Editor’s note: John Yates, partner at Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP and an internationally recognized technology attorney, is in India this week on a “tech trek,” looking to generate business opportunities for the Atlanta and Southeast technology sector. He is posting blog and video entries at . The law firm has offices in Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, Savannah and Washington, D.C. Local Tech Wire will be following Yates’ trip and posting Yates’ observations and news. First stop – Mumbai.

Day 2 centered around a trip to the central business district of Mumbai known as Nariman Point. Getting there wasn’t easy – only about eight kilometers, but an hour and a half in traffic. (

My first meeting was with the leading technology and IT law firm in India, Nishith Desai Associates. Mr. Desai started the law firm years ago in his basement and now has over 70 attorneys with offices in Mumbai, Bangalore and Silicon Valley, Calif. The law in India is unique in many respects, most notably with restrictions on investments in Indian companies. The Nishith Desai firm has a focus in tax, securities and M&A for companies doing business in the country.

The next meeting was with Rashesh Shah, chairman and CEO of Edelweiss Capital and reportedly the best-connected man in India’s financial community. His financial services/investment banking firm has grown 100 percent annually for a number of years and has over a thousand employees.

Rashesh pointed out an interesting fact. Even though India will soon be the most densely populated country on earth, it represents less than 2 percent of the world’s investment banking/corporate finance activity. In short, there are great opportunities to expand corporate finance activities in this country!

Mr. Shah’s firm, Edelweiss, has an interesting motto – "ideas create, values protect." He described it as the gas pedal (ideas create) with periodic use of the brake (values protect). Several U.S. companies could take heed.

A few other interesting observations about doing business in India:

  • We needed extra copies of our MMM Technology brochure at one meeting. The chief executive insisted on making copies for us – in full color and with almost instantaneous delivery. Conclusion – there seem to be people everywhere to help with any task and deliver it in record time.
  • Of our eight scheduled meetings, four canceled and one sent another representative. Conclusion: it’s hard to get around in Mumbai and if you think you are going to be late for a meeting, you probably cancel it.
  • We had a "working lunch" at one of the offices and were offered Subway sandwiches. We politely declined and drank the carbonated Coca-Cola (I was tempted to eat the Subway sandwich, but remembered the culinary caution from my friends with similarly situated American digestive tracks – don’t eat it!)
  • Every business executive was well schooled in marketing and promotion. Mr. Desai talked about his "SOTA" – State of the Art – program. Mr. Shah discussed the "India Inside" campaign – taking any company and having back office operations moved to India to reduce costs.

Tomorrow will be focused on finding companies to invite to Atlanta. Everyone we meet acknowledges that Atlanta has an outstanding Indian business community, and we have underscored that point time and again.