“I cannot divulge any more details unless it is firmed up and we have a specific proposal. Given the focus on the business and the asset right strategy, we will look at alternate structure to enable a faster growth particularly through management contracts. Towards that, we launched two new brands – Mementos and Storii – and we have an existing brand called Welcomhotel. These are the ones getting a lot of traction along with the Fortune brand. We are opening a hotel almost every month. We will aggressively pursue this growth through the asset right strategy,” Puri said.
ITC Hotels is exploring overseas expansion. Asked where that growth will come, he said: “Right now it is based on the interest we are getting from certain places. They will be more focused on the proximal markets,” Puri said.
The ITC chairman is in San Francisco as VP of CII, leading a business delegation on Union commerce minister Piyush Goyal’s ongoing visit to the US to attract investment to India and attend the ministerial meeting of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPRF).
“It’s a very productive visit. We see among among the startup ecosystem, particularly the VC and PE fund, a lot of interest to invest in India. What attracts them is the size of the market; the purposeful policy intervention for the progress that the Indian economy is making and the quality and depth of talent in India. This gives them the confidence and it’s been good discussions and some suggestions also came out on how India could develop further,” Puri said.
India already has a very robust ecosystem for startups. “We are the third largest ecosystem with 75,000 startups, more than a 100 unicorns and so many soonicorns on the way. Given the focus of the government, CII also has a counsel on startups, innovation and entrepreneurship. We have a corporate accelerator and corporate mentorship programme. One of the ideas we are exploring with the ecosystem here is how can CII create an Indo-US kind of bridge to enable startups in India to access not only capital and markets but also benefit from the experience and expertise of mentors here. The valley is the largest ecosystem as far as startups are concerned. And similarly also provide opportunity for startups in the US if they wish to access the Indian market. We are exploring the idea to play a facilitator role in this,” he said.
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