India still remains a very attractive destination for investment, according to K. P. Balraj, Managing Director of Sequoia Capital India, a private equity firm managing funds capitalised at close to $1.8 billion.
In an e-mail response to a range of questions, he said, “there has not been much of an effect of the economic slowdown on the venture capital market.” Asserting that there were lot of activities now, he said, “our experience in both in India and globally has been that the best of companies get created in markets like these.” He was happy that India was finally seeing “a seed and angel ecosystem develop”. This trend, he felt, was very good for private equity players and venture capital firms in the long-run.
Asked on the policy irritants for attracting foreign private equity into India, he said, “we hope the country keeps encouraging policies that support entrepreneurship and risk capital.”
Sequoia, he said, had already invested close to half of the $1.8 billion that it had been managing. “We will continue to invest the balance,” he added. Sequoia, he said, would focus on “well managed companies backed by strong entrepreneurs and which are leaders in large markets, where we can come in as long-term partners.”
High growth sectors
Asserting that Sequoia was not a sector-oriented investor, he said “we are very much focused on companies and entrepreneurs.” Nevertheless, he said, Sequoia had invested in various high growth sectors such as financial services, consumer services, healthcare, information technology, education and infrastructure services.
Since its inception in 2000, Sequoia had invested in over 50 companies. They include Applabs, Café Coffee Day, Comviva (Bharti Telesoft), Dr. Lal Pathlabs, Edelweiss Capital, Firstsource, Idea Cellular, SKS Microfinance and Vasan Healthcare, among others. Recently, it invested Rs. 40crore in JustDial, a leading search engine in India. “We look to add value and help fuel JustDial’s aggressive growth plans through our global and local experience,” he said.
To a question, he said, “We are long-term investors and our horizon is anywhere between five to seven years.”