTree Ltd chairman and co-founder Ashok Soota, has raised $45 million or Rs 229 crore in its first round of funding, led by Canaan Partners. Intel Capital, Soota and other founders of Happiest Minds also invested in the round. The break-up of the investment from venture funds and founders was not disclosed.

The deal would make the two-month-old company one of the most highly capitalised start-ups in the Indian technology landscape. A Happiest Minds spokesperson said that representatives of both Canaan Partners and Intel Capital will join the company board.

"The substantial funding will enable Happiest Minds to deliver most advanced technology solutions and services to the market, hire world-class talents, set up additional infrastructure and accelerate sales and marketing efforts globally," a company statement said.

Happiest Minds has already gathered momentum with customer wins in the USA, the UK and India, and presence in five locations. It happens to be one of the most-sought-after start-ups, with reports suggesting that firms like the Carlyle Group, IDG Ventures, Walden International and Sequoia Capital were in fray for the deal.

Soota, who will serve as executive chairman of Happiest Minds, raised Rs 130-150 crore by selling over two-thirds of his stake in MindTree, an IT consultancy services firm which he had co-founded in 2000.

Soota had quit MindTree in April this year and launched his own start-up in August. He also roped in a senior management team, led by CEO Vikram Gulati who was earlier at the helm of Hyderabad-based IT offshoring firm Intelligroup. The company was acquired by NTT Data Corporation last year.

Before founding MindTree, Soota was president of Wipro Infotech for 15 years, helping grow its IT business from $2 million in 1984 to $500 million in 1999.

Happiest Minds focuses on IT services, research & development, software product engineering, remote infra, testing and consulting. The firm aims to be the fastest IT services company from India to reach $100 million in revenue mark and will also work on newer technologies such as Cloud, mobility and social CRM.

"The shifting technology landscape provides an excellent launch pad for Happiest Minds," said Gulati, CEO and managing director of the company. "Our initial conversations with customers have only strengthened our belief in the route we have chosen."

"Happiest Minds has grown its global client base quickly, based on a critical understanding of how emerging technologies are transforming businesses worldwide," said Alok Mittal, managing director of Canaan India. "Canaan recognises the huge potential of Happiest Minds to become one of the world's foremost next-gen IT solutions and services companies, and we are excited to work alongside the leadership team and Ashok Soota to help accelerate the company's momentum worldwide."

"Enterprises are witnessing spiralling technological and security challenges as collaboration becomes social, user experience goes mobile and computing infrastructure & platforms migrate to the Cloud," said Sudheer Kuppam, managing director of Intel Capital, Asia-Pacific region. "Happiest Minds' Cloud, mobility and security solution architectures can accelerate market adoption of such disruptive technologies, with attendant benefits for the vendor ecosystem," he added.