Norwest Venture makes first local hire in India

Norwest Venture Partners, a US venture capital firm, has made its first hire in India after operating in the country from abroad since late 2003. The firm is expected to hire two more partners following the appointment of Niren Shah as managing director.

Norwest Venture Partners, a Californian venture capital firm, has recruited Niren Shah as managing director to lead its India investment efforts from Mumbai. Shah’s joining represents Norwest efforts to create a local presence after operating from the US since the firm made its foray into India toward the end of 2003.

Shah will focus on investments in consumer internet, digital media, next-generation services and mobile sectors, according to a statement.

Prior to his joining, Promod Hague, a managing partner at Palo Alto-based Norwest Venture Partners has been flying to India about once every six weeks, a spokesman said. Norwest has made five direct investments in India, and 20 what it calls ‘hybrid’ or cross-border portfolio companies with operations in both the US and India.

Hague said: “The Indian market continues to show great potential, and in the next several months, NVP India will aggressively hire senior investment professionals and invest in new high caliber businesses to capitalize on this growth.”

He will soon be joined by two more partners, according to the spokesman for Norwest.

Shah was senior director of strategy and ventures at eBay in California before joining Norwest. At eBay, he was responsible for considering new business opportunities, acquisitions and potential investments, before which, he was part of the original management team of Baazee.com, an Indian shopping website which was integrated into eBay. Before joining Baazee in 2000, he worked at KMPG India’s corporate finance arm where he was managing mergers and acquisitions in the technology, media and telecom sector.