GSK Velu calls himself a parallel entrepreneur rather than a serial one, given that he now straddles four businesses- — medical technology company Trivitron Healthcare, eye care company Maxivision and his dental and dialysis joint ventures with Apollo Hospitals — at the same time. He recently sold his 37% stake in Metropolis Laboratories, a diagnostics chain, for ₹900 crore-1,000 crore after a boardroom tussle with his co-founders. “Out of the five companies I was involved in, Metropolis is my first exit after an 18-year involvement. Such long-term commitments always give you the best returns,” says the founder and managing director of the Trivitron Group of companies. Velu now plans to set up a family office with a corpus of ₹500 crore by January 2016 to invest in businesses that require early-stage (₹1 crore-5 crore) and growth (₹20 crore-50 crore) capital, and which will be run by a team of professionals.
Though the idea is to be sector-agnostic, Velu plans to leverage his expertise in healthcare to help fund disruptive ideas in this space. The idea is also to set up a private equity fund as part of his investment vehicle at a later date. “Real estate, which used to be the safest asset class in the past, has now become the least preferred asset class. Hence, the best returns always come from businesses that we know about and where we can contribute to growth either by actively managing the business or as an investor,” says Velu, whose networth — according to UBS — is around ₹2,300 crore; real estate makes up less than 10% of his total portfolio. Velu says that as a long-term entrepreneur, he now wants to help other businesses grow, even as he continues to scales his existing ventures. While Velu says he will rely on a team of professionals to help him in his new role as an investor, he will still be calling the shots when it comes to the businesses he controls.