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Behind the Buyouts: Sajan Pillai Strengthens India's Ties to Silicon Valley

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Published: February 10th, 2021
The founder of Season Two Ventures sees tech talent from India fueling investment opportunities as he works to accelerate growth at his portfolio companies.

On the latest episode of Behind the Buyouts, Sajan Pillai, managing partner of Season Two Ventures LLC, talks about his investment in a $100 million venture capital fund aimed at startups with ties to India.

Pillai traces the deep ties between the U.S.’s Silicon Valley and India’s tech scene, along with his personal career journey in both countries.

Pillai led UST Global LLC, a technology services company he built from a basement level startup to more than $1 billion in revenue.

Now he’s heads Season Two Ventures as something of a second act for him as a firm that helps accelerate young companies by providing the capital, advice and support he wished he had during his years at UST Global.

Season Two portfolio companies include Uvik Technologies, a startup that came up with a less expensive way for merchants to provide point-of-sale services to customers. The firm is projecting $5 million to $10 million in revenue for the company by 2022.

Another is Warehouse Now, which offers a service similar to Airbnb Inc. (ABNB) except for renting warehouse space.

India intersects with Silicon Valley on a couple of levels. First, engineers from India may work at U.S. companies here and later launch their own businesses. And then you’ve got U.S. companies with outsourced operations in places such as Mumbai and Chennai.

Today’s India tech companies often trace their roots to engineers and developers who often trained at large Indian information technology companies such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. and Infosys Ltd. (INFY) — top names in the IT services domain. In 2020, for instance, Vista Equity Partners LLC bought San Francisco-based Gainsight Inc. for $1.1 billion, which also has a significant presence in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, India.

Pillai said he expects to deploy the fund within about two years. Future funds may focus on specific subsectors in tech such as healthcare or banking technology.

More podcasts from The Deal are available on iTunesSpotify and on TheDeal.com.

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