After years of research with experts and bio-chemists, Forest Essentials set off to build on the 6,000-year-old Indian science of Ayurveda. Company chief Samrath Bedi talks ‘India Investment Journal’ through his ‘Luxurious Ayrurveda’ tagline, the tie-up with American skincare giant Estee Lauder and future plans.

What in your opinion attracted investors to Forest Essentials?

Successful brands are built on rich heritage and history. What is compelling about Forest Essentials is its focus on the skill, science and tradition of Ayurveda – central to one of the world’s oldest civilizations.

Initially, Ayurvedic products available in the market were formulated with effective properties, but products were not made with fresh and seasonal ingredients, as prescribed by Ayurvedic texts, and were often not pleasurable to use. Forest Essentials has simplified Ayurveda to make it more accessible to the world by curating high quality, user-friendly and pleasurable Ayurvedic products.

After the heady rush of initial years, Indian start-ups went through a churn in 2016. A spate of mergers beckons this year, as local firms brace against a global onslaught.

He was a 26-year-old young achiever. A dropout from India’s premier tech institute —Bombay IIT. A chief executive officer of a company he himself co-founded with 11 others. A man who became the toast of the nascent start-up ecosystem in India when within two years, five rounds of funding, a list of investors as prestigious as Japan’s Softbank, Qualcomm Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners and Helion Venture Partners, valuation peaked at $220 million.

Naspers has been behind investments in some of India’s most successful start-up ventures in recent years. Here Larry Illg, CEO for Ventures, explains what makes India an exciting prospect for the firm.

What would you attribute Naspers' success in the Indian market to?

Naspers is active in more than 130 countries and markets across the world, and our approach to investing in companies has been fairly consistent over the years. Firstly, we ensure that we understand the business model. Do we think it has legs? Do we think there is long-term defensibility and profit potential? This can be a few years out, because we look at a relatively long horizon for our investments. Is there a fundamental need in the market for this business to exist; increasingly, we look for businesses that address big societal needs. And finally, has the business got good potential to scale?

Ramesh Awtaney heads the iSON Group, Africa’s largest technology and BPO specialist with a presence in 29 countries, including India. The businessman, who is passionate about replicating the Digital India model in Africa, shares his views on the emerging trends in IT/ BPO space in India, Africa and globally, Donald Trump’s impact on the industry and iSON’s growth journey.

What is your analysis of the Digital India programme?

The Digital India programme has picked up remarkable pace over the last few years. As an NRI with significant business interests in digital, telecom, and innovation, I view the Digital India initiative from two critical aspects – broadband connectivity and applications. Connectivity has improved a great extent thanks to the roll out of LTE and 4G networks. In what would be the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity project using optical fibre, the Government of India is connecting 250,000 village panchayats through its high speed digital highway, Bharat Net. India’s state-owned telecom company BSNL is replacing 30-year old exchanges through Next Generation Network (NGN), an IP based technology to manage all types of services like voice, data, multimedia and other packet-switched communication services.

Name* :
Company* :
Designation* :
E-Mail* :