Packer, Partners Establish Indian VC Fund

New Delhi, India-Three wealthy individuals last week formed India's largest venture-capital fund, boasting a monetary base of $250 million and aiming to invest in some of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy.

The backers of the venture-capital fund, known as KVP Ventures, are Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer, chairman of Consolidated Press Holdings; Ketan Parekh, who heads leading Indian stockbroker Ketan Parekh & Associates; and Vinay Maloo, chairman of telecommunications firm Himachan Futurist Communications Ltd.

Each individual has contributed an equal sum to KVP Ventures' capital base.

The fund will focus on investments in computer software; electronic commerce; telecommunications; media and entertainment; and biotechnology. "We are going to promote and fund ideas that will become big stories in the future," Parekh said.

"We are lucky enough to invest in a country of the future," Packer said at a press conference. "Without a doubt, it is the No. 1 [investment destination outside of Australia] from our global point of view. We are putting our money where our mouth is."

In a separate deal, Packer's CPH bought a 10 percent stake in HFCL for $238 million. Packer also announced a joint venture with HFCL to start a software company and an e-commerce venture.

"We haven't got a percentage [earmarked for India]. We have committed a reasonable amount of money at this moment of time for India. If we see more opportunities, we will commit more money," Packer added.

Packer has made frequent business trips to India over the past two months. His decision to set up KVP Ventures came close on the heels of Rupert Murdoch's heavily publicized visit to India in early March.

Packer, though, is not taking on his old rival in their usual battlefield of broadcasting and entertainment. He shrugged off references to Murdoch, saying, "I don't think he is competition."