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Showing posts from 2006

Lessons for Startups- How to set up a Private Limited Company in India

For many would-be entrepreneurs, setting up a Private Limited company involves a vision of meeting with auditors, and lawyers and waiting in Govt offices to navigate through the bureaucratic maze.

Well, that's a myth. If you can spend a few hours now and then, it could be done in a month or less. And if you live in States where e-Governance is being implemented, it could take even less- may be a few days !

Click here to read about the eight steps involved in setting up a private limited company in India.

Go ahead and do it now ! Having an incorporated entity is the basic prerequisite for approaching VC uncles.

Venture Capital in India - Part 2

Finally, I am able to devote some time this weekend to catch up on all the reading I have missed out since I returned to India in August.

And also post a few thoughts.

Going through the various posts, discussions and comments on Venturewoods, I realize they are doing such a good job. No point in me replicating all those links here again.

It looks like VCs/Y Incubators are more interested in funding the right team than simply a good business idea/plan.If the right kind of team is in place, and if we can show that its a stable, committed team, it seems to be alright even if the current idea being worked on by that team does not have a feasible revenue model.And in some cases, the investors may also supply the right tweaking of the idea to create a viable revenue model OR more interestingly, in the interactions between the team and the investor/s, new ideas with lot more potential for financial returns would take shape.

The above point is in contradiction to what I have been reading/saying e…

Want to blog, but not able to

Lol ! That's been my sitaution ever since I returned to India. I have been travelling so much, and even spent 2 weeks in complete Internet/Mobile isolation.

Now I am in Mumbai, staying at a guest house provided by my company, where there is no connectivity. And by the time, I get back to the guest house its almost 8 PM, and after dinner and calls to Blr and other places, walking the kilometre to the nearest cyber cafe is not on priority list :-)

Will resume blogging after I get back to Blr around Dasara.There are some product/service ideas that i must blog about !

Effectual Reasoning: Hallmark of an Entrepreneur

Just read a fantastic article on 'What Makes Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurial'.

Excerpt:
"Yet, in our classrooms we teach potential entrepreneurs an extremely causal process-the sequential progression from idea to market research, to financial projections, to team, to business plan,to financing, to prototype, to market, to exit, with the caveat, ofcourse that surprises happen along the way.Seasoned entrepreneurs, however, know that surprises are not deviations from the path.Instead they are the norm, the flora and the fauna of the landscape, from which one learns to forge a path through the jungle.The unexpected is the stuff of entreprenurial experience and transforming the unpredictable into the utterly mundane is the special domain of the expert entrepreneur."

If you are an entreprenur, or thinking of becoming one, or simply interested in the topic of entrepreneurship, this article is a MUST READ.It is one of the best pieces I have read in recent times.

Credits: The artic…

Venture Capital in India - Part 1

For the past six months or so, I have been reading a lot about the abundance of venture capital availability in India.

Key Learnings for me:

1.There are several Silicon Valley driven VC funds that have set up or setting up a base in India, especially in Bangalore.

2.However, the perception among entrepreneurs is that there is very little traction in terms of seed capital investment. Most VCs seem to be playing the role of private equity investors, than true venture capitalists.

3.The VC funds on the other hand are bemoaning the lack of really good ideas from Indian entrepreneurs, lack of strong and focused teams, lack of robust revenue models, and an overall weak eco system that encourages seed/angel investment.

4.Most, if not all, of the entrepreneurs seem to be US-returned techies or business people with the capacity to invest their own funds at the seed stage.

Questions:

1.What do we need to do to create a truly vibrant ecosystem for entrepreneurship and VC activity in India?
2.The activit…

Bridging the digital divide in India - An idea

I discovered Sramana Mitra's blog recently. She has accomplished a lot at a very young age. People with similar educational backgrounds in India end up working in MNCs or Public Sector at high salaries, where as, the enabling environment in the US has helped her become a serail entrepreneur and Strategy Consultant.

After reading Sramana's Concept Arbitrage series of blog posts, and a few articles on her site, I started thinking about an idea for bridging the digital divide. Nothing really new. It is about convergence of mobile and television, where in one can use the mobile phone as the CPU, the TV set as a monitor, and use a key board and mouse as well if required.

Most of our rural areas (in India) are witnessing the mobile revolution faster than the PC revolution.In fact, according to some industry reports, non-voice traffic (music and picture downloads) is many times higher than expected, in India's rural areas. And with technologies like System-in-Package (SiP) being u…

Is rural India more industrialised than urban India?

Economic Census of India - Interim Findings

Is rural India more industrialised than urban India? Are there more enterprises employing 10 people or more in rural areas than in urban areas?

The answer is Yes, to both the questions, as per the interim findingsof India's Economic Census 2005. We have to wait till December for the final confirmed figures. But you can read some of the interim findings here.

Interesting, very interesting.

Here's my take though:

1.Most industrial units are located on the outskirts of urban areas because (a) the land is cheaper and (b) to benefit from the subsidies if any, offered by the Govt.

