India’s top mutual fund managers, managing assets worth over $250 billion, met founders and top management officials of some of the country’s largest unicorns such as Swiggy, Unacademy, and Meesho among others in Bengaluru, earlier this week, according to people aware of the matter.
These meetings, hosted by SoftBank and JP Morgan, were aimed at discussing business progress and understanding public market investors better, as these firms prepare for an eventual public listing. There was no discussion on IPO timing, the people cited above said.
More than 14 domestic institutional investors (DIIs) including HDFC MF (mutual fund), Axis MF, Mirae Asset MF, ICICI Prudential, and UTI, flew down to Bengaluru on August 3 and August 4, sources said. Founders and top management of as many as 10 unicorns, including Mamaearth, Acko, ElasticRun, and Lenskart, also met these asset managers to discuss their IPO (initial public offering) plans.
The meeting comes at a time when many unicorns, over the last two years, had openly talked about getting publicly listed in the medium term. For instance, SoftBank-backed Unacademy had said in February that it will eye an IPO in the next 24 months.
Moreover, the interest shown by India’s top DIIs also underlines their optimism about India’s well-funded startups, especially, as it comes at a time when some of the unicorns that got publicly listed last year, have seen their stock prices falling sharply, with public market investors raising concerns over their profitability and growth numbers.
"DIIs are a vital constituent of the Indian stock market, and they will only get more important with time,” said Sumer Juneja, Managing Partner, and India Head, SoftBank Investment Advisers.
“As more tech companies go public and become a more significant part of the indices, it is essential for these two constituents to build a relationship and understand each other better,” Juneja added.SoftBank, which hosted the event, saw two of its biggest portfolio companies--Paytm and Policybazaar--getting publicly listed in India last year. However, shares of both companies have fallen over 50 percent since their listing, hurting the Japanese investment conglomerate’s public portfolio.