Ajay Relan, dean of Indian private equity, no more
Ajay Relan, one of the pioneers of private equity investing in India, passed away on Friday evening. He was 67 years old.
A former student of IIM-Ahmedabad, Relan was a partner of local private equity fund Xponentia Capital, which he co-founded in 2018.
Prior to founding Xponentia, Relan was the Founder and Managing Partner of CX Partners, which raised an Indian fund of $ 550 million in 2009. Prior to CX Partners, he founded the Indian operations of Citigroup Venture Capital International (CVCI) in 1996 .
Relan was also a member of the CVCI team which raised two global emerging market funds – $ 1.5 billion in 2005 and $ 4.3 billion in 2007. He also served on the board of directors of HT Media. , which is the parent company of Mosaic Media, and publishes VCCircle and Menthe.
PE leaders across the business world and the political spectrum mourn his loss.
“Ajay was a legend. A good human being who has lived his life on his own terms. A man who took the road less while traveling. A sort of big brother who has never set his sights on. Ajay will be missed. But never forget it. And I can’t thank him enough, ”said Ashish Dhawan, founder of ChrysCapital, in a LinkedIn obituary.
“Today is a dark day in the history of the Indian private equity and venture capital industry in India. The untimely death of Ajay Relan, one of the pioneers of the industry, has left a deep void, ”Sumeet Narang, co-founder of Samara Capital, said in a Linkedin post on Friday night.
“Ajay started the venture capital business in the mid-1990s and private equity in the late 1990s, which laid the foundation for the industry in India. Many of his proteges are now leaders in the investment sector, ”Narang’s message added.
Relan was instrumental in building a team of operational partners to support his portfolio with domain expertise during CX days. Relan also took on senior executives such as Jayanta Basu and Vivek Chhachi to help build one of India’s leading mid-market private equity funds.
During his career as an investor, he had led and been involved in numerous transactions with a total invested capital of over $ 2 billion.
In 2015, Relan decided to retire from the industry and hand over day-to-day operations to co-founder Jayanta Basu. “I don’t want to be in a position for so many years when there is enough talent in the company,” Relan told VCCircle in 2015.
But Relan returned to the PE sector in 2018 with two other industry veterans, founding Xponentia Capital.
Harsh Singhal, Managing Director of CDPQIndia, said, “A pioneer in our industry has passed away,” adding that Relan has inspired many talented people to join the industry.
JM Trivedi, the former Indian chief of private equity firm Actis, said Relan had a keen eye for a multi-bagger who was willing to take risks for the same. “I remember his bets on Lupine and Suzlon which turned out to be a huge success for CVC.”
He was a generous person and his generosity extended beyond his lifespan as Relan volunteered to donate his body and organs, said Rajeev Kalra, managing director and chief of India to the Rohatyn group.
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