Smile Group forms $100M JV with PE giant TPG to help businesses roll out operations in Asia & Africa


Gurgaon-based Smile Group, which owns and operates various properties in the consumer and internet media space, has formed a joint venture (JV) with TPG Growth, the equity investment arm of private equity giant TPG Capital, to build businesses across Asia Pacific and the Middle East & Africa (MEA) markets.

Christened Katalyzers, the JV will partner with successful internet companies in the marketplace, classified listings, local commerce, digital media, e-commerce and mobile segments, and help them roll out their businesses across Asia and other emerging markets.

"Katalyzers is a business builder platform, which shall make equity partnerships with hot startups & successful companies in developed markets like the US to parallelly build their businesses in emerging markets in APAC and MEA while they focus on their home markets and other familiar developed markets," Harish Bahl, founder of Smile Group, told Techcircle.in.


For instance, he said, Smile Group partnered with AirBnb in the past to help roll out its operations in international markets, except the US. The group also helped WPP Digital roll out operations in Africa, and Yahoo in India & Southeast Asia.

"Katalyzers will partner with successful startups to capture market leadership in emerging markets against multiple local businesses that come up with identical business models. Though TPG will bring a major chunk of the $100 million, Smile Group will also invest in the venture," Bahl noted.

Katalyzers has already set up offices in India, Singapore and San Francisco, and has presence across China, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America through partner offices of Smile and TPG.


Smile Group is an India-based internet group with holdings in the consumer internet and digital media space. The group has partnered with entrepreneurs, VCs and global companies to build digital companies, expand their operations and increase their footprint by rolling out internationally. In the past, it had partnered and built businesses with leading companies like AirBnB, WPP Digital, Ogilvy, Yahoo!, and ScanGroup (Africa), and worked with top Silicon Valley and European investors.

Its own internet properties either owned or incubated include ventures such as Fashionandyou, Dealsandyou and Freecultr.

TPG is a leading global private investment firm founded in 1992, with more than $60 billion of assets under management. Headquartered in San Francisco, TPG has 17 offices around the globe, including London, Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Moscow, Mumbai, New York, Paris, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo. TPG Capital is known for buyouts globally while its growth capital wing TPG Growth invests in a broad range of industries including consumer, retail, technology, internet, healthcare, energy, cleantech and renewables.


In India, TPG has invested in sectors like consumer and SME finance (NBFCs), healthcare, industrials, retail and real estate. In the technology space, it had bet on application software firm AGS Transact Technologies Ltd, which is engaged in providing hardware and software solutions for banking, retail, petroleum and other sectors in India. AGS offers installation, maintenance, site build, site identification, cash replenishment, monitoring, vendor management, facility management, software support, and help desk services, as well as system integration, remote management, customer training, application support and after sales support services.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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