Madhusudan Kela is one of the most well-known and seasoned investors in Indian Capital Markets, with an extensive experience of over 27 years, straddling both sell side and buy side investment mandates. He has expertly played the role of a Chief Investment Officer for over a decade, leading a team of over 40 investment professionals, and managing the Equity AUM portfolio of the largest asset management company (by total AUM) in India.
Madhu is currently the promoter of a proprietary investment vehicle started in 2018 – “MK VENTURES”, a Member of the Board of Aptech Ltd., a Member of the Board of Reliance Securities Limited, former Chief Investment Strategist at Reliance Capital Limited, and a former Member of the Capital Market Advisory Board at The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). At Reliance Group, he was a permanent invitee to all board meetings, in the capacity of a senior decision maker and key Group resource.
In a distinguished Investments career spanning three decades, Madhu has received several accolades, including the Best Equity Fund Manager, received from the Prime Minister of India. He is actively counselled by the leading Industrial Houses in India, on matters of strategic importance, and also on their personal investments. Madhu also informally advises family offices of several distinguished HNIs, and also advises select global institutions on investing into India.
After a 17-year successful stint at Reliance Group, where he was a key decision maker, Madhu went entrepreneurial in Jan 2018. He is the founder of MK Ventures, a boutique proprietary investment vehicle, focused on alpha opportunities across sectors. In the new initiative, Madhu has assimilated a best-in-class team of professionals with over 75 years’ experience of investing in and building businesses. The team’s key members have all worked with Madhu for over 5 years, and left Reliance Capital with him to start out MK Ventures.
MK Ventures essentially started out as a family office for Madhu. However, the ambition is to scale it up into a differentiated investment platform that can collaborate with leading institutional and individual investors globally. Together, they can deepen the scope of engagement, and bring the best strategic advice, corporate governance and business practices to investee companies, to create maximum value for all stakeholders. The team at MK Ventures is in the process of executing detailed plans to create this robust investment platform and has made significant progress in last 6 months. To start with, they are already doing syndicated equity investments, where they co-invest with some of the most renowned Indian and Global investors.
MK Ventures brings to the table, the essence of Madhu’s Investment style – identifying passionate entrepreneurs, leveraging thematic opportunities, taking differentiated bets, and holding on to investments for long periods. With their deep understanding of the Indian market, they are also well placed to identify and benefit from special situation opportunities such as mispriced bets, deep value plays, turnaround stories, change in corporate governance practices, cyclical plays and business restructuring for wealth creation.
Until 2017, Madhu was heading the Investment Function at Reliance Capital, one of India’s leading NBFCs, and the flagship company of Reliance Group (one of India’s leading business groups with interests in Financial Services, Energy, Telecommunications, Infrastructure & Defence).
Madhu joined Reliance Group in 2001, and was entrusted the task to build their Asset Management – Mutual Fund business. He handpicked key members in the Investments team and spearheaded the fund’s investments. From 2003 until 2010, Madhu headed the Equity team at Reliance Mutual Fund (now Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management), effectively being the face of the Asset Management business. Madhu was also the architect behind the staggering growth in RMF’s AUM from less than Rs. 200 Cr. (USD 30mn) to over 1 lakh Cr. (USD 15bn+) in less than a decade.
Under Madhu’s leadership, RMF’s key schemes have consistently delivered best-in-class returns. For example, Reliance Growth Fund, the flagship scheme, delivered a CAGR of 32% between Jan 2004 and Sep 2010, compared to S&P 100 benchmark returns of 19.8%. The scheme has gone on to grow over 110 times since inception, and was the first fund in India to cross NAV of Rs. 1,100. During Madhu’s tenure, RMF was also rated as the most trusted Mutual Fund house for 3 consecutive years by Economic Times, India’s leading business newspaper.
In 2010 Madhu was promoted to Chief Investment Officer at Reliance Capital, RMF’s parent. In this role, Madhu provided strategic oversight on the entire Investment function at RCap – effectively controlling more than 3 lakh Cr. (USD 45bn+) in AUM. He also played an instrumental role in building the other businesses at Reliance Capital, and in attracting strategic investment into various arms of Reliance Capital by Japanese majors Nippon Life & Sumitomo Mitsui.
Earlier, before joining Reliance Group, Madhu worked in a number of sell side institutions for around a decade. He was the first professional employee, and the founding member of the Institutional team, at Motilal Oswal, one of India’s most respected brokerage houses. He also had brief stints at UBS and Peregrine Securities – where he was the Head of Securities.
Madhu is widely regarded for his ability for wealth creation. Over the last three decades, he has identified and mentored several passionate entrepreneurs, and invested in such companies in their early phase of growth. He has helped several promising companies realize their true potential. In the process, Madhu has acquired a deep understanding on how businesses work and also the intersection of macro and policy initiatives with micro / company specific constraints. This also reflects in the strong performance of Reliance Mutual Fund’s flagship scheme “Reliance Growth Fund”, which went up 110 times in 15 years, under Madhu’s leadership.
Madhu has been profiled by leading Indian and International magazines, including the likes of Forbes and Asiamoney. His views are sought after by the leading business news channels in India including CNBC TV18, ET Now, Bloomberg, BTVI (all English), and CNBC Awaaz, Zee Business (Hindi). He is a regular panellist for sharing investment views, and opinion on a host of macro and thematic events. He has also hosted or been a panel invitee to major conferences including those organized by industry bodies like FICCI, CII, leading domestic and international institutions related to capital markets etc.
Madhu is also frequently invited to make representations to policy makers on critical business-related issues of national importance, helping take the industry voice to the policy makers. For example, Madhu’s views on the Union Budget have been highly sought after for more than a decade now.
Outside of work, Madhu is involved with various social and religious causes. He is currently a Trustee at Konark Cancer Foundation – a dedicated cause working for cancer patients for both providing financial assistance and helping them get the right treatment and patient care. Madhu is also an active volunteer for Isha Foundation – one of the most recognized and respected NGOs in the country. Isha has been founded by Sadhguru – a globally renowned voice on social / spiritual matters.
As a way to give back to the markets, his second home for last 3 decades, Madhu has been active in several initiatives to educate retail investors on markets through conferences, events organized by local groups & associations, corporates.
Madhu holds a Masters Degree in Management (Finance) from the Mumbai University. He has risen from a vernacular (non-English medium) background to successfully pursue his dreams, and loves mentoring passionate entrepreneurs and investors to do the same.