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We are bullish about Mu Sigma: General Atlantic’s Sandeep Naik

Sandeep Naik, MD, General Atlantic

Sandeep Naik, MD, General Atlantic

US-based private equity firm General Atlantic has no plans to sell its stake in Mu Sigma Inc, the Big Data analytics company led by Dhiraj Rajaram, a top official told VCCircle.

Sandeep Naik, head of General Atlantic’s India and Asia- Pacific business, said that the PE firm has not approached Canadian Pension fund CDPQ for a stake sale in Mu Sigma. Instead, he said, General Atlantic had complete faith in Rajaram’s leadership. “We look forward to working with Dhiraj and his team to further help scale MuSigma and help it retain its clear leadership position in the data analytics space,” Naik said.

The Economic Times, on October 11, had reported that General Atlantic had approached CDPQ “for a possible sale of its 20% stake in the firm.”

In an email to VCCircle, Naik categorically denied the report. Instead, Naik said, General Atlantic was “bullish about the prospects of Mu Sigma and believe they have an outstanding growth story ahead of them.”

Last week, Rajaram, the founder of Mu Sigma, took over as the CEO of the company after his former wife Ambiga Subramanian stepped down from the post. The couple got divorced in May, a move that raised concerns over the future management of the company.  Subramanian sold her entire stake to Rajaram, resulting in him having a controlling stake of 51.6%, on an undiluted basis.

Rajaram didn’t disclose who funded the buyout of his former wife’s stake but added that all the existing investors will stay put in the company.

Naik, meanwhile, clarified that General Atlantic is still a “significant minority investor” in the India and US-based Mu Sigma.

Mu Sigma has raised $211 million from investors such as MasterCard, Sequoia Capital, Fidelity Investments, Accel Partners and General Atlantic in three rounds since 2011. The company is valued around $1.5 billion and is the only profitable unicorn in India.

At the time when Rajaram took over as the CEO of Mu Sigma, Mark Dzialga, chairman of General Atlantic’s investment committee, too, had said in a statement that the PE firm remained committed to the company. “There has been a lot of needless and inaccurate speculation around our involvement in Mu Sigma.  We are extremely excited about being a partner and shareholder with Dhiraj and his management team and look forward to continuing to help build the company for many years to come.”

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Dzialga further said that Mu Sigma was a pioneer in the delivery of software and advanced analytic services and had an outstanding list of clients. “Mu sigma’s growth prospects are outstanding and we plan to do everything we can to help Mu Sigma capitalize on its industry leading position.”

There was another news report earlier this month that Subramanian was contemplating starting out on her own. Subramanian, too, denied this. “Due to personal circumstances, it is time for me to move on from the management team of the company and do something different. All rumours about me starting up a competitive firm are untrue,” Subramanian had said.

Rajaram founded Mu Sigma in 2004. Ambiga succeeded him as CEO in February this year. She worked with Mu Sigma for about eight years and was the first woman CEO at an Indian unicorn.

Mu Sigma helps companies institutionalize data-driven decision making and harness Big Data.

It claims to have about 3,500 decision science professionals and almost 140 Fortune 500 clients. MuSigma is one of a handful of Indian unicorns. Flipkart, Snapdeal, Ola, One97 Communications, InMobi and Zomato are the other known unicorns from India.

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