Ramesh Venkataraman runs Avest, a private equity investment firm advising IDO, a UAE-based sovereign wealth fund, as well as making direct investments in Asia. He is currently the lead director on the board of Rak Airport and chairs the Executive Committee for several IDO portfolio companies including Rak Airport, Rak Economic Zone and Falcon Technologies.
Between 2012-16, Ramesh ran Samena Capital’s Private Equity business and first private equity fund (closed in 2013 and fully invested by 2016), and served on the firm’s investment committee. He was also Chairman of the Executive Committee and Board Member of Rak Ceramics, a $1 billion globally-leading ceramics manufacturer listed in the UAE and controlled by Samena where he oversaw a transformational value creation programme. Ramesh served on the boards of four other companies that Samena has minority stakes in – Flemingo (leading UAE-based emerging markets travel retailer), Mahindra Two Wheelers (India/France-based two wheeler manufacturer and subsidiary of the $16 billion Mahindra Group), Rak Logistics (Singapore-based buy-and-build platform in 3P Logistics), and Dynamatic Technologies (listed India/Europe-based aerospace and automotive precision engineering manufacturer).
Previously, Ramesh was a Managing Director in London with Bridgepoint Capital, the leading European mid-market buyout firm. Bridgepoint investments that he was involved in included the €728 million buy-out in 2007 of the Education division of Wolters Kluwer where he was a board director and oversaw the company’s transformation into a leading e-learning provider; the 2010 MBI of Lumison, a UK IT services provider; and two follow-on joint ventures in India for Bridgepoint portfolio companies in e-learning and healthcare services.
Prior to joining Bridgepoint in 2007, Ramesh was a partner with McKinsey & Company’s New York and then Mumbai Offices and lead the firm’s High Tech and Telecom practice for Asia. Ramesh was active in building “greenfield” businesses for his clients including Reliance Communications, L&T, ITC, Wipro and Patni Computers and several leading private equity firms, playing “hands on” roles spanning strategy, organisation building, and execution support. He also advised the Prime Minister’s Office on telecom and technology policy and worked closely between 1999-2006 with Nasscom, the association for Indian offshore IT and BPO firms, in shaping industry strategy, global positioning and regulation.
Ramesh is a frequent speaker at private equity forums including EMPEA, AVCJ and SuperReturns, has been interviewed by leading TV news channels and financial publications including the BBC, CNBC, NDTV (India), Financial Times, Economic Times (India) and Business Standard (India), and been published in the McKinsey Quarterly, Wall Street Journal, Indian Express, and the Economist online. In 2005, Ramesh was chosen for the prestigious Young Achiever award by the Indo-American society.
Ramesh has a B.Tech in electronics and communications engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology - Kharagpur (National Talent Scholar), an M.Phil. in International Relations from Oxford University (Inlaks Scholar), and an M.P.A. with distinction in Economics and Public Policy from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (Woodrow Wilson Fellow).