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SPARK OF THE CORPORATE

Gaurav Deepak is known as the i-banker of every start up. Avendus Capital, the biggest deal maker in the dot com space is a brainchild of Gaurav and his banker friends. Gaurav was instrumental in setting up the technology enabled services of Avendus. He now leads Avendus' flagship Financial Advisory business and is in charge of their international operations. Gaurav and his team were successful not just in building a smart organisation in the niche of dot com sector. They then grew from this niche through diversification of financial services and broadening of portfolio, to be one of the largest home grown investment banks in the country and also most preferred one by the start ups.

The humble beginning...

In 1999, then 25 year old Gaurav quits his full time job at ICICI to build a start up with two of his banker friends - Ranu Vohra and Kaushal Agarwal. The three bright bankers started a firm in a tiny garage in Khar, Mumbai and named it Coolstartups. The cool idea was to act as a venture catalyst by connecting fledging firms and investors, making the best use of the IT boom. It sure got clicked. Post the launch of coolstartups.com website in mid 2000, it was flooded with applications from entrepreneurs looking to raise fund for their dream project. But it was the fag end of the boom. It did not last long. The bubble burst; injuring the venture capital investing. 18 months into the business, the trios could close only three deals. VC came to a screeching stop. A little over a year into the business, their idea no longer had a market.

Looking ahead...

Things were not really bright. Something has to be done. They got together around a table and thought aloud on what the next best step could be. The only thing that was clear was that none wanted to take up a job again. By then, they were already high on doing something on their own. The entrepreneurship bug had bitten them hard and deep. Everybody pitched in their own ideas. It made sense to start an online investment bank, focused on technology start ups. And that's how the twenty something three decided to start an investment bank

Gaurav has the experience of investing in technology companies for ICICI during his pre - Avendus days. Vohra and Agarwal also pooled in their prior experience from Communications Equity Associates (CEA), an investment bank in Mumbai.

The birth of Avendus...

Deepak and his partners decided to brand the company under a new name. In 2000, Coolstartups took the new cool avatar as Avendus. Here is where the Avendus, which today has an asset and wealth management business, investment banking arm, institutional equities and PE funds was born. Strong optimism, confidence in themselves and fearlessness has brought them a long way, for sure.

There were hurdles to be crossed. Funding was a major problem for these young, smart, intelligent and confident guys. They pitched in investors. In three years, Avendus closed ten deals and had never looked back since then. It bloomed into a full on financial adviser by hitting a major milestone in 2009. Avendus soon emerged as the favourite destination for startups raising funds, looking for acquisitions or simply looking to exit a dwindling business. Being the co-adviser along with Goldman Sachs for the sale of Satyam Computer was nothing short of a moment of glory.

Being the leader...

Cut to 2015, Avendus closed more than dozen deals in the year. By 2020, it aims at 40 percent contribution from investment banking, while wealth management, alternate asset management and the NBFC at 20 percent each to the top line.

Today, Avendus is a trusted platform for entrepreneurs across industries now. They tapped internet firms in India and won the heart of its clients, making it the investment bank of choice for startups. Through varied delivery channels and specialised subsidiaries, Avendus provides customised solutions in the areas of financial advisory, capital markets, wealth management and alternative asset management to institutional investors, corporates and high net worth families. They marched to be the leader in their field. Their wide clientele includes giants like classifieds firm Quikr, e-commerce firm Shopclues, payments service Freecharge, music streaming firm Saavn, movie and events ticketing website BookMyShow, auto classifieds site CarTrade, eyewear store Lenskart, jewellery retailer Bluestone, e-commerce logistics provider Delhivery, home products site Pepperfry etc. It also worked on the $200 million acquisition of TaxiForSure by cab hailing company Ola. Investment banking business grew steadily year by year. The momentum continues – stronger and brighter.

In 2015, Bloomberg named Avendus as the top advisory on internet and e-commerce deals in India, beating Deutsche Bank AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, among others. Deepak’s 24 members team cracked a few among the biggest deals like Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s investment in online education firm Byju’s, Flipkart’s acquisition of Jabong (the biggest consolidation in e-commerce in the year), and fundraisings by Swiggy, Lendingkart and Lenskart, among others. In 2017, along with increased consolidation in the start-up and e-commerce sectors he also anticipates growth in equity funding for companies in the medium to growth stages.

Having worked on several large and complex engagements in M&A, Private Equity Syndication, Equity Capital Markets and Fixed Income, Gaurav is an expert of his field. He is a very hands on guy. He is known for understanding and deciphering a company’s fund-raising pitch in less than 5 minutes. He is also very outspoken and speaks his mind. He finds work relaxing. Isn't that what pursuing you passion do to you? With his seventeen plus years of global Investment Banking experience, today and every day, he strives to elevate the company to next level. Next is the only level, they say!

Education...

Gaurav is a member of the distinctive IIT-IIM club. He did his graduation in mechanical engineering from IIT Kanpur. Afterwards he joined IIM Calcutta to pursue MBA.

Early career...

After graduating from IIM in 1998, he joined ICICI. Gaurav was a part of the team which made investments in the online travel, payment processing and promotions space. He also worked as an Analyst on deputation for ICICI Securities where he marketed the IPOs of two major Indian IT companies.

Family...

Gaurav is married Siddhi. She is a post graduate in economics from JNU Delhi. They stay in Mumbai with their three sons. He is an avid reader of books ranging from fiction to history. He loves to spend time with his family.

Awards

Avendus received India M&A Investment Bank of the Year award by Global M&A Network

Quotes

There is no relativity for achievements; everyone has his own benchmark – on being said that he has achieved quite a lot for his age.
As you grow, you will be asked to solve more complex challenges. Empathy and emotional intelligence are needed to get at a workable solution.
I have worked hard but never harder, there is so much to do. It’s a great team, great partner and good times for business, if we don’t make something big out of it, it’s our fault.
I truly feel delighted coming to office.
Our partnership is based on strong mutual trusts.
Do not underestimate the importance of mutual trust and respect. If you have that, you can always solve any problem.

Hope viewers caught up the spark …

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