An inspirational heritage, a lived responsibility.

In 1965, B.R. Barwale, the grandfather of our founder, Uday Garg, set up Mahyco, a seed company with a mission to improve lives of farmers and improve food availability in India. The overall group business today spans across Europe, Africa, South Asia and South-East Asia.

Mr. Barwale has been widely recognized as a leader in the agriculture world with a keen business sense and a deep connection to the Indian farming community. In 1998, he was awarded the World Food Prize for “transforming the face of Indian Agriculture”.

In 2014, Mandala launched its first institutionally backed fund with investors from the USA and Europe.  The early success of Fund I led to the launch of Fund II soon after in 2016. In early 2022, we launched Mandala Innovation to focus on Agritech.

 

The team

Thanks to our access to worldwide networks, it is easy for us to get the right people in the right place.

We are a think tank with decades of expertise in the agri and food business. Investment experts work hand in hand with operating partners and impact specialists to source proprietary deals, create sound investment decisions, improve post-investment performance and drive exits and value for investors.

Uday Garg

Managing Partner

Uday Garg founded Mandala Capital in 2008 and has since been dedicated exclusively to developing the business with a focus on the Food and Agribusiness sector. Since the firm’s inception, Mr. Garg has been involved in all areas of the business and was instrumental in developing its strategy and vision, as well as raising the current funds under management. He sits on the Boards of portfolio companies and manages the relationships with the firm’s partners and stakeholders.

The inspiration behind food and agriculture as sector focus stems from the influence of Mr. Garg’s late grandfather, Mr. B.R .Barwale, who founded Mahyco, India’s leading seed company, in 1964. Mr. Barwale was a recipient of the World Food Prize in 1998 and has been widely recognized as a leader in the agriculture world with a keen business sense and a deep connection to the Indian farming community.

Prior to Mandala Capital, Mr. Garg worked at Altima Partners (London) focusing on private investments in global Emerging Markets across sectors (including Agribusiness). Mr. Garg began his career in the Investment Banking division of Deutsche Bank (New York), followed by Portfolio Manager roles at Amaranth Advisors (Connecticut) and Duet Group (London).

Mr. Garg holds a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, with a concentration in Finance.

Aditya Mody

Managing Director

Aditya Mody joined Mandala Capital in 2013 from Axis Capital’s Investment Banking Coverage team (Mumbai), where he was part of the Financial Sponsors Group. He is a Nominee Director on the Board of Jain Farm Fresh Foods and an Observer on the Board of Godavari Biorefineries. Mr. Mody formerly served as a Nominee Director on the Boards of Gati Kausar (now GK Cold Chain Solutions) and JAF.

Mr. Mody’s previous roles within the Axis group include Telecom, Media, and Technology focused equity research, as well as setting up the retail brokerage arm Axis Direct. From 2004 to 2008, Mr. Mody was part of JP Morgan’s Investment Banking Coverage team (Mumbai, London and Hong Kong), with a focus on deal execution in the Telecom, Media, and Technology sectors across the Asia Pacific and EMEA region. Mr. Mody’s other roles include stints at Balmer Lawrie & Co, Bank of India and Talati & Co Chartered Accountants.

Mr. Mody has an MBA in Finance and IT from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai University, and a BCom in Accounting and Computer Sciences from Jai Hind College, Mumbai University.

Gaurav Kumar

Director

Gaurav Kumar joined Mandala Capital in 2016 from IDBI Capital Market Services, where he was part of the Investment Banking division as a Manager, focused on M&A and private equity transactions across the Pharmaceuticals and Financial Services sectors, working on both deal origination and execution and providing support to the Structured Finance division. From 2007 to 2008, Mr. Kumar worked at Accenture Services (India) as an Associate Software Engineer. He is a Director of GK Cold Chain Solutions and EFRAC and an Observer on the Board of SAFL.

Mr. Kumar completed an MBA from NMIMS (Mumbai) as well as a BTech in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University).

Hiu Tung Szeto

Associate VP

Hiu Tung Szeto joined Mandala Capital in 2022. She was previously part of the Corporate Advisory team at RSM, where she advised on valuations for the purposes of M&A and litigation support. Prior to that, Ms. Szeto was part of the Economic Consulting team at FTI Consulting, which provides expert testimony on economic damages in courts and tribunals, including shareholder and contractual disputes.

