Editor’s note: John Yates, Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP partner 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.
MUMBAI, India – I had the pleasure of meeting Pravin Gandhi, founder of SeedFund, a fund providing seed capital to Indian companies. SeedFund appears to be one of the few organized angel/seed capital funds in India.
Amazing that in a country of 1.2 billion people (and growing!) that there aren’t more angel funds – – and to think we complain about the absence of early stage funding in the Southeast!
Mr. Gandhi is unique. He has been described as the father of IT in India. Earlier in his career, he was involved with the first technology IPO in India, and he has the respect of the Indian technology community.
You can think of Mr. Gandhi as the Indian version of John Imlay, the former CEO of MSA and the widely respected mentor of many of Atlanta’s tech leaders.
(See with Mr. Ghandi)
Here are several nuggets I derived from my discussion with Mr. Gandhi and other VCs, accountants and Indian tech executives on this day:
• True innovation is largely missing from the Indian technology company, in part as a result of the single-minded focus on process.
• As Indian IT service companies have grown, they’ve focused on scaling their services business, often to the detriment of pursuing innovative technologies.
• The IT services community may have been spoiled (my word) by the low-hanging fruit of U.S. customers (representing about 65% of the Indian IT services revenue) and European companies (representing another 20%).
• The Indian community lacks early stage capital to fund innovation. Why bear the risk of innovation (where only a small number of companies may be a big success and most will either fail or only moderately succeed) when you can maintain a steady flow of outsourcing work without the R&D expense?
• The absence of innovation in India may create future problems as competition from other countries increases in the process-oriented IT outsourcing space.
As a final observation, Mr. Gandhi was unfamiliar with the business climate and technology companies in Atlanta and the Southeastern U.S.. We provided background on the successful businesses in our community and invited him to join us for some Southern hospitality – and the UGA v. GA Tech football game (anyone have extra tickets for next year’s game?).
Look for my next post on the newest Indian phenomenon, the KPO – Knowledge Process Outsourcers – and new opportunities for tech companies in the South.
PS – Thought you’d enjoy a few videos of the sights in Mumbai. the business center of Mumbai, at night – called “The Necklace.” The other is the – think of it as a cross between Turner Field, Grant Field and Between the Hedges – except everyone is wearing white outfits and talking very proper.