Freecharge Chief Ku­nal Shah Joins Se­quoia as Ad­viser

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Biswarup.Gooptu@ times­group.com

New Delhi: Freecharge co-founder Ku­nal Shah has joined ven­ture cap­i­tal firm Se­quoia Cap­i­tal as an ad­viser, in the process deep­en­ing an ex­ist­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two par­ties, ac­cord­ing to sources close to the de­vel­op­ment.

Shah, who is also chair­man of the Snapdeal-owned dig­i­tal pay­ments plat­form, is ex­pected to play an ac­tive role in men­tor­ing Se­quoia’s large port­fo­lio spread across In­dia and South Asia.

Shailen­dra Singh, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Se­quoia Cap­i­tal, is be­lieved to have played an ac­tive role in bring­ing Shah on board, ac­cord­ing to the sources cited above. Queries sent by ET to Shah did not elicit any re­sponse at the time of go­ing to press. How­ever, he an­nounced the same across mul­ti­ple so­cial me­dia plat­forms. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween Shah and Se­quoia goes back al­most six years af­ter the in­vest­ment firm first backed Freecharge, then a largely recharge coupons busi­ness, in 2011.

Se­quoia par­tic­i­pated in ev­ery fund­ing round of Freecharge, in­clud­ing an $80 mil­lion in eq­uity fi­nanc­ing raised by the com­pany just prior to its ac­qui­si­tion by Jasper, which was an­nounced in April 2015, for an es­ti­mated $400-$450 mil­lion, mak­ing it, at the time, the largest M&A deal to have been struck in the In­dian startup ecosys­tem. The cash-and-stock deal also gave Se­quoia a foothold in Snapdeal. The de­vel­op­ment comes less than a year af­ter Shah,as­sumed the role of chair­man at Freecharge, fol­low­ing the ap­point­ment of former Bharti Air­tel se­nior ex­ec­u­tive Govind Ra­jan as the CEO last May..

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