Ambarish has studied at St Xaviers’ College, Calcutta where he pursued and received a Bachelors degree in Commerce, with Honours from Calcutta University. Thereafter he worked towards completing and qualifying as a Chartered Accountant. This entails three years of practical experience in auditing industries. Ambarish audited a mix of small, large, manufacturing, services, NGO, private and public sector organisations during the three years. Thereafter Ambarish worked at ABC Consultants for a year in management consulting, doing surveys and feasibility studies for industrial projects. He left ABC to pursue an MBA at XLRI, Jamshedpur. Ambarish’s MBA was with a dual specialistion in Marketing and Finance. The summer project was at EXIM Bank, Bombay where he worked on a World Bank/IFC funded project on improving India’s export competitiveness. After the MBA, Ambarish joined Standard Chartered Bank where he worked for a year in Calcutta, Bombay Branch and at the Head Office on a organization chart project. Ambarish then left to join HSBC where he worked for 7 years, in Bombay, in Hong Kong and in Calcutta. Ambarish worked in the areas of information technology, customer service, consumer banking and in corporate banking. The job involved considerable exposure to evaluating businesses, both small and large, from the perspective of a banking exposure (lending/other banking products). This applied to new relationships and existing accounts. Ambarish left to join Bank of America, where he headed the Eastern Region for the bank’s corporate and investment banking franchise, before moving to Delhi at the Country Office. The job involved working with large corporates, both, Indian and foreign across a wide spectrum of sophisticated financial products. There was strong emphasis on legal documentation which involved working with the bank’s and the client’s legal counsels. Ambarish left Bank of America in 2000. While there were several offers to go back to banking, Ambarish chose to try out something more adventurous-joining a dot-com. This was certainly not on expected lines, given his past record and the fact that a dotcom crash had occurred in mid 2000. Ambarish joined Naukri after meeting Sanjeev Bikhchandani through common friends. Since the company could afford to pay a much lower salary, Ambarish took a 60% salary cut, on a leap of faith. While dabbling in Quadrangle, the search division, to pay his way, he quickly moved to a full-time role as CFO, which was expanded to include Administration, Legal and for a while, HR. Ambarish has been a Board member since inception. The company went through several stages of evolution, from a loss-making start-up, break-even, scalability, profitability and finally an IPO, in 2006. There was significant development on the business front while launching new businesses, acquiring businesses, shutting down businesses-the full spectrum of corporate actions, so to speak. Life changed after the IPO and included front-ending the investor relationship initiative, secretarial and treasury functions. Also, the economy went through boom, bust, partial boom and depressed growth during the last 7 years, which added to the complexity and the challenges.
The next phase at Info Edge, starting in 2008 has particular relevance with IAN’s charter-the initiative to fund start-ups. This had a strategic and financial motive. Info Edge has a longer term investment horizon and therefore the strategic perspective. Info Edge has invested in 9 businesses, 8 which were start-ups and 1 which was a mid-stage business. Ambarish has worked on evaluating deals, discussing them at the Board level and then structuring the deals. He has worked with these companies in a subsequent mentoring/monitoring and counseling role. There have been stages of angel/Series A and subsequent stages, some of which involved third party investors. Info Edge has written off 3 of its initial investments which provided an interesting case study (on hindsight) on why certain companies implode. Ambarish has left Info Edge at the end of May 2014 as part of a planned transition since he felt there was a lack of challenges in his role at the Company. He plans to remain involved with early and mid-stage companies, while selectively working with late stage companies planning an IPO, on a project basis.