Interview With Saurabh Mittal

Saurabh Mittal is the founder and chairman of Mission Holdings, a private investment firm based in Singapore. The firm makes long-term investments in public and private markets globally, with a primary focus on the financial services, media, real estate and technology sectors. The firm’s current portfolio includes ONE Championship, Incedo, BSI Financial Services, GoldCo and SelfScore.

Mittal was previously a partner at Noonday, an affiliate of Farallon Capital Management, and a co-founder of Indiabulls, an Indian business group focused on housing finance, real estate and financial services in which Farallon was also an early investor.

He was recently interviewed by DealStreetAsia on his investment approach, firm’s structure and the outlook for some of his portfolio companies. You can read the full interview here.

Brief notes / highlights below (paraphrased):

  • On his outlook for the region’s PE/VC space: removal of trade barriers in the region will only increase opportunities and he sees a great ecosystem developing over time. Asia has most of the world’s population but currently only a small portion of the world’s top companies. In recent years, China has demonstrated that world-leading companies can emerge out of Asia – sees more of that happening over time.
  • On investment philosophy: his firm’s approach is about understanding and figuring out mis-priced opportunities and then buying them with conviction. Applies to both public and private market investments. Difference is that in public markets you typically have less control and may therefore need a larger discount.
  • On size of bets: Flexible in terms of ticket size; typically US$5-10m but can go much larger depending on the opportunity. Prefers fewer, concentrated bets that end up as majority stakes so they can work as partners with their entrepreneurs.
  • On firm structure: no limited partners, so they can take a long term perspective and benefit from compounding. Good businesses don’t get built in 3-5 years, which is a typical exit period in the private equity world.
  • On fintech: the general buzz around the space is not that interesting. He just sees it as applying computer business logic to financial services problems. The opportunity is to leverage technology to change the inside model of how an institution works.
  • On the media space: as broadband connectivity improves, consumer behavior is shifting away from fixed temporal content and toward the consumption of time-shifted content. Live sports and sports action are the biggest value and revenue driver in media, but Asia doesn’t (yet) have the large sport franchises that you find in Europe and North America.