Private Equity Investment Team

The Private Equity team at Kotak, led by Nitin Deshmukh, includes successful professionals with diverse backgrounds and complementary skill sets. It is one of the few teams in the country with "full life cycle" experience. The team's experience spans private equity investments, investment banking, corporate finance, infrastructure finance, management consulting, besides operating experience. The team has a good investment track record in life sciences (pharmaceuticals and biotechnology), retail, media, light engineering, technology and IT services, amongst others.

Nitin Deshmukh

CEO - Private Equity

Nitin is the founding member of the structured private equity practice at the Kotak Group and has over 23 years of experience in venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) investing. He has an uncanny ability to identify trends and leaders and help them realize their potential. Nitin has managed investments in over 60 companies, a significant number of which have attained leadership positions in their respective sectors.

In 2004, Nitin was Director at SEAF, a US-headquartered venture capital fund before it joined hands with Kotak. He was the founding member of the India team of Dresdner Kleinwort Capital in 2001. Before joining Dresdner, Nitin had a stint of over 12 years with ICICI Venture, the PE and VC arm of the ICICI Group, since 1989. He became Chief of Private Equity Investments at ICICI Venture in 1997.

He led ICICI Venture's investment strategy in life sciences (pharmaceuticals &biotechnology), media and entertainment and retailing industries andachieved high returns for investors by spotting opportunities in these sectors ahead of the competition.

Nitin has a strong association with India's pharmaceutical and biotech industry. He started his career in Cipla, where he spent three-and-a-half-years. Nitin has served as the Director-General of the Association of Biotechnology-Led Enterprises (ABLE), the leading association of biotech companies in India. He continues to be an active member of ABLE's Executive Council and has been part of several committees set up by the central and state governments and other apex industry associations in biotechnology.

Nitin has an MBA degree from the University of Mumbai, and a Masters Degree in Pharmaceutical Technology from UDCT, Mumbai. His research during his Masters program led to the filing of a patent on machine design for the manufacture of novel drug delivery systems. He has also completed a Post-Graduate Programme in Pharmaceutical Technology at the University of Ghent, Belgium.

Nitin can be reached at

Ramakrishna K. V.

CIO - Private Equity

Ramakrishna has over 13 years of experience in private equity and venture capital industry. He joined Kotak's Private Equity practice in October 2004.

Ramakrishna's investment experience spans sectors such as information technology, retailing, services and light engineering. He believes in a value-based investment strategy of controlling risks and aiming for long-term growth. He guides the business and growth strategies of portfolio companies with active board participation.

Ramakrishna has served stints with the Carlyle Group's Carlyle Asia Venture Partners (CAVP), a $330 mn technology-focused fund, and ICICI Venture, the PE and VC arm of the ICICI Group.

Post his graduation, Ramakrishna worked for two years at the Management Services Division of Tata Motors (formerly, TELCO), the largest automobile company in India.

Ramakrishna is a Computer Science and Engineering graduate from National Institute of Technology, Warangal. He has a post-graduate degree in management from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore.

Ramakrishna can be reached at

R. Laxman

Director- Private Equity

R. Laxman has more than 17 years of experience with the Kotak Group. He joined the Private Equity team in 2009.

During his previous assignment with Kotak Investment Banking, he specialized in mergers and acquisitions and private equity advisory. In the course of his 10-year stint at the investment bank, Laxman advised several large business groups in India. He has also successfully led cross-border acquisitions for Indian and global clients in Europe and China. His special focus was on the automobile and general engineering sectors.

Before he ventured into investment banking, Laxman spent two years in Kotak's car finance business, where he was heading the Western Region. He also spent five years in the company's corporate lease and hire purchase business.

Laxman is a post-graduate in management from S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, University of Mumbai, with a specialisation in finance. He is also a Cost and Works Accountant from The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India.

Laxman can be reached at

Vivek Joshi

Associate Director

Vivek Joshi has more than 22 years of global multifunctional work experience. He joined the Private Equity team in 2007.

In a 12-year stint with Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), a subsidiary of Unilever Plc, Vivek worked in business management, innovation management and supply chain management projects. He was a member and leader of international teams, turned around a loss-making business, managed international innovation projects and set up and ran Greenfield factories.

Prior to joining HUL, Vivek was part of a technical consulting organization in California, US. He was responsible for client management, new business development and was an expert in remediation and process technology. He also served stints in specialty and large scale manufacturing companies in Florida and California.

Vivek is a graduate in chemical engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai, and has a Masters degree in chemical engineering from the Univ. of South Florida, Tampa, USA. He also has a post-graduate degree in management from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, with a focus on strategic management.

Vivek can be reached at

Bhavin Shah

Associate Director

Bhavin Shah joined the Private Equity Group in November 2008 with 10 years of experience in investment banking and private equity.

