Happiest Minds is a smaller company that does the same thing as MindTree and L&T Infotech — but clearly it is doing it a lot better

Happiest Minds is a smaller company that does the same thing as MindTree and L&T Infotech — but clearly it is doing it a lot better
Chairman of Happiest Minds Technologies, Ashok SootaBCCL
  • Happiest Minds Technologies, the Indian mid-cap IT services company, has tripled in value since the launch of its IPO in September 2020.
  • According to Nomura, the company is doing the same thing as its peers — like MindTree and L&T Infotech — but it’s doing it better.
  • Happiest Minds’ is leveraging its partnerships with big players like Google, Microsoft, AWS, Salesforce and others to dip its toe into a bigger pool of potential customers.
Happiest Minds Technologies, the newest mid-cap IT services company on the block, has tripled in value since the launch of its IPO in September last year. Unlike Burger King and Mrs Bector’s Food, which lost steam soon after the listing, Ashok Soota’s company is still going strong, adding to the investors’ wealth.

The secret of its success? According to executive chairman Soota — who is also one of the richest men in the country who made his debut on the Hurun Rich List in 2020, which called him ‘The IPO Star’ — the company is currently focused on upselling and cross selling its existing services, rather than wooing new businesses.

Happiest Minds is a smaller company that does the same thing as MindTree and L&T Infotech — but clearly it is doing it a lot better
Increase in share price of Happiest Minds Technologies since IPO launchBI India

Nomura believes this momentum will continue to build as a result of ramp up in deals and partnerships that Happiest Minds has been able to capitalise on. Nonetheless, Nomura expects Happiest Minds to continue to grow at nearly two times the pace of large caps — like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), HCL Tech, Infosys and Wipro — and 1.5 times the pace of its mid-cap peers, owing to its digital presence.

Even though the Bengaluru-based company has a similar distribution of clients as its mid-cap peers — like MindTree and L&T Infotech — it’s able to get a bigger bang for its buck, according to global financial services major Nomura.

CompetitorsMarket capitalisationShare price gains since September 17
Happiest Mind Technologies₹ 2,339.54 crore208.8%
Tata Elxsi₹ 9,513.50 crore114.1%
Cyient₹ 5,159.95 crore47.13%
Persistent Systems₹ 8,858.92 crore44.17%
L&T Infotech₹ 16,794.01 crore41.66%
MindTree₹ 38.64 crore33.66%
MphasiS₹ 12,572.82 crore25.12%
Coforge₹ 4,729.46 crore15.84%
Source: BSE, Calculation as per closing prices till February 18

It has exposure to 38 clients that have revenues in excess of $1 billion. The more money these companies have, the larger their technology spends are likely to be. According to Nomura, the projects that Happiest Minds has in its kitty are small. But, all of them need a refill on the services they’ve already got.

Happiest Minds’ money making formula
Financial advisory firm KR Choksey believes that the company can be a ‘one-stop shop’ to address the entire gamut of customer digital IT spends.

It doesn’t hurt that as compared to its peers, Happiest Minds’ has been a frontrunner in forging key alliances and partnerships in areas that have boomed during the digital era — this includes analytics, cybersecurity, information management, e-commerce and virtualisation.

And, these partnerships are with large independent software vendors (ISVs), which gives the mid-cap company an opportunity to dip its toe into a larger client base, according to Nomura.

MicrosoftCloud platform and productivity, Internet of Things (IoT), AI Inner Circle Partner, Gold partner at Azure IoT
Amazon Web Services (AWS)Cloud, data center transformation, IoT
Google Cloud PlatformCloud and analytics
SalesforceCustomer Relationship Management (CRM), sales cloud, commerce cloud, marketing cloud, consulting
ThingworxIndustry 4.0 IoT
Siemens MindsphereGold partner in Industry 4.0 IoT
HortonworksBig Data platform
mongoDBBig Data infrastructure and analytics
McAfeeCybersecurity, risk and compliance
RSARisk and compliance, identity management
PimcoreDigital information management
SAPSilver partner in e-commerce
Source: Nomura’s report dated February 16

When the company first came into existence, the focus was on expanding its customer base. Now, the impetus has shifted to upselling and cross selling.

This means doubling down on its existing customers by either offering upgrades on the services they have already signed on for with Happiest Minds or selling them products related to what they have already own, respectively.

In order to make this strategy successful, its leveraging management relationship and aligning sales incentives to meet the required goals of cross selling and upselling.

What’s the catch?
Nomura notes that even within India, which accounts for 11% of its revenue, the company has enough exposure to capture the attention of larger US clients.

As other mid-caps look to Europe, Australia and New Zealand to diversify their presence, the majority of Happiest Minds’ revenue — around 77% — currently comes from the US market.

However, while Happiest Minds has the right exposure, it lacks domain expertise barring select areas and is the key focus area of investment, according to Nomura. “Inability to beef up domain capabilities could be a key risk to scaling accounts, in our view,” said the report.

This is despite the fact that Soota himself is the former chairman of MindTree. And, the leadership team behind him has up to two decades of experience at other IT companies like Wipro, Electronic Data Systems, and MuSigma. A fact that KR Choksey’s report from January pointed out.

At the time of launch, Happiest Minds IPO received an overwhelming response from investors. It was oversubscribed nearly 151 times on the last day of bidding, making it the 8th most successful IPO of the decade in India.

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