Bessemer appoints India advisory group

New York's Bessemer Venture Partners, has formed an advisory group of four for its Indian operations and now has 14 members on its Mumbai team.

Bessemer Venture Partners has formed an advisory group for India comprising of Sridar Iyengar, Rama Bijapurkar, Rajeev Chitrabhanu and MK Sharma. The group will assist the firm’s India team in searching for and managing investment opportunities and will work with a few of the firm’s portfolio companies.

Iyengar, the chairman of the newly created group, is the former chief executive officer of KPMG India, the audit and advisory firm, and has 15 years of experience in dealing with investments in the India-US corridor, the firm said. He serves on the boards of of companies such as Infosys, the IT services company, and ICICI Bank, one of India’s largest.

Rob Chandra, India founding managing partner at Bessemer, said in a statement that “India is an exciting investment opportunity” for the firm. “Just as we saw the long term opportunity when we entered Silicon Valley in the 1970s, we see a similar opportunity in India driven by the growth in middle class prosperity and innovation,” he said.

Chandra added that the advisory group will combine local expertise with a global investment platform.

Bijapurkar is a business consultant and she serves on the boards of companies such as Infosys, Axis Bank, state-owned petroleum refining and retailing company Bharat Petroleum, and ICICI Prudential Life Insurance. Previously, she has worked with consulting firm McKinsey and Company, marketing research firm MARG (now AC Nielsen India), and as a full-consultant for Hindustan Lever (now Hindustan Unilever India), a consumer goods company.

Chitrabhanu is the chief executive and managing director of JM Financial Services. He has executed capital market transactions for clients such as Bharti, the telecommunications company; Cadbury's, the confectionary and beverage company; Iflex, an IT solution provider; Koutons, an apparel manufacturer; and Renuka Sugars, an integrated sugar company.

Sharma was until recently the vice chairman of Hindustan Unilever. He serves on the boards of ICICI Bank, ICICI Lombard General Insurance, footwear manufacturer Bata India, and investment bank Mitsubishi UFJ Securities.

Bessemer Venture Partners has offices in New York, Silicon Valley, Boston, Beijing, Mumbai and Israel. The firm manages $2 billion and has invested in more than 120 companies globally.

The firm allocated $350 million (€220 million) of a $1 billion fund it closed in June last year to investments in India and expanded its investment team there. Over the last four years, the firm has invested in 21 Indian companies and maintains a 14-strong team in the country.