Info-tech

The Turakhia brothers are now worth $1.4 billion

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on January 17, 2018

Bhavin Turakhia

Divyank Turakhia

On a day when the media termed the Turakhia brothers the poster boys of online advertising, elder sibling Bhavin was in Delhi to attend the award function organised by Entrepreneur India magazine. Later in the night, he was conferred with two awards: Serial Entrepreneur of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year in Innovation and Technology.

Rightfully so, Bhavin and his brother Divyank have created as many as 11 companies across sectors varying from online advertising to communications.

The brothers, who had commenced their entrepreneurial journey in 1998 by setting up Directi with a meagre capital of ₹25,000, are now jointly worth $1.4 billion.

On Monday, the serial entrepreneur brothers sold off Media.net, an ad-technology company they founded in 2010 with personal investments, to Chinese investors for a whopping $900 million. A consortium led by Zhiyong Zhang, chairman of Beijing Miteno Communication Technology, bought the company, with plans to integrate it with Beijing-based Miteno.

“Media.net is a completely different and independent company, based in Dubai, with more than 97 per cent of the business coming in from North America. The company does not have any business in India,” 36-year-old Bhavin Turakhia told BusinessLine in an interview.

“The firm became profitable in the second year itself and hence didn’t need much funding later,” he said, adding that the company was managed by his younger brother Divyank.

The 34-year-old younger sibling, who has been heading the business since inception, will continue to head it.

How the deal happened

“We never looked out for potential buyers ever, and none of these businesses are built with the idea of selling off. But when something comes along that makes strategic sense, then we are open to it,” the elder Turakhia said.

It all began with some inbound interests in the company from the US, and the duo decided to explore further options. They roped in BofA Merrill Lynch and Chinese firm CV Capital as advisors and in the process received a total of seven offers, of which three were from China.

The talks went on for about 6-7 months, before the brothers decided to sell it to the Chinese investors.

“There wasn’t much disparity in the valuation. China is a strategic market as the country is the second largest online advertising market in the world, and we didn’t have any revenues coming in from the region,” said Bhavin.

What next?

The brothers plan to invest the proceeds in other businesses such as Flock, Ringo and Zeta — companies that are on autopilot — as there are no specific “short-term plans.”

However, the brothers have no plans for an e-commerce start-up as of now.

“We have nothing against the sector. You should be passionate about the idea you have, that’s all. There are a number of ideas; it’s not that one is better than another.”

And the next big idea? “I am not looking at anything other than running the present businesses,” said Bhavin. “My hands are full”.

Published on August 23, 2016

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