NEA Commits to India

New Enterprise Associates announced last week that it has opened an office in India and appointed Ben Mathias to lead what the firm hopes will be between a $125 million and $200 million effort in the country. The fund will invest in mid to late stage opportunities in telecommunications, media, alternative energy, technology-enabled services and infrastructure.

The firm will invest from NEA 12, a $2.5 billion general fund that it closed last year. The firm believes the country “offers an attractive environment for our venture investing,” Managing General Partner Peter Barris said in a statement. Contrary to media reports last week, the new NEA office will be in Bangalore, not in Mumbai.

Mathias, who currently holds the title of “vice president, India,” will be NEA’s point man in India. Mathias joined NEA last year and was most recently vice president of E2open, a Redwood City, Calif.-based supply chain software startup. NEA says that Mathias will work closely with NEA General Partners Krishna Kolluri, Mark Perry and Ravi Viswanathan, who all operate from the firm’s Menlo Park, Calif.-based office.

NEA has relegated its early stage investing in India to an independent venture firm in which it owns a 20% interest: NEA IndoUS Ventures. The Bangalore-based firm, founded by Vinod Dham and Vani Kola, currently operates a $105 million fund, according to Thomson Financial (publisher of PEHub.com).

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