Ms. Szeto graduated in 2014 from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Business Administration (Accountancy) degree. She is currently a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

Hiten Varia

Operating Partner

Hiten Varia is a serial entrepreneur and technology evangelist, currently serving as Chairman and Founder at M9 Solutions. Previously, Mr. Varia spent 17 years in executive leadership roles at i2 Technologies, a supply chain management software and services company, including Chief Customer Officer and Executive Vice President of Global Customer Operations. Prior to joining i2 Technologies, he worked at Sylvex Cable, followed by 10 years in several management roles at EDS.

Mr. Varia formerly served as a Director on the Boards of Gati Kausar and EFRAC.

Mr. Varia holds an M.S. in Computer Architecture and Software Design from University of Kentucky and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from University of Baroda.

Boon Ling Yee

Operating Partner

Boon Ling Yee has over 25 years of experience in the Retail sector across Asia, with a focus on Food and Beverages. From 2009 to 2016 she worked as a Commercial Consultant for Kimberly Clark China, Watsons Singapore, Reliance Retail India, CP Lotus China, Kimberly Clark Indonesia, and The Bakery Depot. Prior to that, Ms. Yee worked for Tesco Stories Plc starting as International Category Director in the United Kingdom, followed by Trading Director for Grocery and Corporate Purchasing for Tesco Lotus Thailand and Commercial Director (Non-Food) for Tesco China.

From 1993 to 2003 Ms. Yee worked for PepsiCo Foods International in various roles, including Business Development in establishing Frito Lay distribution in Non-Equity markets across the Asia Pacific and Regional Key Account Director, where she was responsible for managing four global key accounts for the Asia Pacific region – Carrefour, Walmart, 7-Eleven and Tesco. From 1992 to1993 Ms. Yee worked for Malaysia Dairy Industries as a Product Manager. She serves as an Observer on the Board of Keventer.

Ms.Yee holds a BBA from the National University of Singapore and an MBA also from NUS (the last semester of which was completed at UCLA).

Raj Ketkar

Operating Partner

Mr. Raj Ketkar was formerly the President and CEO of Arcadia, bringing nearly 35 years of agriculture and agricultural biotechnology business experience in the U.S. and internationally, including more than 30 years in a variety of business, operations, and strategy roles for Monsanto Company. His positions included Managing Director of the Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech joint venture in India and Director of Biotechnology Strategy and Operations.

Mr. Ketkar holds a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Oklahoma State University and an MBA from the University of New Orleans.

Vijaykumar Balakrishna

Operating Partner

Vijaykumar Kilar Balakrishna joined Mandala Capital in October 2018, bringing over four decades of experience as a Management Professional. He formerly served on the Board of Keventer and EFRAC.

Prior to joining Mandala, Mr. Vijaykumar acted as the Managing Director of Fowler Westrup India Pvt Limited for fifteen years and previously worked with the many US and Indian multinational companies as Business Head. He has been actively involved in the implementation of initiatives like Total Quality Management, Business Process Re-Engineering, Six Sigma, and ERP, and achieved accelerated business growth through innovative use of modern management concepts. His experience of over forty-three years’ encompasses roles in Sales, Marketing, Application Engineering, Dealer Management, Manufacturing, Technology Sourcing, Profit Centre Head, CEO, and Advisor to Board. He was actively involved with CII (Confederation of Indian Industries) and headed the MSME panel of CII Karnataka for three years.

Mr. Vijaykumar holds a B.E. (Chemical Engineering) from the National Institute of Technology, Suratkal, Karnataka.

Jason Ervin Yap

Operating Partner

Jason Ervin Yap has over 10 years of experience in the FMCG for both Food and Non-Food and F&B sectors in the Philippines with focus on supply chain, operations and planning. He has served as the Head of Supply Chain and Corporate Planning for Benby Group of Companies based in Manila from 2016 to as recent as this 2020. Benby is one of the largest national distribution companies in the Philippines with partners across the globe – PepsiCo Foods in the US, Ferrero in Europe to Wilmar in Asia and Murray Goulburn (bought by Saputo Inc.) in Australia.