2.However, we can't really call these areas rural. In most cases, they have become part of the city. Just because the corporation or municipal council limits do not extend till these industrial areas (yet), it does not mean they are all located in rural areas.

3.IMHO, as part of the economic census, the very classification of whether an area is rural or urban should…

Destruction of Hindu Temples

Just read this news item on Rediff.

Apparently, officials of the Evacuee Property Trust Board of Pakistan, concealed the information from its Chairman, that the property to be demolished houses the only Hindu Temple in Lahore. And the Chairman 'unknowingly' gave the order to demolish the Krishna Temple and build a commercial complex in its place.

Imagine if some thing similar happened in India. We would have seen major riots in most communally sensitive urban areas. But I guess Pakistan is much more secular than India, and so, demolishing temples or Buddha statues is no big deal - progress is more important.

However, it is interesting to note that several opposition members of the National Assembly have raised their voices against this act:
saying such an act could have a bearing on Pakistan's relations with neighbouring countries.

So, it is not the question of hurting the sentiments of Pakistan's Hindu citizens, but about safeguarding Pakistan's reputation among the i…

Shane Warne's blog

If I have to rate the top three bowlers of all time, Shane Warne would be among them.And I guess it is not just about the number of wickets he has taken, but the way he bowls.

While Murali enthrals with his magic, and Mike Holding used to make us gasp in awe at the fluidity of the movement, Shane's simply so obviously cerebral in his bowling, and makes it look so effortless with his wizardry.

Anyways, better writers than me have written about Shane and other great bowlers. I shall reserve my writing skills for a later day, when I feel in the mood to write about the cricketers I like (Gavaskar, Steve Waugh, Kumble, Shane and of course, the one and the only Sachin).

The occassion for this post however, is to declare that Shane Warne has started his official blog, and I have just posted a Welcome to blogsophere kind of comment there. You can read Shane's blog here..

Or, if you are in the mood to see the best eight balls that Shane Warne has bowled (according to Shane that is):

Blogging about India and its issues

I haven't blogged for about 10 days now. But in these 10 days, I must have logged at least 10 comments on various sites, esp on Sepia Mutiny.Mostly long comments :-)

So, I keep telling myself that I should blog about an issue when I have a lot to say. But I also notice that I have a lot more to read than I have to say.

Let me look at what I want to blog about:

1. The educational system in India- What can we do to improve primary education and make higher education more market oriented?

2. The infrastructure issue in India - Our urban areas in dire need of regeneration; rural areas need basic facilities like water, sanitation and power. And then the roads. We need roads, roads and roads.

3.The health care system in India - Primary health care facility for the poor.More research into India-specific diseases.

4.The polity and taxation- Why am i mixing politics and economics? Because I agree with people who say that politics is the business of managing a country's resources. Here, I wan…

The Reservations Issue - My Perspective

What with almost every other site being choc-a-blog with the reservation issue, though my primary concerns are about the rural poor and primary education, and not the debate on higher education, I still felt compelled to participate on some of the blog-based discussions on this issue.

Sepia Mutiny is one of the sites I have started frequenting of late. Some good posts and some quite ordinary ones.The perspective is avowedly Desi American, though on most posts, it comes across as more American than Desi, excepy may be in Amardeep's posts.

Ok..I just logged a comment on Abhi's post on Sepia Mutiny. So, thought I will put my comment down here as well.

Link to Abhi's post

Abhi,

While I fully understand that your perspective as a US citizen would be different from that of an Indian citizen, especially on matters such as this reservations issue, since you were any way blogging about the issue, you could have done better than depend on TIME magazine's perspective. As you very righ…

Are Brahmins the new Dalits in India?

Cross-posting my entry on Sulekha Blogs here:

Francois Gautier has once again raised questions that are bound to be uncomfortable to those among us who harp on 'centuries old oppression of the downtrodden in India'. In a hard hitting article on Rediff, Gautier reveals that most of the Sulabh Sauchalayas (public toilets) in Delhi are manned by the so-called upper caste, priestly class Brahmins.

Also, that 55% of Brahmins in India live below the official poverty line. And according to a study done in Andhra Pradesh, a very large percentage of the State's Brahmins are employed as domestic servants.

And more such damning statistics. Why damning ? Because, it seems to be that during the 5o years of its implementation, the reservation policy has created one creamy layer, but has added more people to the 'Dalit' category. More over, these Brahmins, who are the new Dalits, have no chance of ever being considered for any reservations.

This reminds me. During the Mandal agitati…

Local self government in India and UK- A brief comparison

Decided to cross-post my post on Sulekha here as well. Not that I am having any visitors to this blog :-) Just on the off chance that in future, if any unfortunate passers by in the cyber space happen to knock the doors of this blog, I want to give them every opportunity to read and respond.

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We all remember reading about local self government in India, and how it evolved over the ages. To summarise quickly, India, a land predominantly made up of rural, agrarian communities, has always had a rich tradition of local self-government .

