Avendus, backed by KKR, will use technology investment banking deals in Southeast Asia

  • India’s Avendus to launch investment banking in Southeast Asia
  • KKR-backed Avendus managing director Gupta will relocate to Singapore
  • Avendus expects Southeast Asia to grow rapidly in the coming years

MUMBAI, Oct 17 (Reuters) – Indian financial services firm Avendus will start offering investment banking services from Singapore to cash in on an expected boom in technology deals in the Southeast Asian region.

Majority-owned by U.S. private equity giant KKR, Avendus is best known in India for advising big start-ups such as SoftBank-backed food delivery firm Swiggy ( 9434.T ) and eyewear retailer Lenskart on recruitment of funds.

Karan Sharma, managing director of Avendus in India, said the Singapore operations will focus on advising $40-50 million technology sector funding rounds in Southeast Asia.

Sharma said Avendus India managing director Varun Gupta will lead operations in Southeast Asia and will move to Singapore early next year.

“The tremendous growth we have seen in India over the last 8-9 years is what we are expecting now in Southeast Asia, which has also grown. The demographic and infrastructure challenges are similar,” said Sharma, who co-heads Avendus Digital & Technology Investment Banking in India.

Over the past decade, India has been a sought-after market for tech investors such as Tiger Global and SoftBank as many companies have raised billions of dollars and made their market debuts in line with the growing adoption of smartphones, digital payments and online shopping.

But India’s startups have also faced criticism for unrealistic and high valuations, and many have struggled with a financial crisis and laid off employees during the recent tech market crash.

Southeast Asia is also on the radar of investors seeking exposure to emerging markets as the region is witnessing strong economic growth, a growing population and consolidation in some sectors. Companies such as ride-hailing companies Grab ( GRAB.O ) and GoTo ( GOTO.TA ) have already been valued at multibillion dollars.

Dealmaking in Southeast Asia should help boost Asian mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the second half of the year, bankers told Reuters in June. The region was the source of the largest M&A deal in Asia Pacific this year, Refinitiv data shows.

Expanding into Southeast Asia will also help Avendus grow its relationships with investors such as Accel and Lightspeed that have expanded outside India, said an industry source familiar with Avendus’ plans.

Avendus employs about 150 bankers in India, and data from Venture Intelligence shows it was the top advisor in India for private equity deals in 2022, advising on 37 deals worth $7 billion. It competes with larger rivals such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

Reporting by M. Sriram, additional reporting by Yantoultra Ngui in Singapore, editing by Aditya Kalra and Sharon Singleton

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Sriram leads Reuters’ deal coverage in India, including reporting and writing on private equity funds, IPOs, venture capital, corporate M&A and regulatory changes. His reporting includes highlights of major transactions, as well as more in-depth analysis and insightful stories about the inner workings of companies, funds and industry trends that fly under the radar. He has been a business journalist for five years by training, after graduating from the Asian College of Journalism’s Bloomberg Program in Financial Journalism. He has completed the introductory group of the course. Contact: +919632913911

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