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Interview with Prasad V Potluri
Date: 26 November 2011, Hyderabad
prasad v potluri

Prasad V. Potluri who is known as “PVP” is probably one of the very few 1st generation, self made and youngest serial entrepreneurs in the Indian sub continent. He has built and sold 3 companies around the globe by the time he was 35. He is foraying into Indian media now and his PVP Ventures is into organised film financing. Seen as a maverick and mercurial entrepreneur, he is a force to reckon with in Telugu and Tamil film industry today. PVP Cinema has five major films on floors, which also includes Kamal Haasan’s film. Here are the excerpts of exclusive interview with PVP who made it really big -

I hail from Vijayawada. After completing my bachelor’s education, I wanted to pursue graduate program in the US, but my visa application got rejected thrice. I went to Australia to do my masters in 1994 February. I tried going to the US from Australia. On my 7th attempt, I finally got a single entry visa (90 days) to USA. I landed in the USA on 1st August 1995 with 160 USD in my pocket. I bought into the American dream and in June ’96, I started my first company called Procon Inc. In 27 months, Procon Inc had 250 employees. The company was acquired for 32 million dollars in November 1998. I was 27 years old then. We were fortunate to be one of the first movers that were able to unlock the value of a services business and was quite a sensation!.

After which I was introduced to an investment opportunity and saw an exciting platform in Karvy Group (Hyderabad) and bought a large stake in 1999. It was my best investment decision till date which also supported my growth plans in India.

I began my second endeavour in the US, wherein I started to build a e-business solutions firm inorganically and acquired 2 firms in the US and formed Albion Orion LLC. I was one of the first Indians in the US that pursued M&A in North America and successfully sold that company for 63.65 million dollars in September 2000 to SSI Ltd. This was the largest cross border transaction in India at that time !

Then I moved to London, UK and started a new company called Irevna that pioneered and spawned the KPO space. We have coined the word “KPO” which stands for Knowledge Process Outsourcing. Irevna provided high end analytics and research services for global investment banks. I began the company in August 2001 and withered the 9/11 crisis and successfully grew to a team of 500 MBA’s serving the needs of fortune 1000 corporations.

In 2005, I sold Irevna to Crisil India, which during the course of the acquisition became Standard & Poor India. During that time I had the opportunity to witness the growth potential and the India story exploding into the global arena. I saw tremendous opportunities and started investing in real estate and Infrastructure. In my 10 years of organisational development in North America and Europe, I had never gone to any US government office for any major business need. It was quite a complicated environment to navigate in India and it took me few months and may be years to unlearn and learn.

I have invested 886 Crores in India so far. All this money is from my earnings abroad and my co investors. I haven’t borrowed a single penny from any bank in India and haven’t received any concession from any government. I feel proud that I have contributed 886 Crores to the Indian economy. In our realty group, we have acquired the famed Binny Mills property in Chennai which has become one of the largest realty projects in South India at the moment.

Media plan:
I see a long and progressive phase for the Indian media space and do have ambitious growth plans. We are focussing on three verticals in media segment - print, content and broadcasting. We have chosen Sakshi as our point of entry into print media and invested 147 Crores. We have already entered into content development by producing films. We plan to enter broadcasting vertical soon.

Film Financing:
You might have heard about people financing films. But, here is one strange case financing the release of a film. It was PVP Ventures that played a key role in release of Pawan Kalyan’s ‘Komaram Puli’ by paying dues of producer a day before release. We have financed around 25 films so far. The entire capital for NTR’s last movie Oosaravelli was also provided by us.

Film production: Currently we are producing the following five films

1. Rajapattai (Veedinthe... by birth in Telugu) with Vikram and Deeksha Seth. This film will be released in Telugu and Tamil on 16th December.

2. Vishwaroopam (Tamil, Telugu & Hindi) – written, directed by the legendary Kamal Haasan, its hailed to be one of the most thrilling, ‘global’ Indian film ever made. Set on a high end technical spectrum with a budget range that only very few can match, ‘Vishwaroopam’ has garnered prominent media buzz due to its project value. Status: Under Production.

3. Naan Ee (Tamil) – a fantasy, mega budget bilingual directed by Rajamouli, who is one of the most sought-after directors in Telugu. This is India’s biggest sci-fi thriller, which will capture family audiences with its simple plot and superlative special effects. The film stars young actors Naani, Samantha & Sudeep.

4. Irandaam Ulagam (Tamil & Telugu) – written & directed by Selva Raghavan, whose known for his dynamic themes & explosive story telling. The film stars Arya & Anushka with music from Harris Jayaraj, and is a dream project for the director who has travelled the road less taken and yet delivers the much needed commercial hits. This film is going on the floors in December 2011.

5. An untitled film (Tamil & Telugu) - written & directed by National award winning Director Bala – a path breaking venture from the critically acclaimed filmmaker in the South, who has brought laurels to many an actor & whose films bring accolades from far & wide.

It was Vijaya Vahini banner from Telugus that dominated the Tamil film industry and South in the golden era. After that we didn’t have many prolific film producers of Telugu origin active in the Tamil film industry. I am happy that PVP Cinema is simultaneously producing five films in Tamil/Telugu.

Roadmap for PVP:
Our vision is to make PVP as a one-stop shop for all capital needs for Indian Entertainment Industry. We already have leadership in Telugu and Tamil film industry which consists of 50% of the entire Indian film industry.

Right now PVP Ventures has four verticals Realty, Infrastructure, Financial services and Media. We are concentrating more on media now as we are relatively new entrants!

Credibility is the key:
I sincere feel that credibility is what differentiates the men and boys in India !!. We walk the talk and our organisational fabric is that our deeds and words are consistent. The DNA and the ethos of PVP Ventures consist of clarity of vision, credibility, consistency and conviction.

PVP Foundation:
I have donated 50 Lakhs to Siddhartha Academy in Vijayawada in 2000 towards development of PVP Siddhartha Institute of Technology. I have also donated 25 Lakhs to LV Prasad Eye Institute in 2001. On our 25th year reunion in August 2011, I gifted one Lakh worth gold to each of 27 teachers who taught me at NSM Public school, Vijayawada. We have started PVP Foundation that is focussing on provision of free education and healthcare for people that are less fortunate than most of us are!

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