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Billionaire Infosys founder Murthy to double private firm's investments

Catamaran Ventures, based in Bangalore, employs about 15 staff in India overseeing holdings spanning e-sports, insurance and Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp

Narayan Murthy

Narayan Murthy, Infosys Ltd. founder

Bloomberg

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The money manager of billionaire Infosys Ltd. founder Narayana Murthy will hire professionals and double its $1 billion in investments in the next five years, betting India will emerge as a high-quality manufacturing hub.

Catamaran Ventures LLP, which began operations in 2009, will raise its assets under management to as much as $2 billion and is exploring strategic partnerships in three new areas: deep tech, precision engineering and manufacturing, and renewables, according to Chairman MD Ranganath. That marks a shift from the firm’s prior focus on services, he said in a recent interview.

Murthy helped build Infosys into one of India’s national champions by pioneering a novel strategy of outsourcing technology services. His daughter, Akshata Murty, the wife of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, is a director at the British branch of the clan’s investment firm, a separate entity.
 
Catamaran Ventures, based in Bangalore, employs about 15 staff in India overseeing holdings spanning e-sports, insurance and Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp.

“For the next stage of India’s growth, manufacturing is clearly one of the trajectories,” Ranganath said. “The advantage for India is all this innovation can be tested in India for scale, and then taken to the global markets.”

To back this growth, Catamaran Ventures will actively seek partners to build businesses in the sub-sectors it selects, and add four specialists to its team of investment professionals, Ranganath said. It’s looking to close at least one such partnership in the next few months, he added.

Amazon Partnership

Murthy’s venture firm previously partnered with Amazon.com Inc. to build up Prione Business Services, which began by helping merchants get online to sell their wares before becoming a dominant vendor itself. Catamaran Ventures’ stake was ultimately bought out by Amazon.

The firm will continue to back early- and late-stage companies, according to Ranganath. Catamaran Ventures has also invested in social network Reddit and the National Stock Exchange, India’s largest bourse, according to its website.

Nearly a third of the firm’s investments are in early-stage companies and the rest is evenly split between late-stage and growth enterprises, according to President Deepak Padaki. The firm has also partnered with early-stage funds, he said. 

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First Published: May 24 2023 | 10:38 PM IST

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