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Friday, February 09, 2001

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Venture Capital fund pool at new height

Our Bureau

BANGALORE, Feb. 6

INDIA'S aggregate venture capital fund pool reached a new high at $2.5 billion. An additional $770 million of fresh capital had come to the country in 2000, an eight per cent increase as compared to the preceding years.

It is the highest growth compared to all other Asian countries, says Asia Private Equity Review, the Hong Kong-based publication which reports on equity investment activities in Asia.

``This is by far the strongest pledge of faith in the future of India's IT,'' said Ms Kathleen Ng, Editor and publisher of the review.

Defying the global slide on technology plays, India continued to attract keen interest from investors. Before the end of December, Softbank Inc and ePartners announced an additional $150 million in eVenture India. In mid January, the US network equipment giant, Cisco Systems Inc., allocated $50 million for its venture capital investment in India.

Of the 13 Asian countries whose fund-raising activities were surveyed, India was the only country that focused entirely on venture capital. The trend underscored investors' confidence on IT opportunities in India.

The magazine estimated that an additional $12 billion would be raised during the year. If all of them materialised, India's venture capital fund pool would soon join the top five largest in Asia.

``No country has witnessed changes in such a magnitude as India,'' commented Ms Ng.

In response to global investors's interest in India, the review would present its second summit in Bangalore on February 21 and 21.

This event seeks to assess the risks and rewards in investing in India's IT industry. It would bring together global institutions such as GE Equity, International Finance Corporation, Netherlands Development Finance Company, Silicon Valley Bank, Salomon Smith Barney and Fidelity Capital, representing some $15 billion.

Among other participants expected are London Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and SEBI. The event is sponsored by Shroder Capital Partners (Asia) and F.M.Warburg Pincus and Co Asia.

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