Wipro sets up $100 mn VC fund to invest in start ups; Rishad Premji to head

The importance of this venture can be seen from the fact that the Chairman's son will be spearheading it. Sources who were familiar with this key initiative said that traditional IT firms face threat from start-ups which have increasingly come up with disruptive technologies that have changed the landscape in the IT and ITeS sector, reports Economic Times.

FP Staff September 08, 2014 07:52:28 IST
Wipro sets up $100 mn VC fund to invest in start ups; Rishad Premji to head

Rishad Premji, the quiet and unassuming son of Azim Premji, Chairman, Wipro will be heading the venture capital arm of the company that will look at investing in start-ups up to $100 million initially, reports newspapers. This is for the first time that an Indian IT firm has invested in such a fund, reports the Business Standard.

According to a report in the Times of India, the programme, which nurtures ideas from variousbusiness units, recentlyfunded the idea of a commodities trading and risk management (CTRM) platform that has the goal to grow to a $50-million practice in three years.

Globally, majors such as Intel, SAP and Microsoft have such ventures. Though such funds are intended to make profitable investments, often it also helps the parent companies to spot suitable start-ups that add value to theirs.

Rishad Premji had looked at start-ups being incubated by Nasscom, but has not shown interest in any of them yet, the BS report said.

The importance of this venture can be seen from the fact that the Chairman's son will be spearheading it. Sources who were familiar with this key initiative said that traditional IT firms face threat from start-ups which have increasingly come up with disruptive technologies that have changed the landscape in the IT and ITeS sector, reports TheEconomic Times.

Wipro has not confirmed the development to the newspapers, but ET report has said it would make an announcement next month.

Wipro is India's third largest IT services exporter. It may be recalled that the company recently made a $195 million all-cash acquisition ATCO I-Tek, the IT-services arm of the utilities and logistics company ATCO in Canada. This acquisition was the second-largest buy for Wipro after its $600 million acquisition of Infocrossing Inc, the US-based IT firm in 2007.

More acquisitions at Wipro may be underway. At the company's AGM last week, Premji had said that the company would continue to look at acquisitions to strengthen its presence in growth areas, newspapers reported.

Rishad Premji, at present CTO at Wipro, joined Wipro Technologies in 2007 in the banking and financial services vertical as business head for special projects. Before joining Wipro, Rishad was working for Bain & Co, at London. Prior to that, he worked for GE Capital in the US in the insurance and consumer lending space. He is a graduate of GE's Financial Management Program. An MBA from Harvard, Premji has also spent a year at London School of Economics, and was recognised as a Young Global Leader 2014 by the World Economic Forum.

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