Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thyagesh Baba

"The southern markets are waiting to boom. Good opportunity for corporates to graduate to the big league..."

Thyagesh Baba, founder director, Spark Capital
December 20, over lunch

Thyagesh Baba


Murali said...

About Spark...

Spark Capital Advisors Pvt. Ltd

Southern Investment Banking major, poised for take off

In mid 2001, Rama Rao & his ex-colleague Thyagesh were unsure of the road ahead, after quitting lucrative jobs at firms like Peregrine and Citibank and having dabbled with technology incubation activities, as part of EpowerN Ventures. Those were the times when the markets were in the midst of a bear hug and investment banking was at a nascent stage, with domestic and global corporate houses aggressively pushing to get a firm hold in the market. Rama Rao and Thyagesh spurned profitable offers from the industry and decided to build a full fledged investment bank, for the first time in South India.

However, the duo had nothing but their client relationships built over the years to leverage upon. Joined by another colleague/partner of theirs- Kapil, who himself quit a rewarding career at Standard Chartered, for the next two years they executed one-off transactions such as advising corporate houses on nuances of capital structuring and raising resources. These initial years were full of challenges and struggles, but their sheer determination paid off and laid a strong foundation for the current success of Spark Capital Advisors Pvt. Ltd.

Rama Rao and Thyagesh started Spark Capital as a boutique investment banking firm in 2001. In the same year, Spark played the role of key strategic advisor to Polaris to help it tie the knot with Orbitech, a USD 300 million transaction and one of the biggest and most talked about in the industry. Spark Capital had arrived. The next six years was a journey which took Spark Capital through the rough and tough of investment banking. The fact that the firm has handled large strategic fund raising and M&A mandates from some of the biggest and fast growing companies across India, involving transactions worth over US $ 1 billion, reiterates the rapid strides it has made.

Meanwhile the company has set up a separate practice for its securities & brokerage services, a dedicated research team and obtained Category I license for merchant banking, this year. As a result, it is emerging from being a boutique firm, to a full services investment bank, offering services spanning Investment Banking, Investment Management and Securities & Brokerage Services.

Today, sitting in their open set-up 2200 sq. ft office in Chennai’s upmarket Nungambakkam, Rama Rao and his partners are happy to have clocked YoY growth of 75% and also joke about the times when they lived with their single system and nothing else, and boast. After all, Spark Capital has had a hit rate of closing as high as 8 out of 10 deals, well above the industry norm.

Innovative approach, hands-on relationship banking, wide ranging investment banking expertise & the expert management team heading each of its service divisions, distinguishes Spark Capital from its competition. Importantly, adding value and creating opportunity even while ensuring a high level of integrity and honesty in what ever it does, has helped the firm gain a strong foothold in an arena where global majors and domestic biggies straddle.

About Spark Capital

Started in 2001, Spark Capital Advisors Pvt. Ltd is probably the few full services investment bank, headquartered in South India. With a Category I merchant banking license and a clientele that reads like a roster of the who’s who of business, Spark Capital has advised on fund raising and M&A transactions in excess of USD 1 billion and helped build value for entrepreneurs. The company provides corporate advisory, investment management and securities & brokerage services to companies in the sunrise or high growth sectors. Spark Capital has a history of identifying and working with chosen, promising companies in high-growth sectors, which have successfully built shareholder value over time. Headquartered in Chennai, Spark Capital has an office in Bangalore & will soon expand on-the-ground presence to Mumbai & Hyderabad.

Services provided

Investment Banking Services

Spark is a life-cycle investment bank, providing a full suite of services that support corporate relationships at every stage of business.

Corporate Advisory

Private equity syndication
Raising capital through equity/equity linked instruments

Mergers and acquisitions
Buy side/sell side mandate, transaction funding and balance sheet structuring

Project finance
Bidding advisory and SPV level financing

Equity Capital Market services

Open offers

Investment Management Services

The Investment Management Division provides institutions and High Net Worth families, opportunities to invest in private equity, public market and structured finance. The investment philosophy is driven by the fact that growth markets like India will consistently outperform in the long run. The key, in Spark’s opinion lies in the ability of the fund manager to spot the rising stars in the growth sectors, companies backed by strong management with the clear vision to maximise shareholders’ wealth. Spark Structured Finance Fund will leverage on the company’s presence in high quality deal flow in India and its strong relationships with reputed Private Equity Funds and Financial Institutions.

Securities & Brokerage services

The Securities and Brokerage division of Spark provides research-backed and insight driven recommendations to institutional investors. Spark Securities is a corporate member on the BSE, the NSE (Cash and derivatives) and on MCX.

Research and analysis

Spark’s research team generates Coverage reports, Maintenance reports – Quarterly / Event updates and Idea reports. Spark is distinct in both its coverage and approach to research. Spurning a one-report-fits-all methodology, Spark has created a valuable niche by focusing on a hitherto under-covered section of the market - South-based mid-cap companies in the Infrastructure, Outsourcing and Domestic Consumption areas.

The result – in-depth, incisive and unique reports which showcase new opportunities and enhance value, in true Spark tradition.

