NATURAL PROGRESSION

Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, Ramesh T. Jogani, has quit his plum job at Indiareit Fund Advisors. Reports say the head of the Indian real estate fund resigned to explore the possibility of setting up his own fund.

“I am on a sabbatical. I am still thinking about what to do…,” is the bare minimum that Jogani, former managing director and chief executive officer of Indiareit, is ready to disclose.

He joins the growing club of private equity (PE) fund heads who had quit their jobs to start their own boutique ventures over the last one year.

“This is already a trend globally, not only in India. It is a sort of natural progression for a private equity investor. At the end of the day, if the investor has contacts and a good network – starting his own venture is a logical step. I am seeing a 15-18 per cent increase in the announcement of people quitting,” said E. Balaji, CEO at Randstad, a human resources agency.

Among the prominent is P.R. Srinivasan, a veteran with nearly 20 years of investment experience, who quit as the India head of Citi Venture Capital International (CVCI) to set up his own firm, Exponentia. CVCI is the private equity business of Citigroup Inc.

In September 2011, Manish Kejriwal, head of the Indian unit of Temasek Holdings resigned to start his PE firm, Kedaara Capital. By starting their own ventures, private equity investors get the freedom to invest in sectors of their liking. “To start their own ventures, they first have to make successful exits. Then they can build a sort of brand equity for themselves,” said Sajeev Krishan, executive director (PE and M&A), PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Another reputed investor, Rajesh Khanna, former managing director and India head with Warburg Pincus, left to start Arka Capital Advisors. Others such as Subbu Subramaniam, former partner at Baring Private Equity India, and Ranjeet Nabha, managing director and CEO of India operations at W.L. Ross, are followed suit.

In 2010, Jayanta Banerjee along with two other colleagues – Anand Vyas and Sunay Mathure – had quit ICICI Venture to set up Pravi Capital Advisors, a PE firm.

“If you look at this business, this is really an entrepreneurial business, and is true across the world, whether in the US, Europe or another country. Even Blackstone (founded in 1985 as an M&A boutique) was started by former Lehman Brothers employees,” said Banerjee, who is now managing partner with Pravi.

“This was the case with KKR. Private equity is actually a business, these are relatively small organisations, but with huge capital under management.”

Earlier in 2009, Harsha Raghavan, former India head of PE firm Candover, quit to set up Steer Capital. A year earlier, Ajay Relan, managing director and India head of CVCI had stepped down.

priya.s@thehindu.co.in

rajesh.kurup@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 7, 2012)
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