Intel Capital targeting India, other emerging markets

Intel Capital invests in three Indian companies as it expects the next billion PC and mobile users will come from emerging markets.

Intel Capital, the venture capital arm of Intel, is targeting India and other emerging markets as the next growth opportunities.

"India and the rest of the emerging markets are the primary focus for Intel Capital for the next decade, as we believe that the next billion PC and mobile users will come from these markets," Sudheer Kuppam, managing director of Intel Capital for India, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia, said on Thursday.

Intel Capital said on Wednesday that it invested US$23 million in three Indian companies, taking the total number of companies in which Intel Capital has invested in India to over 60.

The funding comes from a US$250 million Intel Capital India Technology Fund, that was set up in 2005.

Intel Capital's investment strategy is to invest in businesses that build awareness and demand for technology among the masses which in turn will drive demand for Intel's PC and mobile internet devices (MID) technologies, Kuppam added.

About 40 percent of the fund has already been invested. Last year, for example, the company invested $51 million in nine deals, Kuppam said. The focus this year is likely to be more on later stage companies because of the lower valuations available as a result of the economic downturn, he added.

Venture capitalists are flush with cash to invest in India, despite the economic downturn, although they are now a little more careful to jump into a deal, said Sanjay Anandaram, a partner at JumpStartUp Venture Fund, a US$45 million venture fund with headquarters in Mauritius.

Investing in technology companies that enable the delivery of services to consumers, whether they are education, entertainment, or financial services, is seen as a growth opportunity in India by venture capitalists, Anandaram said.

One97 Communications, one of the companies Intel has invested in, is a provider of telecommunications value added services, targeting carriers, consumers, and enterprises. Intel has also invested in IndiaMART.com, an online marketplace that connects Indian suppliers with domestic and international buyers.

The third company, Global Talent Track, addresses the current gap in the demand and supply of trained manpower, providing short and long term courses in a number of vocational fields. It also works closely with universities and industry to design career oriented learning content, and provide the technology platform appropriate to host the content and manage the learning delivery process.

In India, Intel is focused on investing on companies working in the area of green IT, WiMax services, consumer Internet, and education, Kuppam said.

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John Ribeiro

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