German Media Giant Bertelsmann Backs Indian Start-Up Fund

Thomas Rabe - PR Head Shot - H - 2011

The multimillion dollar investment in the Digital Nirvana Fund is part of Bertelsmann's expansion into the fast-growing Asian media markets.

German media giant Bertelsmann has made a multimillion dollar investment in the Digital Nirvana Fund, an Indian private-equity fund that invests in young digital start-ups in the region. The fund is controlled by Indian venture capital group Nirvana Venture Advisors, which manages two funds with a total endowment of $40.5 million.

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"Bertelsmann is one of the most prestigious media companies in the world and pursues the same goals as we do in India — to shape the digital markets and support the country’s fast-growing companies — so we are very pleased to be working with them," said Rajan Mehra, co-founder and managing director of Nirvana Venture Advisors.

The investment is part of a broader strategy at Bertelsmann to reduce the German group's dependence on the mature US and European media markets and expand into fast-growing territories in Asian and South America.

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Bertelsmann has direct stakes in three Indian online companies: online commerce platform Pepperfry, real estate portal Indiaproperty and Authorgen Technologies, which operates the online education platform

"Expanding our business in India is an important part of Bertelsmann’s growth strategy," said Shobhna Mohn, executive vp emerging markets at Bertelsmann. "We now have holdings, with three partners, in renowned funds in India that focus on the digital or education sectors, which are important to our strategy. We are also and simultaneously investing directly in selected companies that are of strategic relevance for us."

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Bertelsmann's many media assets include leading European broadcaster RTL Group; production giant FremantleMedia, makers of The X Factor and Got Talent formats; and leading English-language book publisher Penguin Random House.