Sunday, December 4, 2011

“INDIA to BHARAT” – The Changing Trajectory

The highest density of Mercedes cars in India in terms of per capita ownership and in terms of dealership is in Ludhiana, a poultry business in Coimbatore, a power equipment and turnkey solutions provider in Sangli, Indore based Prakash Snacks and many more like them have a lot in common: headquartered in non metro cities, run by entrepreneurs that are hungry for success and have risk taking appetite and also have received private equity funding. Private Equity funds are beginning to recognize the potential of the non-metro markets. It has started to acknowledge the mettle of entrepreneurs in these Tier II cities by showing confidence in their thoughts and the business plans and funding for their dream projects. Examples like: • Pedigree American venture capitalist Sequoia Capital has bought $30 million stake in Indore-based Prakash Snacks, makers of Yellow Diamond brand potato chips, as large financial investors aggressively chase tier-II food and beverage brands appealing to India's broader consumption story. • Fidelity Growth Partners invested $20 million in Shreem Electric Ltd, a power equipment and turnkey solutions provider in Sangli, Maharashtra. Examples like these have started to be come to fore in the last 18-24 months and these private equity (PE) deals show how capital has begun flowing to companies in low-income states and smaller cities. According to a recent study and rankings bi IFC is was apparent that five out of top nine cities in ‘ease of doing business’ are in non-metro cities, it also highlights the aspirations of the entrepreneurs from these cities to make it big which clearly attracts private equity to the real Bharat. Though funding the companies from these cities has its own set of challenges which results in small number of investors in these regions. Firstly the deal sizes on an average are smaller as compared to the metro cities, which brings to fore the gap in the confidence by the investors, though the confidence is getting established with each passing day. Secondly there is a lack of proper management system to be followed. The depth in the management decisions is quiet shallow and so the business relies mostly on the quick decision making processes and the entrepreneurial zeal but not on the system and processes. And lastly there is a requirement of higher level of commitment by the senior management of the businesses because PE not only provides the finance but also adds value, understands the entrepreneur’s mindset and emotions which could be different from the metro-city entrepreneur. Even though with these gaps still hampering the flow of investment in these regions, it still wide opens the door of opportunities for PE to invest their money in non-metro cities as the opportunity saturation point level is about to reach its highest mark in the metro cities coupled with the testing times in this economic turmoil environment. So with the robust demand for and growing understanding of the entrepreneurs’ businesses in these small cities attached with the flow of funds from Private Equities, the trend is now evident - Reaching the Real Bharat for the Real Opportunities.

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