January 26, 2021

Premji Spend Eyeing Silicon Valley

Azim-PremjiPremji Invest, the family investment office of Wipro’s billionaire founder Azim Premji, has now nearly $100 million, or about Rs 620 crore, of investments in the US, after betting on some startups and Alibaba’s massive public offering in September last year.

“The family office is looking hungrier to invest in the US, especially after hiring Sandesh Patnam who brings local connections,” said a person familiar with Premji Invest’s strategy. “Public market investments such as those in Alibaba are very tiny, but form a growing portion of the portfolio,” he added.

Patnam, who joined Premji Invest in March last year, managed over $6 billion (about Rs 36,000 crore) in investments during his last assignment at Seligman Technology Group.

Since joining Premji, he has already made some investments in Silicon Valley startups. Last month, the family office participated in Series C financing in mobile operating system firm Cyanogen, the first such investment by Premji Invest ever. “The idea is to build a more diverse investment portfolio, beyond just India,” said another person familiar with the development.

Prakash Parthasarathy, chief investment officer of Premji Invest, has not responded to an email sent by ET on April 1 as of press time on Sunday.

With over $2.5 billion under its management, Premji Invest has made investments in over 60 companies including e-commerce firms Snapdeal and Myntra. The investments range from fixed income instruments to real estate and listed equities. There are around 40-50 family offices in India with a corpus of $15-20 billion (about Rs 88,000-1,20,000 crore), according to industry estimates. Premji’s family office has been testing the waters in the US since 2011.