Bhavin was earlier in Kotak Investment Banking - Financial Sponsors Group, where he focused on private equity transactions across industries. He has worked with several corporates (including Mahindra & Mahindra and Apollo Hospitals) to raise private equity funds. Before he joined Kotak Investment Banking, Bhavin led the corporate development and M&A efforts of SPI Technologies in India and executed SPI's entry strategy into India. Earlier, as part of Crimson Ventures, he gained hands-on experience with early to mid stage companies.

Bhavin holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, and is a qualified Chartered Accountant.

Bhavin can be reached at

Viral Mehta

Vice President

Viral Mehta joined Kotak Private Equity Group in July 2008, bringing with him more than four years of experience in Corporate Finance & Advisory services, of which the last 2 years have been in Restructuring, Special Situation & Distress Equity advisory services of Kotak Group. Prior to joining Kotak, Viral had been with the Mergers & Acquisition, Capital Market transactions execution team of JM Morgan Stanley, an erstwhile Investment Banking Joint Venture between JM Financial Group & Morgan Stanley. He has executed several landmark transactions across Financial Services, Chemicals, Media, Steel & Infrastructure sectors. Viral has also done a stint with KPMG India, one of the leading Financial & Due Diligence advisors in India.

Viral is a Graduate in Commerce from University of Mumbai and a Chartered Accountant from: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

Dhiraj Rajendran

Associate Vice President

Dhiraj Rajendran joined the Kotak Private Equity Group in November 2008. Prior to joining KPEG, Dhiraj worked with the mid-market investment banking team of Kotak for nearly a year, working primarily on Private Equity transactions. Earlier, he worked for two years with J.P. Morgan Services India Private Limited in their Investment Banking research division as part of the M&A advisory for the Consumer, Healthcare and Retail sectors. Dhiraj started his career with Thermax Limited, Pune, where he spent two years. At Thermax, Dhiraj worked in the treasury deparmentwhere he was responsible for investments management, cash management and limited banking functions.

Dhiraj is a Bachelor of Engineering from D.J. Sanghvi College of Engineering, Mumbai (with specialization in Production Engineering) and has a Post Graduate degree in Management from NMIMS, Mumbai.

Rahul Shah

Associate Vice President

Rahul Shah joined Kotak Private Equity Group in Sep 2012, bringing with him more than seven years of experience across Private Equity, Investment Banking and Treasury of which the last 3 have been in Private Equity. Prior to joining Kotak, Rahul worked with Multiples Alternate Asset Management and Fidelity Growth Partners India where he was involved in several growth PE transactions across IT, Telecom, Banking, Services and Power. Before moving to Private Equity, Rahul worked in Treasury and Investment Banking Group of ICICI Bank for four years where he led the TMT initiative for the Investment Banking group of the Bank.

Rahul is a CA, CS, CFA, FRM and MBA from INSEAD

Rahul can be reached at

Himanshu Nivsarkar

Vice President

Himanshu Nivsarkar joined Kotak Private Equity Group in February 2010. Himanshu brings with him diverse work experience of 12 years working in Life Sciences, investment banking and Private Equity. He joined KPEG from GE Capital, where he focused on Private Equity transactions across industries. Prior to GE Capital, Himanshu was core member of strategy and investment team at Reliance Healthcare. Earlier, he was part of MAPE Advisory, a boutique advisory fund focused on providing I-Banking services to early and mid stage companies. Himanshu has also worked for Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited and Reliance Industries.

Himanshu is an Engineer and holds an MBA from Indian Institute of Management- Calcutta

Hemal Mehta

Vice President - Operations, Risk and Compliance

Hemal Mehta, who joined the Private Equity Group in 2009, brings a rich background of experience in India and abroad.

Before joining Kotak, Hemal worked as Vice-President Finance with Saffron Asset Advisors, a private equity fund advisor managing two real estate funds, one fund listed on the Euronext exchange in Amsterdam and the other one a private fund based out of Mauritius.

Hemal started his career with Hiranandani Developers Private Limited in Mumbai where he handled audit and tax for four years. He then moved to London and worked with Pauls Freight Services (PFS) Limited as Assistant Manager- Finance for two years, and then the logistics business as General Manager of PFS Mauritius Limited. He also worked in Dubai as General Manager for PLUS971 FZE, an official distributor of Nokia mobile based out of Dubai Airport Freezone.

He is a qualified Chartered Accountant (ACA, 1998) from India and is also a fellow member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA, 2004) from London, UK.

Prakash Dalal

Head, Investor Relations

Prakash, who joined the team in May 2007, heads Investor Relations of the Group's Alternative Asset Management business.

Prakash has been with the Kotak Group since 1993 and has worked in a multitude of divisions including Investment Banking, where he was Relationship Manager, Private Banking where he headed the Product Development & Marketing Function and Mutual Funds as head of Retail Sales, Marketing and Product Development.

Prakash holds a Masters in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from the Indian School of Business.