PE fund True North sets up data analytics arm to aid portfolio cos

MUMBAI: Homegrown private equity fund True North has launched a new data analytics platform — Actify Data Labs — with an initial investment of $10 million. The fully owned subsidiary will focus on helping True North portfolio companies take decisions using data analytics, said senior company officials.

The Bengaluru-based company will be a captive unit for True North’s businesses but will selectively service third-party clients too, said Hindol Basu, chief executive officer, Actify. Basu is a seasoned data scientist who helped developed the Tata Industries analytics division before joining the company.

With 16 years in analytics consulting advising clients in India, Asia Pacific and North America in financial services, manufacturing and retail, he has experience in credit bureau analytics and developed the first set of credit bureau scores for CIBIL.

“We have invested $10 million to start with, and as and when the company grows, we will provide more capital. We don’t expect the business to be capital-intensive,” said Vishal Nevatia, managing partner, True North.

The company will focus on providing solutions to companies based on its vision of 3As i.e., analytics, algorithms and artificial intelligence. “Leveraging 3As in a socially responsible manner will be key to success in future,” explained Nevatia.

Actify is currently developing a platform for healthcare providers that offers computer-assisted diagnosis. The platform will be powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence. It will analyse numerous CT scans, Xray images and other sources of clinical data to detect anomalies and help doctors arrive at an accurate diagnosis, said Basu.

PE funds have been rooting for data analytics and big data companies in India as well as globally. In India, global PE funds such as Sequoia, General Atlantic and Fidelity have invested in Mu Sigma while TA Associates and Khazanah have backed Fractal Analytics. However, this is the first instance where a private equity player in India has established a greenfield data-driven analytics company to cater to its portfolio companies.

“Actify will help True North businesses fully harness the power of 3As in a responsible manner in the initial three to five years and after that the company will also service third-party mandates,” Nevatia told ET. “For funds such as True North that have huge portfolio companies, it makes sense to have a specialised company that makes it easier to attract talent rather than in individual portfolio companies. Going forward, we will see a lot of PE funds adopting this centralised approach for IT, accounting, procurement and compliances needs of all their portfolio companies,” said Harish HV, partner and headprivate equity transactions advisory at Grant Thornton India.

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