Aside from heading departments within Benby Group, Mr. Yap has spearheaded and leads the group’s thrust into Retail, F&B and E-Commerce – bringing in brands like Irvins Salted Egg Snacks from Singapore, Gram Café & Pancakes from Japan and Tiger Sugar from Taiwan. The group has expanded Tiger Sugar into Myanmar and Cambodia. For E-Commerce, it has started operations of being an ECOM enabler / e-distributor for FMCG brands to the likes of Lazada and Shopee.

Mr. Yap holds a double degree of B.S in Applied Economics and B.S in Management of Financial Institutions from De La Salle University – Manila and has an alumni status in INSEAD for finishing its Management Acceleration Programme.

Barry Schiffmann

Operating Partner

Barry Schiffman has been an advisor to Mr. Garg since 2012.

Mr. Schiffman was the co-founder of Next Frontier Capital Ltd, an Emerging Markets private equity and investment advisory firm. He was also the co-founder, COO, Director and General Counsel at Viewdle (acquired by Google), and worked for the Frayman Group, Outpoint Capital Management, Bracewell and Giuliani LLP and Fulbright and Jaworski LLP. Mr. Schiffman has served on the boards of various private companies and is currently a member of the Board of Directors at Mandala Capital. He also serves as a Nominee Director on the Board of JAF.

Mr. Schiffman is a graduate of Georgetown University, Magna Cum Laude, and Georgetown University Law Center. He is a member of the State Bar of New York.

Gopal Arjun

COO

Gopal Arjun joined Mandala Capital in 2014 from Network18, a media, and entertainment group, where he acted as CFO and managed the company’s listing process in the U.S., as well as the finance, reporting, and compliance process.

From 2005 to 2007, Mr. Arjun worked at Infrasoft Technologies, a leading banking products and solutions software company in Mumbai, also as CFO, where he handled transactions and capital raising.

From 2002 to 2005, he was with Lionbridge Technologies (a leading software and ITES company) and eVentures India (a venture capital firm) as CFO. Mr. Arjun’s other roles include stints at ASK Raymond James (a multinational brokerage and investment company), Merck India Limited (a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical and chemicals company), and Baron Electronics (consumer electronics).

Mr. Arjun completed an MBA at IGNOU and a BCom at the University of Mumbai. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

Shyam Namdev

CFO

Shyam Namdev joined Mandala Capital in 2018. He has 13 years of experience across the finance function, accounting, financial control, and working capital management across multi-division and multi-location businesses. Mr. Namdev also has experience in treasury and tax.

Mr. Namdev most recently served as Vice President Finance for Thinkcell Learning Solutions Private Limited. Prior to that, he worked as AGM – Finance, and Accounts of TV18 Broadcast Limited. He also had a long association with other group companies of Network18.

Mr. Namdev is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. He holds a Master’s degree in Commerce from Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya, Indore.

Yatish Totla

Finance Controller

Yatish Totla joined Mandala Capital in 2016 from PMP Auto Components, an associate company of the Ashok Piramal Group, where he was Deputy General Manager overseeing the MIS and Audit functions.

From 2010 to 2013, Mr. Totla worked as Manager of Finance & Accounts at Reliance Globalcom, the foreign operations arm of Reliance Communications which provides data and network management services across the world. He also worked from 2006 to 2010 at Pantaloon Retail India as Asst. Manager of Finance & Accounts.

Mr. Totla completed his BCom at the MDS University, Rajasthan, and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

Rita Eustace

Office Manager

Rita Eustace joined Mandala Capital in 2016 from First Voyager Advisors, where she worked as Administration Officer and Front Desk Executive. From 2007 to 2009 Ms. Eustace worked as Front Desk Executive with DSP Merrill Lynch, and from 2003 to 2006 as Front Desk Executive and administrative assistant with Amines & Plasticizers Ltd. Previously, she worked as Front Desk Executive with Sharepro Services, a unit of Larsen & Toubro Limited.

Ms.Eustace holds a BCom from the University of Mumbai.

Raju Barwale

Expert Committee

Mr. Raju Barwale has been associated with Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company Pvt. Ltd. (Mahyco) since 1978, and has recently taken over as Executive Chairman from February 2018.

Founded in 1964, Mahyco is the flagship company of the Barwale Group and a leading and one of the most respected agri-biotech companies in the country today. It was founded by Dr. B.R. Barwale to address the gaps in quality seed development in India, a vision that has been furthered and refocused since Mr. Barwale took over as Executive Chairman.

