Jhanvi Kumari Mewar
(Jahnavi Kumari Mewar)
Head of family office and founder of reverse origination methodology Princess Jahnavi Kumari of Mewar, who represents the 77th generation of India's most powerful and oldest royal family dynasty, is the head of her family's office, based in Udaipur & Jodhpur Rajasthan, India. Princess Jhanvi (Jahnavi) has also founded and successfully launched several companies within the financial services, real estate, industrial, and healthcare sectors. Previously, she had worked for Ord Minett/JP Morgan as an Investment Adviser.
During a bespoke Family office event ELITE Global Leaders Conference in Rome and at the Vatican, organised by JABOY Productions in 2021, where Princess Jahnavi was invited as a keynote speaker, she spoke to Visionnaire Moralmoda about her role as the head of the family office, in a conversation led by Howard Levine, a property tycoon from Los Angeles. Visionnaire: What specific sectors are you currently invested in, and what sectors are you thinking about investing in in the future?
Jhanvi Kumari Mewar: Our family office strategy is straight-forward; we are opportunistic in where and how we invest, and the only sectors that we do not touch are technology and telecommunications. And in terms of where we are invested currently, I think that being sector diagnostic, you can safely assume that we are across the entire spectrum in terms of having portfolios in various sectors and various geographies around the world.
Tech and telecommunication are two exceptions that we never invested in, and we most likely will not in the future either. Our focus right now and always is based on our in-house strategy which I developed in 2011; the reverse origination methodology.. Prior to that we had a fairly vanilla style of investing, based obviously on very specific medium to long term factors.
Jhanvi Kumari Mewar: There are so many definitions of impact investing. We don't fit into the standard definition of impact investing, but we have made impact investments in India.
Since the development of the methodology, what we tend to do is reverse originate portfolio assets. We will watch a specific sector and a specific asset within that sector somewhere for two to five years, and we will then approach that particular company or that particular asset in a specific geography and we reverse-originate transaction or create an asset of our own based on indicators from our methodology. On occasion this could mean that asset stakeholders are not interested in raising capital or new strategic investor onboarding coming but we persevere, negotiate and work on that particular relationship for years if need be. Thereafter, we can reverse-originate a portfolio asset that sits within our portfolio of companies if it is a strategic fit. So it makes sense from a vertical integration perspective or it just helps us unlock intrinsic value in a pre-existing portfolio company. We implement our methodology to even our private structured credit portfolio. Do you look for a controlling investment stake, or are you okay with taking a minority passive investment stake? Jhanvi Kumari Mewar: Our preference is a controlling stake but in the absence of that a seizable minority with the board seat is also something that is give due consideration under very specific circumstances. So you are not keen on the above-mentioned sectors, and I will get back later to why, but please share with us some of the sectors that you are most excited about now?
Jhanvi Kumari Mewar: It is not about today, tomorrow, or yesterday. We have although identified three preferred sectors, healthcare is the one that we are particularly excited about moving forward, as well as education. So, I would say if we were to analyse where our preferences will lie in the next 2-4 years or maybe even on the horizon of five years we would be looking very strongly and very seriously at health care and education, where we already have the pre-existing portfolio assets. Are you looking for more mature companies with consistent cash flows or even more on the early-stage side? Where would you like to invest?
Jhanvi Kumari Mewar: We are standard private equity operators. We don't look at start-ups or pre-commercialised stage companies. You invest in mature companies that are at a later stage. Do you have a strategy on how to create value so that your investment will grow over time?
Jhanvi Kumari Mewar: Yes, that is what I was mentioning earlier, how the reverse origination methodology allows us to create value because we not only invest in companies that are a strategic fit for pre-existing portfolio assets or add ons in the long term. But also assets that will generate high double digit returns in the long term with a view towards succession and legacy.
What is your investment horizon for a specific asset?
Jhanvi Kumari Mewar: We are primarily long-term investors, but of course there are certain investments where we will exit at the five-year point or maybe the seven-year point, we don’t however invest in funds.. We are always direct to assets. So for us, it is the long and medium term horizon that works idyllically. Are there any new sectors that you are excited about that you don't have in your portfolio that you are looking at?
Jhanvi Kumari Mewar: Not in particular, no. We are a rather atavistic family office. We get adventurous but not too adventurous. In terms of geography, we tend to invest outside of India. Unless we are divesting and reinvesting in real estate within India. Those are our in-house projects on pre-owned land parcels and so on, so except for that one exception we tend to steer clear of all other sectors as far as investing in India. My father's office was set up in the late 1990s based purely on emerging market private equity strategies. So we love our emerging markets. We are a little cautious of frontier markets, but we have a current allocation, I would say, maybe 15% of our portfolio in frontier markets, which, to us, is too much. But we are still happy with it, and we are going to stick with it. But the emerging market is our favourite place to play in. The buzzword now in private equity and family offices is impact investing, do you focus on that? How does this impact your investment analysis?
Jhanvi Kumari Mewar: There are so many definitions of impact investing. We don't fit into the standard definition of impact investing, but we have made impact investments in India. Again, focus on the real estate space while thinking along the lines of communal engagement, growth & upliftment. So if we end up divesting out of a land parcel, that sits within a rural territory, where there is a significant need for communal support & upliftment, we will make that priority and find a way to have it zoned into a development area - working with the government and once the zoning is done, we then try and obviously develop projects, so that there is job placement, more opportunities to make a livelihood; with mandatory balance sheet allocation towards subsidised education & training for children & women. We also use our foundations to fund local schools and create opportunities for children to be better taken care of medically and from an educational perspective as well. I wouldn't call that impact investing per se, but it is certainly our way of making an impact. We don't do climate-related impact investing, at least not yet.