Village councils (Panchayats) used to collect the taxes, and utilise a substantial portion of the tax revenues for the benefit of the community it self, and then pass on a pre-defined amount to the sovereign government, which then spent the money on defence, highways, welfare activities, arts and sciences etc. We read in our History books that the Chola kings of the South improved the local self-government a lot by increasing the decentralisation and…

Chemical Research Process Outsourcing? Any one?

We all know about the IT outsourcing, BPO and even KPO in India.We also know that a lot of R&D outsourcing also happens in the engineering design, chip design and other such areas.

Here is some thing new- Chemical Research Process Outsourcing. I don't know how much of this is happening already in India. But in UK and US, a lot of University professors in Chemistry departments are using their labs and graduate students to do research for industry. The Chemistry departments benefit from the money paid by the industry. The students get real research experience with industry application, and good stipends. The companies (mostly Pharma)of course benefit from the research,and cut down time and costs in their research.

Why can't we do this in India?

Picture this - a few qualified Chemists, with experience in Analytical and Medicinal chemistry want to quit their jobs at some Pharma company and launch a startup. They strike a deal with a University Chemistry lab to use the facilities…

Rapid growth of Web 2.0

I have always prided myself on my ability to keep up with news and developments in various fields. I accomplish this by regularly visiting a few top sites in the fields that I am interested in.

But from June 2005 till Jan 2006, for almost 6 months, I stopped looking at what's happening in Silicon Valley, due to a variety of reasons, personal and professional.

And when I started looking at the sites, blogs etc., again in January, I discovered that Web 2.0 has made a really fast move and in just 6 months, there may have been literally hundreds of new sites and services. While most of the services are based on technologies that existed since 2002, some of the new services are a testament to the creativity of the promoters.

And friends from San Jose tell me that the dreamers have come back; people are getting offers to quit companies like Cisco and Oracle to join these startups. See the story on Newsweek for example:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12015774/site/newsweek/

Is this another bubbl…

A Visit to East Ham

Last Sunday (March 12), my daughter Lasya completed one year. We would have celebrated it grandly if we were in India. Here, in the UK, one needs to plan everything months in advance. And in typical Indian fashion, my wife and I kept talking about it but did not really plan anything till a week before the birthday.

In hindsight, it was good that we didn't plan in advance. As the options were limited, we decided to go to East Ham, visit a Hindu Temple, have a good lunch and then spend the rest of the day, roaming around Central London.

We left Reading in the morning, reached Paddington, and made it to East Ham on the tube. The Hammersmith and City Line was closed for engineering works. But luckily, we got the connections to Liverpool Street and then East Ham quite fast and reached the temple by 11.15 AM.

My uncle and aunt, and their two children Neha and Naren joined us at the temple.They live in the country side in Suffolk and do the 70-mile journey to London regularly.

East Ham is pr…

Tale of a Sultan-Azzu Bhai as we knew over the years

This is another personal essay I found from my files from 1998-2001. Its about Azhar, one of my favourite cricketers.At that time, Azhar faced a lot of media bashing.I was among the few who felt that Azhar is either being framed or at least being made the scapegoat for what was a systemic malaise. I wanted to send this to a newspaper or a web site, but then was too lazy.

Read on...

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For those of us, teenagers of the 80's, cricket really started after the '82 Asiad. With TV happening everywhere, India winning the World Cup, and kids like me coming of age-that is, starting to comprehend The Hindu's sports page dialect and BBC's fluid commentary, we the Andhra and Hyderabadi kids, longed for someone of our own in the national team. Shivlal Yadav tweaking a few and being a brave tail-ender in Tests wouldn't satisfy us. And none of us had seen Jaisimha and Abid Ali play. Hungry eyes scanned the junior cricket score sheets for upcoming stars.

And then he came…

Technical Writing in the Life Sciences Industry

This is the article I recently wrote and sent to TechCraft.

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Working for a noble cause
- Technical Writing in the Life Sciences and Health Care Domain

Those among us, who follow the technical writing mailing lists in India, are used to questions from freshers in the field on the career path of technical writers (TWs) after a few years in the profession. Another oft-repeated question is related to the perception about lack of respect to technical writers in an IT organization.

While responding to such questions, we see senior members of the profession advise the TW to focus on improving his/her skills and obtain domain knowledge- and both career growth as well as respect will follow. It is obvious that one of the main trends today is the increasing emphasis on domain-knowledge for the technical writer. And when a TW acquires domain knowledge, there could be a natural career progression, which may not be currently visible.

For TWs working in the IT industry, the Life Sci…

Intro..

Well, here I am, on a moderately wintry evening, playing old telugu melodies on the computer and typing away my first blog.

There is so much one can say and yet words sometimes are such poor cousins of actions..aren't they? A friend at Univ used to talk about 'active pacifists' and 'passive activists'. Sometimes one does fear that such a fate befells most individuals in today's ultra-fast, nano-tech civilisation.

Hmm..anyway, this is supposed to be an Intro..the first blog..and I better be a little more cheerful about the world, I reckon.

In the coming weeks, I shall first attempt a high level understanding of the world as I see it..try to create a list of things I want to write about..and scribble a few thoughts that have crytallized over time.

Lets see how this shapes up.