Knowledge Partners


 Basiz Fund Service    Economic Laws Practice    Avalon Consulting  

 Spark Capital    Tatva Legal   

August 21, 2004

Profile of IIT-B incubated EDA firm

Express Computers magazine has profiled Powai Labs, an EDA tools provider that is being incubated at IIT-Bombay's "KReSIT".

An extract:

Says Reapan Tikoo, chief executive officer, Powai Labs, “Today, there is no tool which can cater to the need for a desktop simulation accelerator. We see IMAGE 2.5 (2.5 million gates) and IMAGE 1.2 (1.2 million gates) fulfilling this need. We are selling IMAGE 2.5 at $75,000 and IMAGE 1.2 at $32,000. With our products, a chip design company can get its chips validated at one-tenth of the existing cost.” The price advantage arises because the company’s technology utilises off-the-shelf components. Tikoo also says that the product enhances the speed of simulation, thereby increasing the productivity of every engineer.

Significantly, unlike any other company, Powai Labs plans to support every client with a dedicated support engineer at each client site—at no extra cost. Not only does this increase customer satisfaction, it also provides Powai Labs with important feedback which it uses to enhance the features of its products. Since the start-up is currently working with top design houses, it hopes to incorporate what it learns into its products, which have been received very well in the industry. Three of the top five silicon design companies have already validated its products. A leading MNC expressed a desire to buy the company, but Tikoo politely refused as he believes that Powai Labs is on the verge of becoming a global player.

Click Here to read the full article.

"Next wave of VC will target IP-based cos"

With the rapid maturing of the IT Services and BPO sectors, VCs - especially early-stage investors - will soon feel the need to spread their nets wider. Sanjay Anandaram, Managing Director of Indo-US cross-border VC fund JumpStartUp, feels these funds will now gravitate towards "Innovative Technology / Intellectual Property based product and services companies"

In an interesting presentation, which reflect his personal views, Anandaram highlights various factors catalyzing the emergence of IP-based companies in India. These include the availability of high-quality management talent (thanks to returning NRIs and the shifting of R&D units of MNCs and VC-backed Silicon Valley firms to India), the rapid growth in India's telecom sector, increasing access to other rapidly growing Asian markets, and emergence of a start-up culture in Engineering Schools like the IITs.

Anandaram provides examples of several exciting "born in India" start-ups focusing on IP - including some companies being incubated at the IITs.

Click Here to download the presentation.

August 18, 2004

VC Trends in India: The exit routes have become much easier

By Arun Natarajan, Editor, TSJ Media

My article on the above topic was published recently in the AlwaysOn-Network "blogzine". Here is the article's introductory paragraph:

In the first six months of 2004, venture capital firms exited their investments in 13 India-based companies. Although business process outsourcing (BPO) firms constitute a major portion of the successful acquisition-based exits, the real bonus has been the spurt in the number of IPOs by venture-backed firms.

Click Here to read the full article.

VCs with operating experience not necessarily superior: Bill Burnhan

Conventional wisdom has it that operating experience contributes significantly to making a successful VC.

Bill Burnham, Managing Partner at Softbank Capital Partners, doesn't buy it. An extract from his recent blog post on the topic:

When you catch most VCs in a moment of honest reflection they will tell you that while they enjoy working with their investments and trying to “add value” by using their operating experience, the single most important action that they take is deciding whether or not to invest. This is because a start-up’s initial “genetics” in terms of market opportunity, technology and founding team are typically the biggest determinants of investment’s success. Put another way, it’s almost impossible to turn a start-up with bad genetics into a good investment, no matter how good an operator you are. Thus, if the initial investment decision is so critical, than it stands to reason that investment skills are potentially more important to VC success than operating skills.

August 13, 2004

Kashmir says hello to call centers

Some enterprising folks in the troubled state of Kashmir have decided that would like to join other Indian states which are riding the boom in IT and BPO services to prosperity.

Quite a few newspapers in India and abroad (including the New York Times) gleefully picked up and published a Reuters report profiling Srinagar-based Magnum Software Services, which, has recruited 315 young Kashmiri men and women in recent weeks to provide transcription services for a client in Singapore. "Officials at Magnum said they hope to be an outsourcing pioneer in the troubled region where barely two years ago Internet and mobile phone services were barred because of fears separatist militants could use them to foment violence," the report said.

More strength to Magnum's founders. They are the kind of guy that will render Kasmir's Osama Bin Ladens jobless. When the number of well-paying jobs in a region increases, the Osamas will have to look elsewhere to find youth willing to do their dirty work.

Now, offshoring gets good PR

The free publicity rain for Indian IT companies continues. After giving Indian IT companies several million dollars worth of column space in the form of anti-offshoring reports, the same US publications have now started to make a U-turn and are praising Indian companies for adding jobs to the US economy!

"(Wipro) could end up being the techie's hero. In the past 18 months, it has taken on 300 US-based consultants, and that's just the start, says Pratik Kumar, the company's corporate vice-president of human resources. The outfit is actively recruiting U.S-educated MBAs, most of them Americans.... Judging by various outfits' plans, this trickle of reverse offshoring may well turn into a flood," gushes a new report in Businessweek.

And replacing Forrester Research's famous (??) "3.3 million US jobs to be lost due to offshoring" report, is the "recent study by economic think tank McKinsey Global Institute (that) has found that every dollar a US company spends on outsourcing results in $1.12 to $1.14 in additional work here".

How nice.

August 08, 2004

Phaneesh Murthy's first year progress report at iGate

Business Today magazine reviews the changes at iGate Global Solutions since the former Infosys Technologies marketing head Phaneesh Murthy took over as the company's CEO one year ago.

Click Here to read the full article. (Paid subscription required)

Businessworld interview with Temasek's India head Manish Kejriwal

Businessworld magazine has published an article on Singapore-based Temasek Capital's investments in India as well as an interview with Manish Kejriwal, who took over as Managing Director of Temasek's company's Indian arm.

The article points out that, with $500 million invested or committed to the Indian market, Temasek is the second-largest private equity investor in India (after Warburg Pincus).

Apart from direct investments in Indian companies (like Matrix Labs), Temasek also invests indirectly through its investments in India-focused VC funds like Merlion India Fund (a JV with StanChart Private Equity) and WestBridge Capital Partners.

"The fact that we are not structured as a fund means we can afford to take a long view on investments, as we do not need to divest our holdings within a certain period of time," Kejriwal says in the interview.