One97, SAIF Partners to invest $100 Million in VAS firms

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Bangalore: In a bid launch $500 million funds to invest in mobile value added services companies, VAS provider One97 Communications has joined hands with Mauritius-based private equity firm SAIF Partners.
The fund, called One97 Mobility Fund, will invest anywhere in the region of 2 crore to 20 crore (around $0.5 million to $2 million) in early stage Indian companies occupying the mobile VAS space.

The Noida-based One97 plans to co-invest with Asia-focused private equity firm SAIF Partners, which holds around a 40 percent stake in One97. Both One97 and SAIF will allocate teams for deal sourcing, evaluation and ongoing assistance of investee companies. This comes even as the Noida-based One97 Communications plans to tap the markets with a 120-crore IPO. SAIF Partners holds about 40 percent stake in One97, while Intel Capital has less than 10 percent.

SAIF Partners, which has $4 billion in assets under management, has invested in companies like HomeShop18, Just Dial, MakeMyTrip and National Stock Exchange (NSE). It recently exited its investment in IT services firm Intelligroup, which was acquired by NTT Data, earning 5x on its investment.

One97 has already incubated and invested in as many as four startups. The latest of its investments came in Singapore-based tenCube, a mobile security services company, in which One97 picked up 21 percent for a sum of $1 million. The company's product - WaveSecure - offers users complete protection for their mobile device, data and privacy.

It has also backed Oorja, a customer analytics firm; Paytm, a mobile commerce platform and Oc2ps, a social networking application.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Managing Director, One97, believes with the 3G and BWA auction now behind them, telecom operators would now turn their attention to mobile value added services as they look at new avenues for margins and revenues. "All wireless spectrum has been set and now is the time that the extra value added services and startups offering these come to the forefront," he said.

Ravi Adusumalli, General Partner, SAIF said, "We are extremely excited to be part of the collaboration with One97. We sincerely believe that One97 and SAIF can add tremendous value to the mobile space and support game changing companies."

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