Ashok Soota may have quit his first entrepreneurial venture — MindTree, rather abruptly, but that is not stopping global private equity giants to bet their funds on this technology veteran, who has a career spanning more than four decades.
The Carlyle Group and IDG Ventures, among the top notch PE/VC players globally, are understood to be in the final lap to invest as much as $25 million in Ashok Soota’s new software exports company — Happiest Minds. Soota quit MindTree Ltd early this year which he co-founded nearly a decade ago.
Soota, last week, announced the launch of Happiest Minds, a “new generation IT services company” which will distill the power of emerging technologies such as cloud computing, social media, mobility solutions, unified communications, business intelligence and analytics to bring a range of benefits to enterprise clients.
Soota, to build the foundation of the new company, over the last few months raised around Rs 130 crore by offloading a majority of his holding in MindTree Ltd to Coffee Day Holdings chairman V G Siddhartha, an existing investor in MindTree.
If IDG Ventures happens to strike this deal to invest in Happiest Minds, it will be the second time around that Sudhir Sethi, a Wipro veteran, will be backing Soota. Sethi, is presently heading IDG Venture India and was earlier heading Walden India, a PE fund which was among the initial investors who invested in MindTree. While IDG Ventures and Ashok Soota did not respond to queries on the fund raise, Carlyle could not be reached for their views.
IDG Ventures India is presently investing from its $150 million India fund and is part of the US-based IDG Ventures which has $6.8 billion under management.
On the other hand, The Carlyle Group is a global alternative asset manager with approximately $153 billion of assets under management across 89 funds and 49 fund of fund vehicles as of March 31, 2011.
Carlyle for its Asia investments is currently investing from its Carlyle Asia Growth Partners IV, a $1.04 billion sector agnostic growth capital fund. This fund recently invested $26 million in a budget housing project promoted by another reputed entrepreneur Jaithirth (Jerry) Rao.