India: True North founding partner Vikram Nirula quits

Vikram Nirula was responsible for investments in consumer companies, retail firms, financial services and industrials.

Vikram Nirula, a founding partner at private equity firm True North (formerly India Value Fund Advisors, or IVFA), which manages around $2 billion of assets, has resigned from his post to pursue new career options, said two people aware of the development.

Nirula, who has been with True North since March 2000, was instrumental in several leading investments by the homegrown private equity firm.

It is not known whether he will launch a new fund or join another private equity firm. When contacted, Nirula confirmed the development. “I can confirm that I have put in my papers and will not be part of new fund of True North,” Nirula said, without disclosing his future plans.

True North runs five separate private equity funds with a combined corpus of over $2 billion. A mail sent to True North had not elicited any response at the time of going to press.

Nirula was responsible for investments in consumer companies, retail firms, financial services and industrials.

His is the third top-level exit in the Indian private equity space in the past two weeks. Last week, US-based private equity fund Warburg Pincus India saw two exits—managing director and co-head for India Niten Malhan and another managing director Nitin Nayar.

“The increasing investors interest and focus on India market makes the heavyweights in the industry more confident of raising capital independently and hence have taken an entrepreneurial route,” said Anshul Lodha, director at recruitment agency Michael Page India.

The last one year has seen several exits at the top levels of the Indian arms of global and domestic private equity firms.

In October, Vishwarupe Narain, partner at TPG Growth, had left the growth-equity investment platform of US-based TPG to pursue new opportunities.

In February last year, Mathew Cyriac, co-head of the private equity business at Blackstone Group in India, quit the firm and acquired Florintree Advisors, a Mumbai-based alternative asset manager.

In December 2016, Baring Private Equity Asia managing director Lakshmiah Balachandra Naidu quit the buyout firm to set up his own private equity fund. Naidu joined Baring PE Asia in 2013, and was heading its India operations along with Jimmy Mahtani, also a managing director at the private equity firm.

“Ease of decision making when running your own funds is another important reason as most of the decision making in case of global funds happens through their investment committees based globally,” Lodha added.

The private equity sector saw robust growth in 2017.

India received a record $24.4 billion in private equity investments in 2017, 26% more than the previous highest of $19.3 billion recorded in 2015, according to data compiled by Venture Intelligence, a researcher focused on private company financials, transactions and valuations.

The 2017 deal value marked a 59% increase over the $15.4 billion India received in the previous year.

This article was first published on Livemint.com