Tejas IPO will offer exits to Desh Deshpande, Mayfield, Intel Capital

India's first electronics design and product firm Tejas Networks will raise funds in an initial public offer by July, giving longstanding investors such as Silicon Valley entrepreneur Desh Deshpande, Mayfield Partners and Intel Capital an exit in the company.

The Bengaluru-based firm, which is betting on the country's shift towards data consumption an opportunity to grow its business will raise Rs 450 crore in fresh funds, in addition to an offer of 12.6 million shares by investors, who backed the 17-year-old company.

Tejas, which builds equipment that allows high speed data on optical fibre networks, has raised around Rs 400 crore as venture money from investors.

"There are lots of venture capital who are  keen to invest in Indian product companies. There is a need for an ecosystem, which will allow them exits," Sanjay Nayak, co-founder and managing director of Tejas Networks said in an interview. "This will give them confidence in the Indian product ecosystem"

The shift towards digitisation - telecom operators shifting towards offering high speed internet service, the government's BharatNet programme to offer high speed data to rural networks and the push towards digital payments is giving firms such as Tejas to offer locally built products and solutions to customers.

"Only 20% of the cell towers in India is connected on fibre, whereas it is 90% in China and 95% in the US. The fibre backhaul is the differentiator for data," said Nayak. "The opportunity is enormous".

The funds from the public offer would be used  to invest back in R&D, helping the company to build more products suitable for India and the global market. Tejas, which has over 250 silicon IPs and has filed 326 patent applications, looks at software led hardware design in its products that helps telecom operators to use their voice networks to offer data, even as they take the modular approach to build their infrastructure.

The company's equipment built for the India market has been deployed in India type markets in Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America, where operators are witnessing demand for data services from customers. It also is offering solutions to telcos in the US, which are looking at upgrading their legacy infrastructure to offer high speed internet to their customers.

"Lot of our products are also relevant in the US market. We help telcos to retain customers in the US by upgrading legacy systems through circuit emulation technology, and shift them towards the architecture of the network," said Nayak. The company earns a third of its revenues from exports.

Tejas, which was incubated during the technology meltdown in 2000, has seen its ups and downs. Its earlier plan to go public in 2008-09, but found caught in the global economic meltdown that forced one of its largest customers Nortel filing for bankruptcy.

The shift towards high data consumption in India, where Tejas equipment is used by all the telecom networks has helped the firm revive its business.

In the six months to September, Tejas had reported profits of Rs 12.18 crore on sales of Rs 346 crore as against Rs 1.09 crore in profits on sales of Rs 207 crore in the same period last year. 

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