Yearning for the ‘Midas Touch’ in India

By : |June 28, 2004 0

NEW DELHI: Having been named top venture capitalist in the annual Forbes Midas List for 2004, managing partner of US based Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) Promod Haque,
is bullish about the Indian telecom market and is looking forward to fund some hardcore product development companies in the region. Zia Askari of CyberMedia News caught up with him during his stay in New Delhi and discussed his plans and vision for the Indian region.

What kind of focus do you have for the Indian market?

I have a three-point agenda for this visit – first to explore India in terms of funding good technology companies, then to educate Indian outsourcing community about the changes that they need to make in their existing networks to be able to remain cost-efficient in the long run. Third and the most important is to ‘link up’ our portfolio of technology and products companies with the Indian system integration (SI) community, so that Indian companies can compete for global projects more confidently than ever before.

You are proposing that all the big SIs in India like Wipro, Satyam and TCS directly compete with worldwide heavyweights like IBM. How can this be possible and what role would you play in this?

I am not saying that global work is not coming India’s way – but the point is that Indian SI companies have the potential to grab a better share of the pie and then keep increasing it. They can do it easily once they have relationships with our portfolio of products and technology focused companies.

There are nine companies that have come with me on this visit to India and we are engaged with all big SIs in the region for developing partnerships in this regard.

Suppose an Indian company partners with one of your portfolio companies, how will the model work on a global scale?

We have different companies developing and deploying products in the area of wireless technology and enterprise software. Here big Indian SIs can partner with us and in addition to selling our products, can also sell a whole lot of services built around these products.

This way, we will be able to help them make inroads into different geographies with a combination of products and services model. So we would be looking forward to providing our products and Indian SIs can code the solution and sell a bunch of services around them.

What kind of companies are you looking out to fund in this part of the world?

NVP focuses on early stage investments in enterprise software and communications technologies. The firm manages more than $1.8 billion in venture capital and has funded over 350 companies since inception.

A few months back we had invested around $7 million in Bangalore based Epiance, which was a consultancy and services company and then went on to product development. It has 10 people in US and 90 doing development work in India.

So far, we have invested in about 12 companies, which have some part of their product development happening in the Indian region. At present, we are talking to 4 to 5 product centric companies in India for funding. These companies are in cutting-edge wireless communication and enterprise software product space.

Why are you so bullish about the Indian telecom sector and what makes it so attractive?

The sheer size of the Indian telecom industry is making it one of the most lucrative markets in the world. At present, the Indian market is ranked at the fifth position after US, UK, Germany, China and Japan.

This matrix is going to change soon – over the next four to five years, India will spend more money in telecom infrastructure than Germany or UK. Indian service providers would be playing a major role in improving India’s telecom spending power over the next four years or so.

CyberMedia News

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