Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Bangalore proved to up to its name by being labeled as India’s “Silicon Valley”. The very famous moniker is due to the fact that thousands of IT companies are located here. It also reflects the aspirations of many residents to be in India’s “San Francisco”. Multinational corporations, especially computer hardware and software giants, also have corporations in Bangalore. Home grown giants such as Wipro and Infosys ( now multibillion-dollar companies) are local “pin-ups” of this State.
So these meetings in particular were a very important part of my Fellowship. This past week was very meeting heavy and was productive in that I was able to meet with a diverse array of technology companies and technologists, large and small, from developers, operators, US Subsidiaries, research labs, policy think tanks, multinational service companies, all adding the world eco system of technology.
Infosys is one of India’s largest software development, business services, product solutions, manufacturers, and banking solutions companies. InFosys is a global company and the exporting of software represents for 55 Billion of the company’s revenue. Infosys is listed as one of Forbes most innovative companies globally. I met with Mr. U Ramdas Kameth, who is the Senior Vice President of Administration, Infrastructure, and Security. Mr. Kameth began our discussion by first enlightening me to the intracacies and realities of the India Economy. He explained very eloquently the breakdown of IT development in India and how much this sector represents in percentage of India’s GDP, which is 72%. That is a very large amount, in comparison to 185 of GDP growth attributed to agriculture.
I was very keen on positioning an idea to InFosys, and several other large Indian service providers, that they should look at partnerships with small businesses in the US. I wanted to convey that one way to chip away at the stereotype that Americans have about India and its effect on the American economy is to begin engaging in more partnerships with small businesses that touch and impact the communities in US, directly, either through corporate responsibility programs, investments, and/or products and services that can help create jobs in technology etc..and help promote social service deployment and leveraging of our national technology initiatives. If this happens, then American citizens may begin to see that Indian companies are also “good corporate” citizens and can benefit local communities as well as large American companies. He agreed. We shall see.
Trellisys is a small software development company in India that began about 10 years ago designing websites. Now they are developing mobile applications for US publishing companies and making large profits doing so. They were started by two young Indian men, Arun Benty and Rohit Regonayak, who are both very seasoned in the art of design and software development. They created an app for Harper Collins called the Good News Bible that basically has turned the book, “Good News Bible” into an electronic and digitized version of itself. The app, makes more in revenue than the book. Their goal….to turn the publishing industry on its head and create applications that will advance book sales to an entire new level of growth. It’s an interesting concept that is proving to be very successful. Already, they are working on various applications for Harper Collins and other US publishing houses and creating advanced options for the consumption and buying of books, novels, and other printed media.
Loved meeting with them. Although they do not delve into creating niche mobile applications for providers or businesses, they were very helpful in again laying out the landscape of technology and its beginnings in Bangalore. It was a wonderful afternoon visiting and meeting their staff. I look forward to continued discussions with them as both our companies progress in our technology initiatives.
TATA is probably THE largest India business to date. TATA is a total global Indian company and owns many subsidiaries such as British Steel, Tetley Tea, Land Rover and Jaguar, and a host of other companies and retail chains that we are all familiar with in the US and worldwide. Like InFosys, they provide banking services, IT services, outsourcing services, manufacturer of automobiles, etc… I had the opportunity to meet with their heads of business development and thoroughly enjoyed the conversations about how TATA is very interested in engaging the US in other ways besides their current service offerings. I loved meeting with the TATA team because this was the first time that real synergy occurred in the buy in of the “partnerships with small American businesses” that already fit within their current business model. TATA has a very interesting philanthropic approach to helping community, one that can be utilized within US markets as well.
They abide by a company mantra called “Maitree” which is a Sanskrit deviation meaning “human network helping each other”. Thus, the conversation became a very interesting dialogue about how TATA wants to work with and help change the perception of Americans feelings towards Indian business.
With this meeting, I felt I was on the right track. The team ensured that when I get back to the States that TATA US, located in New York City, would be reaching out to me to set up meetings to discuss partnership possibilities in in the near term. A good meeting indeed.
Centre For Internet and Society (CIS) http://www.cis-india.org/
CIS is a policy think tank located in Bangalore that focuses on research and policy recommendations for technology development in India. The Centre was founded by Sunil Abraham a very knowledgeable policy expert that has been working on these issues for over 10 years. At the present time CIS is partnering with Google, Microsoft, and other various technology companies and providing research and on the ground information to combat the global digital divide. Again, this was one of the most fruitful conversations that I have had up to date. Sunil and his team, laid out the landscape of innovation in India in an expert way and offered great suggestions on companies I should visit, people I need to contact, and many of the new innovations coming out of India. Thank you Sunil! This was a very important meeting to have as I started out the week in India’s “Silicon Valley”.
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