Why Adventity attracts Wall Street clients

Indian outsourcing firm Adventity says its core values are relentless, unfailing commitment to quality and rigorous adherence to deadlines.
We talk to Niket Patankar, one of the founders of Adventity, a firm which spans the gamut of outsourcing for the financial services industry, about his aim to become the leading firm in its industry.

How did Adventity begin? What is the background of the founders?
Adventity was the brainchild of Kumar Subramanian, Ulhas Deshpande, Jagdish Iyer, Vivek Arora and me. We came together with financial services experience (commercial banking - credit cards and mortgages, investment banking, technology and consulting). Our idea was to create a full service outsourcing firm for the financial services industry, spanning traditional transaction processing domains of mortgages and credit cards, up through to the higher end - and at that time fledgling - knowledge process outsourcing world of research and analytics for Wall Street firms and commercial banks. We commenced operations in January 2004.

Can you explain your business?
Adventity is a fully integrated BPO/KPO firm servicing the financial services and travel industries with capabilities extending from the more traditional voice and transaction processing to high end qualitative and quantitative research and analytics. The pillars of our business are research and analytics, mortgages and payments processing.

We provide research and analytics services to Wall Street firms globally including investment banks, hedge funds, private equity shops, research houses, management consultants and mortgage firms. We have over 75 clients on 5 continents. We have profiled and researched over 10,000 companies in almost every market globally and bring a depth of accumulated knowledge and process to every engagement. We currently have offices in New York, Houston, London, Dubai, Mumbai, Chennai, Singapore, Seoul and Hong Kong and are expanding our footprint.

What is your value proposition?
For our research and analytics business, we enable our clients to leverage their in-house resources and maximize their analytical capabilities. Clients apply this value proposition differently, however the overall goal remains the same. For example, for investment banks and research houses, the attraction is access to a highly experienced talent pool at a fraction of the cost, coupled with quality and process improvements. For hedge funds and other buy-side clients, itÆs the ability to expand the breadth and depth of investment opportunity screening, in a timely manner. Our clients use our research capabilities to gain an understanding of industry and competitive dynamics.

Who are your main clients?
We work with a broad range of Wall Street firms. Among investment banks, we work with 12 of the top 20, as well as mid-market and boutique firms.

We also work with buy-side firms such as private equity shops, hedge funds (across strategies including credit / distressed / event driven / structured products), funds of funds, and venture capital firms. Additionally, we provide research services to management consultants as well as Fortune 500 / Global 1000 corporations.

What is the profile of your analysts?
Typically, our analysts come from Indian or global MBA schools or are chartered accountants and range from fresh business school graduates to experienced industry hires. All new hires go through our comprehensive proprietary analyst training program of 4-6 weeks û we provide our clients with ôvirtual analystsö and so we need to ensure they're trained to Wall Street standards. We also are very serious about continuing education and actively encourage and sponsor our analysts through the US-based CFA program.

How did you capitalize yourselves?
We received start-up funding of $10.5 million in December 2003 from a prominent Indian investor and recently closed our second round financing of $20 million in January 2007, led by Norwest Venture Partners. Promod Haque from Norwest joined our Board after the investment.

What is your sustainable competitive advantage in this business?
Our senior management teamÆs Wall Street experience is unmatched in the third-party KPO space û we have leveraged that knowledge to build a robust delivery model. Our core values are relentless, unfailing commitment to quality and rigorous adherence to deadlines and they pervade every aspect of our operations ranging from recruiting, training, execution, and quality to infrastructure, security and compliance.

AdventityÆs key competitive advantage lies in the depth and breadth of our domain knowledge that has resulted in our ability to deliver on even the most complex research assignments. Our robust recruiting and training programs, coupled with our reputation as providing the most comprehensive and complex career opportunities in the India market, ensures that we bring high-quality talent to every engagement. Combined with our rigorous knowledge transfer and documentation procedures, we facilitate transition of research services on large and small engagements, with minimal disruption to our clients.

What are your future plans?
Our goal is to be the number one provider in our space measured in terms of domain, competence and headcount as perceived by clients, employees and peers. WeÆre looking to grow from our current headcount of approximately 2600 to 3500 by year end and 5000 by end 2008.

We currently have seven delivery centres û four in Mumbai, two in Chennai and one in Dubai û and are in advanced talks to launch an Eastern European delivery centre and one more in China by year end.
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