Alok Mittal, co-founder of Jobsahead.com, which was acquired by Monster.com in May 2004, has joined venture capital firm Canaan India as Executive Director. Mittal is also a founding member of Band of Angels India.
Canaan Partners, a 19-year old Silicon Valley venture capital firm specialising in early-stage investing, has recently set up an investment office in Gurgaon. The office will initially focus on Internet and wireless investments in India.
Canaan Partners already has an Indian investment track record. In 2000, it had invested in Aztec Software, a software development firm, and in e4e, a diversified business-outsourcing firm.
“India historically has had a strong cultural bias for innovation, and now with proven technical talent and a strong local market, we believe the time is ripe for entrepreneurship to flourish. We are ready to provide first rounds of institutional capital and are already receiving many interesting business proposals,” said Mittal.
“With an office in place in India, Canaan will now focus on early and mid-stage investments, which offer greater growth potential,” said Deepak Kamra, a general partner at Canaan Partners.
“We can act as strong catalysts for companies in India by building and assisting them on strategic operations, market development, and corporate partnering. The growth potential here is mind-boggling,” Kamra added.
Kamra has made a number of trips to India in the past five years and has already reviewed about 40 business plans, nearly half of which are getting additional scrutiny. Canaan is likely to announce a new investment in an early-stage Indian Internet company in the next 30 days.
Canaan was an early-stage investor in successful US-based Internet companies such as DoubleClick, CommerceOne, Match.com and Blue Frog Mobile, and believes that similar opportunities exist in India.