Norwest and Reliance back Indian e-transaction firm

The Palo Alto venture firm has made its sixth investment in India by teaming with Reliance to back e-transaction company Suvidhaa.

Norwest Venture Partners India and Reliance Technology Ventures have invested in Suvidhaa, an e-transaction company headquartered in Mumbai. The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Suvidhaa platform, which is installed in neighbourhood convenience stores, allows customers to book things like air and rail tickets, purchase concert tickets and pay bills. Customers make the payment for all the services at the convenience store itself. 
It has tie-ups with all major Indian airlines, multiplexes and financial service players.

The company’s platform is currently installed in more than 4,000 convenience stories in more than 100 cities. It plans to increase its franchisee outlets to 20,000 by 2009. Suvidhaa will use the capital injection to expand its portfolio of services and its presence around the country.

“Suvidhaa’s business model targets the services sector and addresses the consumer’s needs related to accessibility, convenience and value in consumption of everyday services,” said Niren Shah, managing director of Norwest Venture Partners India.

Norwest Venture Partners is a technology-focused venture firm with offices in Palo Alto, Mumbai and Bangalore. In addition to India and the US, it pursues investments in Israel and China. Earlier this week, it hired Dror Nahumi as partner focusing on Israel, and is looking for office space in that country.

Suvidhaa is the firm’s sixth direct investment in India. It has also made more than 20 “hybrid” investments in companies that may be based elsewhere but have significant operations in India. A few of its other investments in India include Adventity, which provides outsourcing services;, a social networking website for Indians; and Yatra, an online travel services company.

Reliance Technology Ventures is the corporate venture capital arm of the Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group. Launched in 2006, the firm makes proprietary investments globally in IT, IT-enabled services, hardware, media and entertainment, and telecom.