>>Mega venture capital fund for startups to be unrolled in September
Top IT honcho Sajan Pillai, who recently stepped down as CEO of California-headquartered UST Global, has announced that he would invest heavily in global projects for assisted living for seniors and homecare and also kick-start a mega venture fund for startups to help them scale up their activities.
Kerala-born and US-based Pillai, whose long stint with UST Global positioned the American multinational company as a leading provider of IT services and solutions, said the venture fund, with an initial corpus of USD 50 to 75 million, would be launched on September 8 to promote start-ups, with a slant on Kerala.
“The initial fund will be between USD 50 million and USD 75 million. Its focus will be product companies, primarily B2B. We focus on four sectors primarily—healthcare, fintech, telecom & technology, and retail,” he said, unveiling his plans at a press meet here on Tuesday. “An advisory board has been set up to help startups in these sectors. We have already spoken to the largest banks in the world.”
Elaborating, he said Kerala has the potential to emerge as a global startup powerhouse. “The idea is to assemble senior level executives of Kerala and they will be directly on the board of the startups. We are going to create a relationship with the government to give an impetus to the drive,” he added.
Mr. Pillai, who is also Chairman of SP Lifecare, announced that the company would launch a string of projects to deliver world-class elderly care by combining care, technology and real estate. These would include developing Senior Assisted Living facilities, creating a pool of well-trained caregivers to provide home services, doorstep delivery of health and personal care and setting up a Super Store for delivery of essential items to senior citizens.
SP Lifecare, which recently acquired Kerala-based Asha Care Homes, has already purchased lands at Thannimoodu near the state capital and Aluva in Ernakulam for developing Senior Assisted Living campuses. Plans are on to acquire land in Bengaluru by this month.
Dr. M. Ayyappan, CEO of SP Lifecare, said the investment in the two ongoing projects in Kerala is estimated at Rs 275 crore. “We are targeting the valuation of the company at Rs 700 crore in three years,” he added.
“The company plans to expand its Senior Assisted Living project on a global scale in two years’ time while major projects are to be launched in the US and Europe. A dedicated trust would also be floated, with SP Lifecare tying up with like-minded individuals and organisations, to take care of the economically weaker senior citizens, who cannot afford the cost of assisted living,” said Dr Ayyappan, former CMD of public sector HLL Lifecare Ltd (HLL).
“Providing proper care to the elderly people is a global issue, which is all the more severe in Kerala where millions work outside, leaving their parents at home,” said Mr. Pillai, who remains a member on UST Global’s Board of Directors.
Striking a personal chord, he said he suffered this anguish and helplessness himself when his father passed away two years ago.
“Children are constantly worried about their parents. Parents are also constantly worried that their children are worried about them. This is a vicious circle,” observed Mr. Pillai, who features in this year’s list of Employees’ Choice Award for top 100 global CEOs, instituted by US-based Glassdoor, one of world’s largest job and recruiting sites.
“The best way to solve this problem is to combine care, technology and real estate, and this has to be done in a manner that is affordable, convenient and assisted. “That is the real progress. That is our mission,” he noted.
Ms Anjali Nair, COO, SP Lifecare, was present at the press meet.