Sequoia India loses senior VCs

Four managing directors who established Sequoia's presence in the country in 2006 have quit to return to public equity investing.

In a move that casts a shadow over Sequoia Capital’s India prospects, the four founding members of the firm’s operations there have left to start a business dedicated to investments in India’s public markets.

Managing directors Sumir Chadha, KP Balaraj, SK Jain and Sandeep Singhal joined Sequoia when the US firm merged with Bangalore-based venture capital firm WestBridge Capital Partners to establish Sequoia Capital India in 2006.

Following their departures, the four will continue to represent Sequoia Capital on the boards of certain portfolio companies, but will not be involved in new transactions, according to a statement.

It is not known whether their departures trigger any key man clauses. Sequoia Capital declined to comment beyond its statement.

Sequoia has moved quickly to try to fill the void left by the departures, promoting Abhay Pandey, GV Ravishankar, Mohit Bhatnagar, Shailendra Singh and VT Bharadwaj internally to managing director level and naming them as new regional heads.

They are among the 12 executives who remain on Sequoia’s India investment roster, according to the firm’s website.

Pioneering India’s venture capital industry, Chadha and Balaraj founded WestBridge in 2000. They were joined in their efforts the following year by Jain and Singhal.

Prior to the merger, Sequoia and WestBridge had consorted on several deals, including the acquisition of a 15 percent stake in internet portal IndiaTimes.com for $36 million (€28.5 million). That transaction saw them stave off competition from London-listed private equity firm 3i, which set up an office in Mumbai in March 2005.

In 2005, WestBridge closed its second fund with $200 million of commitments, bringing its total assets under management then to $350 million. According to media reports, up to $60 million of WestBridge Ventures II remain uninvested.

Sequoia Capital Indian operates from offices in Bengaluru, Mumbai and New Delhi.