Shyamsunder Panchavati

Shyamsunder Panchavati
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Murthy picks MIT alumnus to head Catamaran
By siliconindia news bureau
Wednesday,20 January 2010, 07:36 hrs

Bangalore: In order to steer his Rs. 600 crore venture capital fund Catamaran Investments, Infosys' Chief Mentor, N.R. Narayana Murthy has selected Arjun Ramegowda Narayanswamy, an alumnus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). According to sources close to the development, Narayanswamy, who is in his 20s studied computer science engineering at MIT and is already working to build a team of six people who will be managing Catamaran.


Last year, Murthy and his wife sold part of their holdings in Infosys to start Catamaran in order to help the start-ups, reports Mint. Narayanswamy has worked for one-and-a-half years with Boston-based private equity firm Bain Capital Llc. Prior to that he started a venture in the mobile communication space during a stint as an entrepreneur. One person familiar with the situation said Narayanswamy has known Murthy's two children for some years now.

The assignment is certain to keep Narayanswamy in the limelight because the launch of Catamaran and Murthy's selection of the team to lead his venture capital vehicle is being closely tracked by his peers and the financial community. A venture capital industry veteran, who declined to be named, said venture investing is a team effort requiring various complementary skills such as deal-making capabilities, negotiating, deal sourcing and structuring. The right combination is what makes a fund click, he said.

Murthy in October sold shares worth Rs. 174.3 crore in Infosys to set up Catamaran. A month later, his wife Sudha Murthy sold shares worth Rs. 430 crore to back her husband's plan. Catamaran will be a sector-agnostic fund, and, according to people familiar with the initiative, the fund has already started weighing investment proposals and zeroed in on an initial transaction. The fund will look at areas such as healthcare, retail and technology.

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