Consumer Tech & Large Opportunity is Nasper's Pick for Investment Reveals India Head

In a conversation with Entrepreneur India, Naspers India Head of Investments Ashutosh Sharma explained the rationale that goes behind making an investment

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Naspers Limited is not a new name to the startup ecosystem.

Data reveals that after having made an early investment in Chinese internet company Tencent, which turned out to be extraordinarily successful; as of 2018, Naspers has an approximately 31 per cent stake in Tencent, and is, by far, the largest shareholder of Tencent stock.

In its India portfolio, Naspers made its big splash last month with an investment of $1 billion in India's foodtech giant Swiggy.

While the company’s operations are in the internet communication, entertainment, gaming and e-commerce space, its focus on technology is clear. Founded in 1915, Naspers is a global internet and entertainment group and one of the largest technology investors in the world.

It is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and has an ADR listing on the London Stock Exchange.

In a conversation with Entrepreneur India, Naspers India Head of Investments Ashutosh Sharma explained the rationale that goes behind making an investment.

“We work on a deal-by-deal basis; we don’t have a fund and therefore that gives us the flexibility to go slow when we don’t want to be aggressive. The second point is we don’t have a geographical allocation so if we find an interesting opportunity in India we will get it,” Sharma said.

He spoke about the two filters for the company for investment – one is consumer tech and the second is large opportunity.

Rationale Behind Investment

Naspers is one of the largest technology investors in the world, seeking to invest in companies with the greatest growth potential.

‘We are investing for returns but for absolute gains too because any investment Naspers makes must make an impact on its market cap and therefore a large space, slightly mature company and growing nicely is what we look for,” explained Sharma.

According to him, Naspers takes keen interest before investing and investigates minutely on the feasibility of the project it invests in, the companies that have the potential and Naspers’ aspiration for not only return but also seek gains.

India Play

Sharma said India has been very successful – we have portfolio companies like Swiggy, MakeMyTrip, PayU, OLX – so all top companies.

He sees India as a massive growth opportunity in the near future. “Appropriate regulatory environment and matured entrepreneurs will contribute to the nations’ growth; Naspers is looking forward to investing in India in coming years.”

Government Support Crucial

Sharma spoke about how the government helping investors in growing the startup ecosystem in India is being helpful.

“More recently what they have seen that there is fundamental change on the tax code, there are changes in FDI caps and all these things put together gives the investor comfort,” said Sharma. He said that government is also giving cushion to the entrepreneur and helping entrepreneurs by bringing in the policies that support the entrepreneur.

Sharma sees India grow because of the wisest choices of the smart entrepreneurs in the country.

Disclaimer: Naspers had stake in Flipkart at the time of the interview. The company sold its stake in the company late 2018.


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