Harpal S. Randhawa
Harpal S. Randhawa is a Chartered Accountant having qualified with Touche Ross & Co. in London. He also has an MBA from The City University Business School and is a member of the Association of Corporate Treasurers. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, Harpal joined the Corporate Finance Group of Touche Ross where he focused on advising management teams on buyouts and raising venture and development capital. He continued in this area with British & Commonwealth Merchant Bank Plc. until he was appointed as a Senior Director of American Express Bank, Ltd. in London where he managed client relationships with entrepreneurial family businesses and financial institutions in Emerging Markets.
In 1993 Harpal founded Global Emerging Markets (www.gemny.com) which developed into a Brokerage, Corporate Finance, Fund management and Private Equity Group. GEM's Fund Management Business included a JV called GEM Dolphin Investment Managers Limited in London. The Emerging Markets side of the business was sold to BNP and the rest of the business was sold to Premier Asset management Plc. In the past twelve years, GEM has not only been an active investor in Emerging markets but also in Emerging Technologies and Growth Companies. GEM has been involved directly and indirectly in over 100 businesses and continues to have a portfolio of over 50 distinct private investments. GEM also founded Antfactory, an early stage technology investment company, which was merged with Seymour Pierce Group Plc. a London listed Investment Banking and Fund Management Group. Antfactory raised a total of $550M from investors in investable funds but only invested $40M before the market opportunity turned.
More recently, Harpal has also been a founding partner of Sabre Capital Worldwide, a firm that makes influential investments in Financial Services Businesses in growth economies and manages the investee businesses. Sabre's first investment was a $70M investment in Centurion Bank in India (www.centurionbop.co.in). Subsequently, Centurion Bank merged with Bank of Punjab to create the 6th largest private bank in India. It has now announced plans to acquire and merge with Lord Krishna Bank. In addition, Sabre has a 50/50 JV Asset Management Company with Fullerton Fund Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of Temasek (www.lotusindiaams.com). This JV has recently launched and started investing in a Long/Short fund for India in partnership with Abraaj Capital. In addition, Sabre has recently acquired a strategic position in First City Monument Bank (www.firstcitygroup.com/newfcmb/index.asp) in Nigeria. Sabre will be involved in the strategic and operational management of this bank. Following this, Sabre has launched an African Financial Services Fund (www.sabreafrica.com) to invest in banks and other financial institutions in Africa.
GEM also has an Indian Private Equity Fund (GEM India Advisors) that invests in Consumer Related Businesses. Harpal was also one of the earliest investors in the Indian Business Services Industry and has owned companies in IT, ITES, Call Centres and BPO.
In the Middle East, GEM has a joint-venture with VC Bank in Bahrain under which it jointly manages a $250M Islamic Private Equity Fund. In Asia, GEM has a joint venture with CITIC, called CITIC-GEM for the resources sector.
Other than private equity, GEM is involved in the Real Estate Development business and currently has operations in several countries including Central Europe (www.crestyl.com), Russia, India (www.thewiregroup.net) and the Middle East (www.fugenhomes.com).
Harpal is a member of the YPO (www.ypo.org) and has served as Chairman of its London Westminster Chapter. He is also a Founder Director of TiE UK (www.tie-uk.org and www.tie.org).
Ajit Virk (Prague-based)
Ajit Virk began his career in Washington DC at the World Bank Group's International Finance Corporation (IFC) in 1989. While at the IFC, he primarily worked on international M & A transactions and had country responsibility for the Czech Republic, Slovenia and India and was responsible for some of the largest early privatizations in the Czech Republic and Slovenia. After the IFC, Ajit seed-funded HealthScribe, Inc., a US-based healthcare services start-up and offshore BPO pioneer where he spent the six years. As Chairman, HealthScribe India grew to over 1,000 employees in Bangalore and raised over $30 million in VC funds. HealthScribe was successfully sold to Soros Private Equity and is now doing business as Spheris, currently the second largest company in its industry. Since 2001, Ajit has built a diversified private investment business based in Prague that has evolved from making minority placements to much larger control investments. In recent years, GEM-AV has built a portfolio of investments in industrial, technology, financial services and real estate companies where Ajit typically holds an active Chairman role. Ajit has degrees from Harvard University and St. Stephen's College.
Alejandro Romero is a key member of GEM Management Geneva where he overseas the sourcing of new investments throughout Europe. His focus is on mergers & acquisitions as well as private to public investment structures. Alejandro has had a successful 20 year career in business development and investment structuring. He has advised investor groups on numerous international real estate development projects. Alejandro is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian.
Glauco Verdoia (Rome/Milano based)
Glauco Verdoia has had a successful and varied 20–year career. He is the Co–Founder and Director of the recently established GEM Italy together with the Local Partners, Studio Signori. He also currently seats in the Board and holds an executive role as CFO at The Direct Marketing Company Holding SA. He has previously served with GEM as CEO (of GEM Ukraine Ltd) for 2 years, scouting first and then arranging a large residential/commercial development project in Lvov , worth more than US$ 2B in 8 years. He focuses on alternative investments, specialty finance, debt restructuring, and multi–lateral international development projects. Previous to his role at GEM, he held executive roles at Di Veroli Developers & Construction Group in Rome and in the past 10 years acquired and successfully exited three companies where he held CEO and Board roles. Prior to this he was a Director with the International Trade Consortium (ITC) in Australia, a Project Leader for a large packaged frozen food plant in China, and before that an Infrastructure and Public Construction specialist with France based Fawt Enterprises, where he specialized in projects across Africa and Latin America. In addition, he has been involved with The North Atlantic Committee (NATO), University La Sapienza of Rome, and The Italian National Research Council. Glauco attended Turin State University in Italy (JD) with a focus on International Contract Law.