High-profile ex-honchos create conduit firm for VCs | business | Hindustan Times
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High-profile ex-honchos create conduit firm for VCs

Four honchos who have been there and done that inventing their own little future amid an industry slowdown. And a new class of high-profile middlemen has been created, reports Manoj Gairola.

business Updated: Feb 02, 2009 21:05 IST
Manoj Gairola

Four honchos who have been there and done that inventing their own little future amid an industry slowdown. And a new class of high-profile middlemen has been created.

The former India heads of four frontline corporate labels, matching their pedigree with their IIT degrees, have come together to act as funneling partners for multinational companies and venture capitalists seeking opportunities India, keeping the faith that the India story is intact despite current hiccups in the economy.

Phi Enterprises Ltd, plans to be a conduit for partnerships and funding for Indian firms.

The four former chief executives who make up Phi are Ravi Sharma, who once headed telelcom equipment maker Alcatel Lucent’s South Asia unit; Pramod Saexna, who used to run Motorola’s South Asia operations; B.D. Khurana, former group president of Reliance Infocomm (later Reliance Communications); and Sanjiv Gupta, who headed Coca Cola India ( after a flaming failure called Amitabh Bachchan Corp).

“We have tied ups with many venture capital firms who have interest in India,” said Sharma, who is the CEO of the newly formed company which has interests in cutting-edge telecom areas like WiMAX, Mobile TV, 3G, IPTV and MVNO (mobile virtual network operators) through its sister concern Phi Televentures Pvt Ltd.

“In short, we want to create, incubate, evaluate and qualify business opportunities in India,” said Sharma.

The company will also provide management support in setting up and operationalise the businesses by providing the support for set up, running, technical and planning. It will also provide marketing and regulatory support to them.

Sharma headed Alcatel Lucent from 2003-2007. During his tenure its revnues went up from $35 million to more than $1.2 billion.

Saxena headed Motorola India from 1998 to 2004. He is also the founder and chairman of Oxigen Prepaid Services Ltd, the largest independent recahrge company having 50000 points of presence in India.

Sanjiv Gupta headed Coca Cola in 2003-04 and is credited with taking the brand to rural areas, aided by advertising poster boy Prasoon Joshi’s famous slogan, “Thanda matlab Coca Cola” (A cold drink means Coca Cola).

BD Khurana headed Reliance Infocom from 2001 till 2007.