Take a bunch of IT stalwarts, throw in some serious money, add a healthy pinch of mentoring ability and what you get will be something very much like Reservoir Investment Managers. The Bengaluru-based investment management company that funds tech ventures is just a few months old but its credentials are impeccable. And it has got big plans for the Indian IT start-up space.
It all started in early 2013, when Shailesh Ghorpade, then CEO of Azure Capital Advisors, approached his ex-boss TV Mohandas Pai to invest in his real estate fund. Despite “badgering” Pai, Ghorpade — who worked closely with Pai in his previous stint as member of the corporate planning team at Infosys — was unsuccessful. “He would always tell me, ‘Why don’t we do something in the space we are in?’” says Ghorpade, now managing partner, Reservoir Investment Managers.
Both realised that there was an ecosystem developing where people are leaving big technology companies to start their own ventures. Given their background, starting a fund to invest in these tech start-ups made imminent sense.
“We have operating experience. We have built companies and we know what it takes to grow a company. We don’t want to be entrepreneurs at this stage of our lives but we can be mentors and investors and help entrepreneurs,” says Pai.
After a long stint in Infosys from 1994 to 2011, where he held multiple roles, including as head of finance and HR, Pai is currently the chairman of Manipal Global Education. Apart from being a partner at Reservoir, he is also a partner at Aarin Capital, a $100-million fund he co-founded with Ranjan Pai that invests in healthcare and life sciences companies.
Pai then roped in another former colleague, V Balakrishnan, a 22-year Infy veteran and ex-CFO who quit as its board member in 2013. Bala, too, wears multiple hats &