We talk to a firm that helps family offices gain access to promising startups and similar investments. Among its most promising areas, it says, is the intersection of UK and Indian economic activity. The prospects of a trade deal between the countries is a fresh impetus.
India’s business links to the UK are in the limelight. Disruptions to global supply chains linking China to the West play to India’s strength as an alternative supplier.
The UK wants to build trade relationships after Brexit. And all the while, India’s family-owned business traditions make that country fertile soil for family offices.
Family offices know that India’s youthful demographics, IT savvy, rising affluent middle class and international connections make an attractive business proposition, even more so under the Najendra Modi administration that has sought to shake up the economy. The hard part is obtaining access.
This is where a firm such as JPIN, a 12-year-old startup investment banking platform, sees itself playing a role. Gaurav Singh, based in London, founded the firm because he saw a need to help investors such as family offices get a seat at the table. The platform connects entrepreneurs between India and the UK, but that’s not the sole focus of its business.
“Many family offices want to be in the top 10 of firms in India, Latin America and the rest of the world,” he told this news service.
The India-UK nexus is a big area. The countries are in free talks, although specific timings have been thrown into some doubt given that Boris Johnson has been ousted as UK prime minister. (The Conservative Party is in the process of choosing a new leader. Ironically, one of its candidates, former finance minister Rishi Sunak, is of Indian descent and his wife is an India citizen.)
“The importance of the UK-India commercial relationship cannot be understated – it is currently worth £24 billion ($29.3 billion) in terms of trade and is projected to double by 2030 with the Free Trade Agreement, which holds huge potential for the increased collaboration between both countries,” Singh said.
“Not only that, but India is one of the leading countries in terms of tech. It’s dubbed as Asia’s ‘Silicon Valley’ for good reason – its dynamic population and appetite for innovation makes it the perfect breeding ground for high-growth unicorns and decacorns,” he continued. “This comes at a time when the UK is experiencing a severe skills drought in the tech sector, and could benefit significantly from the huge pool of talent that India has. The UK and India have always had a strong historical partnership and, going forward, it looks like this will continue – especially in the post-Brexit era, which has highlighted the importance of international strategic cooperation.”
Singh is upbeat. In 2021, the organisation closed 40 investments.
Large and very large
And JPIN has a particular approach to the sort of startups and young firms it likes and avoids. Singh prefers “decacorns” to “unicorns.” The former is a startup company valued at more than $10 billion (a unicorn is valued at $1.0 billion or more).
The reason for this focus is that there is less potential for failure. Decacorns tend to be more geographically diverse, hence they are likely to have more robust earnings, Singh continued.
JPIN is more interested in emerging markets where opportunities
for growth are less saturated.