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EY spearhead Ankur Pahwa quits to start VC fund

In a key exit at EY India, Ankur Pahwa, Leader, e–commerce and consumer internet and a Big 4 veteran for nearly 23 years has resigned from the firm in a bid to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities, multiple industry sources with knowledge of the matter told Moneycontrol.

“Ankur has stepped down and is planning to enter the investing space. He intends to join hands with a partner and start a venture capital fund focused on consumer tech, fin tech, health tech and SaaS (software as a service). These are the sectors he has been intimately familiar with during his advisory stint,” said one of the persons cited above.

A second person familiar with the development told Moneycontrol that an internal announcement had been made in EY about Pahwa’s exit. “The idea is to deploy funds between the seed round and the series A round. Pahwa will be the co-managing partner and they are looking to set up a $100 million fund,” this person added.

A third person confirmed the departure. He added that Pahwa is “extremely well-networked and has strong relationships in the sector” and that EY is working on finding a replacement.

All the three persons above spoke to Moneycontrol on the condition of anonymity.

An email query sent to EY India remained unanswered at the time of going to press. Pahwa was unavailable for comment.

Pahwa, also a partner in EY’s Transactions Diligence Practice has spent more than 16 years at the firm in two stints. He has worked earlier at BMR Advisors and Arthur Anderson (which merged its operations with EY India in 2002).

A chartered accountant and a Delhi university alumnus, he has worked with many large corporates, unicorns, private equity and venture capital funds on m&a transactions, divestures, investments and joint ventures.

According to the EY website , “as the EY India E-Commerce & Consumer Internet Leader, Ankur is responsible for driving growth, strategy and positioning the EY brand in the sector. He is a trusted advisor for clients in solution design, capability, innovation and alliances within the sector.”

Churn in the Big 4 continues
In the last two years, Big 4 firms have seen multiple exits by senior partners who have gone to assume roles in India Inc, the startup and entrepreneurial space and rival advisory firms. Moneycontrol has tracked these developments closely and here’s a lowdown –

In December, 2021 EY M&A partner Nitin Savara joined Zomato as Deputy CFO, a story which was first broken by Moneycontrol on September 25.

In 2020, two other EY partners, namely Charanjit Attra and V Krishnakumar, quit to take on roles in India Inc. On 30th August, Moneycontrol was the first to report that Attra, a partner in Financial Accounting Advisory Services (FAAS) would join State Bank of India as its new CFO.

Later, on September 29, Moneycontrol also broke the story of pharma investment banking partner Krishnakumar joining private equity fund ChrysCapital backed mid-cap branded formulations player Eris Lifesciences as an Executive Director.

KPMG is another firm which has seen departures of key partners and vertical heads in recent times.

On May 5, 2021, Moneycontrol reported that KPMG Partner and head of the life sciences vertical Sanjay Singh had quit to join Asia-focused investment bank BDA Partners as MD & Head of India.

On January 17, Moneycontrol had reported that KPMG senior partner Vikram Hosangady, who earlier held positions like Head of Deal Advisory (Europe, Middle East, Africa and India), Head of Private Equity and Head of Clients and Markets had moved on to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.

Jamil Khatri, who became a partner at the young age of 28 and headed the audit team at KPMG India quit on January 27 after a tenure of nearly 27 years.

Former PwC India advisory leader Deepankar Sanwalka joined Paytm’s core leadership team as President (Enterprise Functions) in May 2021. A few months later, he was joined by KPMG partner Rajendra Nalam who came on board as Senior VP. Moneycontrol

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