Mr. Barwale’s foresight was the driving force behind Mahyco’s partnership with Monsanto in the 1990s in order to introduce Bt technology into Indian agriculture. Mr. Barwale was convinced that the technology would help farmers successfully counter the bollworm scourge in cotton crops, a belief that is borne out by the results shown in Bt cotton. In 2002, Mahyco became the pioneer to introduce India’s first and largely successful biotech crop – Bt cotton. By 2010, India had become the second largest producer of cotton in the world with more than 93 percent of cotton cultivation being Bt cotton. This was possibly the 2nd most significant event in the history of Indian agriculture after the Green Revolution. India became a net exporter of cotton from being a net importer prior to the introduction of Bt technology.

Bt brinjal is another important application of this breakthrough technology by Mahyco under the leadership of Mr.Barwale, and one that was poised to be the first GM food for India. It passed several important regulatory requirements with a great promise in controlling the fruit and shoot borer (FSB) pest, a common yield-reducing affliction in brinjal plants.

Mr.Barwale has helped build and nurture the exciting research pipeline at Mahyco laboratories. The company is now focusing on developing and applying molecular marker technology, which requires less research time and allows products to be brought to market faster. Mr. Barwale has also initiated research work on drought and salinity resistant crops, disease and pest resistance, improved weed management, and nitrogen-use efficient crops.

Mr. Barwale’s success in steering Mahyco’s course and positively impacting the hybrid seed industry have gained him international and national recognition. In 1994, he was appointed a member of the Oil and Fibre Seed Section Committee of I.S.F. Switzerland. He was also a member of the Joint Apex Committee of the Indo-Swiss collaborations on Biotechnology, a collaborative effort of the governments of India and Switzerland. In addition, he was a member of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPV & FRA) within the Indian Ministry of Agriculture and The National Agricultural Innovation Project, under the aegis of the Government of India and the World Bank.

Mr. Barwale is on the Board of Directors of several companies and trusts. He has traveled extensively, is an active Rotarian and has held many positions in Rotary International.

Sekhar Natarajan

Expert Committee

Sekhar Natarajan is the founder and Managing Partner of S N Consultants for strategic consulting in the Ag space. He has been actively advising several Indian and multinational companies including private equity players since 2010.

Mr. Natarajan is a career professional with high integrity and a passion for results. He retired from Monsanto after a long 30-year journey with them. He built and lead Monsanto India as an organization that was acknowledged as a growth leader in Indian Agriculture. He helped create and manage a multi-organization partnership to give a significant and positive impact on the ag-biotech acceptance and cotton landscape of India. He is a strategic thinker with rich global experience in business development and M&A. Mr. Natarajan is recognized as a leader who has developed and nurtured talent for Monsanto and the Ag sector in India.

He holds Board positions with Monsanto India Ltd. (Chairman and Director), Ingersoll Rand (India) Limited (Director), Seedworks International Private Limited (Director), Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company Pvt. Ltd. (Director), Accelya Kale Solutions Limited (Director).

David Hood

Expert Committee

David Hood is a Managing Director and Senior Real Assets Strategist at Sonen Capital, where he leads the firm’s private markets investment activities, with an emphasis on real assets portfolio strategies.

Previously, Mr. Hood was a Managing Director at Stanford Management Company, where he oversaw the overall investment portfolio of $9 billion in AUM in real estate, private equity, and natural resources investments for the Stanford University endowment. The investments were global in scope and included investments in public and private funds, direct investments in assets and operating companies, and tactical overlays.

Before joining Stanford, David was a Senior Managing Director of Real Assets for Sterling Stamos. Prior to joining Sterling Stamos, Mr. Hood was one of the founding partners at Lone Star Opportunity Fund, where he held various responsibilities, for over $1 billion in commercial mortgage debt and real estate portfolios. Mr. Hood also held a similar position as a founding member of Lone Star’s predecessor company, Brazos Fund, a Robert M. Bass sponsored entity that, together with its related entities, acquired over $3 billion in real estate assets. Previously, Mr. Hood worked as a Partner at several real estate development firms including Trammell Crow, Hillman Properties and Barker Interests.

Mr. Hood holds a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.