BENGALURU: In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the global markets were fighting for survival, Bengaluru headquartered IT company Happiest Minds instead opted to go public. Led by 77-year-old IT industry veteran Ashok Soota, the company debuted on the stock exchanges at Rs 351 per share -- more than double the IPO price of Rs 161 per share.
Soota, a man well known in Dalal Street for his phenomenal success with tech firm Mindtree’s IPO in 2006, delivered even better this time. While Mindtree’s IPO was oversubscribed by 103 times, the oversubscription for Happiest Minds was 151 times, through which it raised Rs 700 crore. Industry analysts have called Happiest Minds' IPO debut one of the most successful public issues of the last decade.
Unlike the young first-generation entrepreneurs who are dominating the tech-startup ecosystem in India currently, Soota is an experienced IT leader who has built both tier 1 and mid tier companies like Wipro and Mindtree when the dot com boom and digital/e-commerce waves disrupted the IT industry.
The unique ways in which Soota is able to tap into investors' mindsets and launch his companies successfully on stock exchanges are perhaps elusive to young startup founders for whom profitability still remains a concern.
Currently Soota’s Happiest Minds is drawing 97% of its revenues from digital business unlike the big players in the Indian IT industry and the company has been growing at a CAGR of 20% compared to 7-8% traditional IT sector growth average.
The focus on emerging technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), virtual augmented reality and tapping sectors like ed-tech and hi-tech has led to minimal disruption in the business of Happiest Minds amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The digital focused companies are doing well globally and have drawn a good valuation during the pandemic. Pertinently, deal sizes for digital projects are much lower compared to other verticals which explains the success of mid-tier companies like Happiest Minds over large companies. Furthermore, Soota’s ability to identify the next growth opportunity in the industry coupled with his experiences of running companies is a strong factor behind Happiest Minds' IPO success,” Pareekh Jain, a senior IT analyst, told The New Indian Express.