Mittal’s moneyman partners with Reuters

Rishi Khosla has seen the future of investment research, and it’s heading straight to India.

Rishi Khosla has seen the future of investment research, and it’s heading straight to India. The 30-year-old co-founder and CEO of Copal Partners struck a deal late last month with media giant Reuters that should result in more big Wall Street firms supplementing their securities analysis with help from Copal’s New Delhibased research team.

The joint venture is targeted at brokerage houses that want to access more historical data and compare it across industries and regions when preparing investment research. Reuters, whose core business is financial information, will supply the raw data. Copal, which has already carved out a niche by providing customized corporate research and sector analysis for investment banks, hedge funds and consulting firms, will analyze the data and present it to customers in a usable form.

“We’re aiming to help major clients expand and maintain their coverage across new geographies, sectors and companies,” Khosla says. “And we think we can do it quicker, better and cheaper than our competitors.”

Reuters hopes the collaboration will give it an edge on rivals Bloomberg and Thomson, which currently do not have relationships with outside analyst teams like Copal’s. For Copal, which Khosla founded in 2001 with his friend Joel Perlman, the deal brings wider exposure to potential clients. The firm now employs more than 130 people in India. More than three quarters of Copal’s workforce hold either MBAs or Ph.D.s, and 95 percent are focused on research.

With outsourcing to India such a delicate political topic, Copal’s clients have bound Khosla to strict confidentiality agreements. But the charming, affable young CEO, who has a master’s degree in accounting and finance from the London School of Economics -- and who cut his teeth as a venture capitalist for GE Capital Europe -- has one client who doesn’t mind being named: Lakshmi Mittal. For the past six years, the billionaire global steel magnate has entrusted his personal private equity and venture capital investments to Khosla, who splits his time between Copal’s London office and its research headquarters in New Delhi.

“It’s my hobby,” Khosla says with a laugh about his moonlighting for Mittal. “Yes, it is real in that they’ve given me another chunk of capital to put into play for them, but my full-time focus is on Copal Partners.”