NEW DELHI: Billionaire Sunil Mittal’s son, Kavin Mittal, has joined the group business. On Thursday, Bharti Enterprises said it was inducting Kavin into the management of joint venture that will invest in social media, gaming and e-commerce.
Kavin, 25, will head strategy and new product development of Bharti Enterprises’ mobile internet joint venture with Japanese telecom firm Softbank Corp Mobile. Kavin’s twin brother, Shravin, had joined Airtel’s Dutch subsidiary last year.
The equal joint venture, Bharti Softbank Holdings Pte Ltd (BSB), will aim to accelerate the spread of mobile internet in India, the companies said on Thursday, without giving any financial details. India has over 850 million mobile phone customers, but data services account for only about 12% of mobile phone companies’ revenues.
“With a fast growing economy, a large youth population and access to cheaper and faster data, there is a unique opportunity…especially in a country where the first screen for most is a mobile device,” said Kavin Mittal said in a statement. Atsushi Taira, previously SVP of International Business Development at SoftBank Corporation will be the CEO of the venture.
“Over the decades, SoftBank has endeavoured to develop new markets for Internet businesses, starting from the US, China and now India. I believe that through mobile internet, we can change people’s lives in India and empower them to contribute to society’s growth.” Taira said. Prior to this, Kavin was running AppSpark, a startup he founded about five years ago. In 2009, AppSpark launched ‘Movies Now’ in partnership with movietickets.com, an iPhone/iPad application that allows customers to purchase tickets online across the US and Canada, according to information found on its website.
A year later, AppSpark shifted focus to a new app – Foodster – to help customers with food recommendations and reviews. ‘Foodster’ was launched in beta in June this year. Kavin could not be reached for comments, but he replied to a twitter message saying he was “currently focused on BSB” and was “figuring out next steps for AppSpark and Foodster”.
According to a Bharti group spokesperson, Kavin has a master’s degree in electrical and electronics engineering and management from Imperial College, London. He had interned at McLaren Racing, Google and Goldman Sachs before launching his startup. Bharti Enterprises has interests in sectors from retail to financial services.