Pande leaves DSP Merrill for the buy-side

Venture capital firm Sequoia Capital hires Abhay Pande from DSP Merrill Lynch to manage its late-stage investing fund.
Abhay Pande has become an executive director at private equity firm Sequoia Capital in India where he will manage the late-stage investing fund set up by the firm last year.

Sequoia Capital claims to be the "Entrepreneur Behind the Entrepreneurs" and has invested in companies that constitute 10% of the value of Nasdaq. On its website, Sequoia says it has been the chosen partner of people like Steve Jobs from Apple Computer and Larry Ellison from Oracle.

In India, as elsewhere, SequoiaÆs primary focus has been on early-stage investing. "Sequoia is one of the only firms operating in India with a genuine focus on venture and growth capital," says a banker.

However, the opportunity for late-stage investing in the country is compelling, so last year the firm raised $400 million for a new fund to invest in this space. It has already closed an investment in Idea Cellular, and sources close to the fund, say it is currently awaiting approval on other investments. Typically, investments from this fund will be in the $10-$50 million range.

To spearhead the late-stage investing effort, Sequoia has hired Abhay Pande. Pande, who joined Sequoia at the end of June, is setting up the Mumbai office for the Bangalore-based firm. Sequoia is expected to announce further Mumbai hires shortly.

Pande will be sector agnostic, in line with the fund's focus. It is expected that he will draw on experience gained at DSP Merrill Lynch where he focused on real estate, and at McKinsey where he focused on media, entertainment and manufacturing. This should stand him in good stead when sourcing and closing investments, say bankers who know Pande.

Pande was the head of real estate and infrastructure investment banking at DSP Merrill Lynch. In this role he led capital raisings for Indian companies, including the largest Indian initial public offering for DLF. Pande joined DSP Merrill Lynch in January 2004 and was with them until June 2007. Before that he worked at McKinsey in Mumbai and Johannesburg.

Pande has an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta and a graduate degree in computer science and engineering from IIT in Bombay.
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