Strategic approach to investment banking

With unmatched domain expertise and senior involvement from start to finish, Spark Capital provides high quality, integrated, value-added transactions, corporate finance advisory services and investment banking solutions.

Spark focuses on the following key themes

Outsourcing Infrastructure Domestic Consumption

BPO Communication Retail

IT services Energy Financial services

KPO Transportation Branded Consumption

Engineering Urban Manufacturing

Spark Capital has been part of landmark deals in almost every sector.

Leadership profiles

Striking with the Midas touch

Rama Rao, Founder & Managing Director, Spark Capital

At 24, he was making board level presentations on behalf of peregrine Capital. However soon, the entrepreneurial energy in him saw him set up Spark Capital Advisors Pvt. Ltd, among the few boutique investment banking firms based in South India. Today, Rama Rao heads Spark Capital as Managing Director, a full services investment banking company with a strong management team and more than 20 qualified professionals in place. Rama Rao spearheads Spark’s deal sourcing efforts and is the mainstay in the negotiation and valuation stage of the transactions. He is recognized to possess the Midas touch among South India’s elitist business circles, with whom he has fostered close business relationships in the last eight years. After all, Spark Capital has completed strategic transactions worth over USD 1 billion successfully, and the company has wide investment banking expertise spanning complex transactions of different types. In the frenzied corporate office of Spark Capital in Chennai, Rama Rao is a picture of perfect calm and composure. In a very measured manner, he lets in on his secret, “Investment banking & the role of a corporate advisory is not about finance or negotiating deals, Spark Capital clearly emphasizes on a relationship banking approach and integrity & honesty of every transaction”.

Getting the management to the league tables

Thyagesh Baba, Director & Spokesperson, Spark Capital

If Thyagesh is pleased as punch, it’s not so much because of the successful transactions that Spark has advised and executed last year but more so because Spark Capital is now evolving to become a full services investment banking company, with the launch of its securities & brokerage division and a separate Research & analysis team. The company has advised and worked on its first IPO deal, for a leading infrastructure player. Thyagesh who co-founded Spark Capital with Rama Rao, is obviously in no mood to gloat over past success

An MBA from IIM-B, after a stint as Equity Research Analyst at Peregrine, Thyagesh shifted to a salesman role for equities with the same organization. He then moved to the Corporate Finance arm of Citibank at India (handling M & A advisory, Structuring and Value Investing assignments) before donning the role of a Corporate Relationship Manager, handling over 25 clients on the credit side, with Citibank at Bangalore. Acknowledged for his understanding of equity valuations and capital markets, Spark Capital banks on Thyagesh to provide thrust to its deal-sourcing activities, apart from furthering existing corporate relationships.

Management team (Can provide expert opinions for stories on their respective service segments, alone)

K. Ramakrishnan, Executive Director & Head - Investment Banking

K.Ramakrishnan heads the Investment Banking Group at Spark Capital. With over 16 years’ experience in organizations like Deloitte, Ind Global Financial Trust, Anderson and ICICI Securities, he is familiar with most forms of investment banking transactions. Ramakrishnan is an Engineer with an MBA (BIM, Trichy).

Venky Somasundaram, Head – Investment Management

An IIT-IIM graduate, with 13 years’ work experience, Venky heads Investment strategy and client management. Part entrepreneur himself, he specialises in strategy, operations and M&A. He has worked for Sify and EAP Global.

V Suresh Babu, Director and Head- Securities & Brokerage

Suresh has more than 15 years’ experience with stints at Synergy Login, Cholamandalam Securities and IL&FS Investmart, in the equity sales and asset financing segments. He is at the helm of the Securities and broking business and is in charge of Business Development, Research Strategy and Operations. He is an engineer with an MBA (BIM, Trichy).

Kapil R, Fund Manager-Asset Management

Kapil brings with him rich banking and finance experience of more than 12 years. He has worked for organisations like First India Asset Management, HDFC Bank, GE capital and Standard Chartered Bank, in diverse areas like research, corporate finance, trade finance and corporate banking. A statistics graduate with an MBA (BIM), he is currently Fund Manager at Spark.

For editorial enquiries, please contact: Sumathi M Chari, PRHUB @ 91.44.42317333/e-mail:sumathi@prhub.com

Murali said...

A recent story...


Murali said...

Also present at today's lunch meeting...

Kaushik and Venkatesh, final year production engineering students from NIT, Tiruchi

kaushik said...

hi murali(thats what he made me call him!!),

let me say a big THANK YOU for the opportunity you had given me yesterday.

interacting with thyagesh baba motivates the entrepreneur in everyone.Many of the confusions i had about risk taking, opportunity costs were straightened out.

as such a new dimension was given to the word risk itself..:)
I was able to appreciate his confidence when he casually said he would be flying his own plane in a few years.

Thyagesh has a very deep understanding of the economic situation in india and he has numerous plans to contribute effectively to the world around.
i think those ideas about self sustaining corporate ecosystems are yet to become popular.

had a lot to learn from him.