A soft launch is an exercise where the fund managers reach out to prospective investors to gauge the investment sentiment before sending a formal offer.
MUMBAI: Kotak Mahindra's private equity fund is all set to raise its new fund of $300-350 million. The fund manager has hired placement consultant Guy Eugene to raise the money from global institutional investors, said three people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Kotak PE, led by Nitin Deshmukh, has been investing in Indian mid-market companies that are looking to raise growth capital.
"The fund's soft launch has already happened and a formal process will begin soon," said a person with knowledge of Kotak's fund raising plans.
A soft launch is an exercise where the fund managers reach out to prospective investors to gauge the investment sentiment before sending a formal fund raising offer.
"The $300-350 million fund will follow the hypothesis that was adopted by the initial funds," said another person privy to the group's plans.
Kotak Mahindra Group launched its alternative assets business in 2005 with different vehicles made to invest in pure play private equity, real estate and infrastructure, special situations and an equities fund. Till now, the group has invested a total of $2.5 billion across these asset classes.
Although Kotak PE has a strong track record and a good mix of portfolio, raising money in a tough environment, where global institutional investors are shying away from investing in Indian market, is going to be challenging.
"The fund has hired global placement consultant Guy Eugene to help it raise funds," said the third person with knowledge of the fund raising.
Such placement agents or firms help a fund manager connect with prospective global institutional investors and raise a fund faster. Besides, these agents help fund managers with structuring the fund and access the global investors who are looking at investing in these asset classes.
The spokesperson for Kotak Mahindra Group did not respond to an emailed query. Nitin Deshmukh, managing director of the PE fund, did not reply to calls and text messages sent on his phone.
The fund is reaching out to European family offices, Japanese and US-based institutional investors, sovereign wealth funds and global pension funds to invest in the new fund, said sources.
Global investors are now backing only fund managers with a track record and hence the funds that are on the road to raise funds have to show returns by making successful exits.
Kotak PE has so far invested in companies such as Manipal Hospitals, Intas, NATCO, Rubicon, Metahelix, Mahindra Aerospace, NSE, MCX, BVG, Bharat Serums & Vaccines, Muthoot Finance, Godrej Consumer, ING Vysysa, Novalead, Home Town and Sabare among others.
Data shows that though the total number of funds investing in India today has gone down, the total assets under management has risen steadily.