Startups

To tap US public markets for Yatra IPO in 2015: seed investor Promod Haque

16 May, 2014

Promod Haque, who has been the face of Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) for years, is confident of his India portfolio. The global, multi-stage venture and growth equity investment firm is aiming for annual exits besides taking some of the technology companies in its portfolio global.

"We are planning to tap the US public markets between 2015 and 2016 for Yatra's IPO," he told VCCircle over a telephonic interaction from San Francisco. Gurgaon-based Yatra Online Travel Pvt Ltd, the company behind the online travel portal Yatra.com, is pretty much a seed investment from NVP which invested in the company way back in 2006 when it was founded. Last month, the travel services company raised Rs 140 crore ($23 million) led by IDG Ventures and Vertex Venture Management, the VC investment arm of Singapore's sovereign wealth fund Temasek. NVP also participated in this round.

Elaborating on the exit plan for the tech portfolio, Haque said that the options have opened up globally. "Product companies have a very active M&A space; B2B companies are getting acquired by big players like Oracle, IBM or VMware. So, there are all kinds of options for exits like IPOs, acquisitions and mergers," he said. NVP's India technology portfolio comprises Komli Media, Quikr, CRMnext and Sulekha.com, among others.

Haque asserted that India is fast growing as an innovation hub with companies increasingly taking risks and exposing themselves to other markets. "In the US, a lot of interesting stuff is going on in the healthcare IT space; a lot of innovations are happening here and it will eventually happen in India as well. We are starting to see Indian entrepreneurs beginning to create things beyond services and towards innovation. Today, they are launching out to Asia and the US. You will not see hundreds of companies innovating but some of them will definitely make a mark." Haque said. Also, "e-commerce has grown beyond websites to a creation of interesting mobile driven apps, etc." he added. The resurgence of the enterprise sector, with companies innovating in the cyber security and protective analytics space, is also an interesting area to look at, he pointed out.

In India, the fund thinks it is the right time to be in sectors like technology, internet and financial services. Norwest Venture Partners' India team, including Niren Shah, Sohil Chand and Mohan Kumar, is looking for investments in housing finance, SME financing, commercial vehicle finance, packaged foods and even internet of things like wearable devices.

The significant global liquidity events last year for the firm included the acquisition of leading global managed and cloud-based network services company Virtela by NTT Communications for $525 million, the sale of fraud detection leader 41st Parameter to Experian for $324 million and the acquisition of storage management software company ScaleIO by EMC and the partial sale of NVP shares of Indian financial services company Shriram City Union Finance Ltd.

NVP, recently raised $1.2 billion for its twelfth fund thereby taking its total capital commitment to over $5 billion.

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