Argonaut Private Equity, based in Oklahoma, announced the appointment of Anil Khatod as managing director with a mandate to significantly increase the private equity firmÆs exposure to India. Khatod intends to make India the second largest investment destination for Argonaut after the US (overtaking Australia which today ranks number two with about $300 million invested) and plans to invest up to $500 million in the country.

Jason Martin, managing director of Argonaut Private Equity comments, ôIndia has been an important destination for Argonaut since our first investment here in 2003. AnilÆs appointment significantly enhances our capabilities in India.ö

Argonaut currently manages in excess of $2 billion provided by a single investor, George Kaiser and describes itself as a venture capital and buyout firm dedicated to financing and growing emerging market leaders. The firm believes its ability to close deals is enhanced by the quick turnaround and the flexibility on size, stage, sector and geography which single ownership provides. Investments range ins size from $1 million to $200 million and cut across sectors including consumer electronics, specialty materials, telecommunications, drug discovery and delivery, medical devices, aviation and healthcare services. It currently has almost two thirds of its investments in the US with the balance spread across Australia, China, Israel, India, Japan and Eastern Europe.

Currently, Argonaut has less than $50 million invested in India including $20 million in Blue River Capital and $10 million in Midas Communication. Despite the plethora of private equity firms looking for India deals, Argonaut is optimistic that the lack of investing restrictions with which it operates will stand it in good stead in the country.

Khatod comes on board at Argonaut with more than 26 years of experience. He joins from AirDefense where he was appointed CEO in December 2003. Prior to that he was venture principal at Atlas Venture for two years. Khatod earned his stripes as at Nortel Networks where he spent almost two decades including a stint as Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer.