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Infosys founder to head India panel on startup funding platform

N.R. Narayana Murthy acknowledges the media in Calcutta August 20, 2002.

Reuters/Jayanta Shaw/Files

MUMBAI The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has named Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy to head a panel that will devise rules for a new funding platform for homegrown start-ups, the regulator said on its website.

In March, SEBI announced an alternative investment platform targeted at the country’s booming internet start-ups, relaxing some key requirements to encourage them to list at home.

Murthy’s Alternative Investment Policy Advisory Committee (AIPAC) will devise policy and rules for the new platform, and is modeled after other regulatory panels that advise markets regulator SEBI on capital market policies.

The regulator released the details on its website as part of the panel’s terms of reference.

Tough rules have made start-up listings difficult in India, where rules restrict, for example, early exits of original shareholders.

Reuters reported this year that SEBI has been working to change the rules to make listing on Indian exchanges easier for homegrown startups, at a time when large ecommerce players such as Flipkart are said to be considering an IPO on U.S. exchanges.

Murthy, who last year stepped down as chairman of Infosys, was one of seven engineers who launched the software services exporter in 1981 by pooling together funds of $250, and is seen as a towering figure in India’s technology sector.

The 18-member panel includes some of India’s best-known private equity and venture capitalists, including KKR India Chief Executive Sanjay Nayar, Piramal Group chairman Ajay Piramal and Devinjit Singh, managing director of the Carlyle Group India.

Other members include Saurabh Srivastava, who founded start-up incubator Indian Angel Network, and representatives of SEBI, Reserve Bank of India and the finance ministry.

(Reporting by Himank Sharma; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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