Friday Letter Remembering Arya

Milestone Capital Advisors managing director and chief executive officer Ved Prakash Arya, who died yesterday morning following a freak accident, will be cherished for his brief but hugely successful entrepreneurial exploits.

When Milestone Capital Advisors managing director and chief executive officer Ved Prakash Arya died on Thursday, India’s private equity and private equity real estate universes lost one of their most influential and liked figures.

Arya, 42, was understood to have been struck by a tree while walking in a garden in Versova in Mumbai. His injuries led to a series of cardiac arrests and ultimately his sad passing. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

Arya’s untimely death has provoked an outpouring of grief in the last 24 hours. “It’s an absolutely tragic loss, not only for his family and friends, but also for the private equity world in India,” said Ramesh Venkat, a friend and the chief executive officer of Reliance Private Equity, who summed up the feelings of many.

Arya’s future looked even brighter that his past, as he was focused on expanding Milestone into an alternative assets powerhouse, supplementing an already strong private equity real estate platform that was undeniably on an upward trajectory.

That’s quite something from a man who just created Milestone in 2006, yet his track record speaks for itself. In the proceeding five years, the company had grown to $800 million in assets under management across eight real estate and private equity funds. From an initial business that managed real estate investments for Indian investors, Milestone today engages in healthcare and education assets too.

Arya’s successful switch from company lieutenant – he previously worked for Pantaloon Retail and Globus Stores Private – to entrepreneurial leader earned the respect of many.

S. Sriniwasan, chief executive officer of private equity real estate firm Kotak Realty Funds, described Arya’s passing as losing “a bright star”. He said: “The manner in which he built the business in a short period of time was an inspiration for a lot of professionals who contemplate the jump from a professional to become an entrepreneur.”

Sriniwasan was one of a number of senior industry figures to step forward very quickly to pay homage to the efforts of Arya. Another was Sachin Shah, founder and managing principal of private equity real estate firm Samsara Capital. Shah met with Arya earlier this week when his friend was in a “hale and hearty” mood. “He decided to take the entrepreneurial plunge a few years ago, proved to be very successful at it and has achieved what few could with the Milestone series of funds,” Shah said, “I was very sorry to hear this.”

Parry Singh, managing director at Red Fort Capital, added his tribute: “Ved’s dynamic presence will be deeply missed in the private equity world, as well as the real estate world. Ved galvanised the domestic Indian private equity industry and was an early pioneer in the business.”

It is of little surprise that Milestone has closed for business until 3 September, according to a message on the firm’s website. For the colleagues of Ved Prakash Arya, Indian private equity and private equity real estate’s “lost bright star”, now is a time for remembrance and mourning.
The team at PERE offers its condolences.