|Volume 10: No. 06|
It's hard to get started in Bangalore, India -- what with spreading bribes around even to get a phone line -- and most tech ventures fail. Still, it's getting better in Silicon Plateau. Many bright, well-trained Indian engineers are starting their own companies instead of working for multinationals. Mahatma Gandi Road in downtown Bangalore is crowded with shoestring startups in cubbyhole offices, sometimes with poor access to electricity or even restrooms. Often the corporate email address is a free Hotmail account. Web/software developer IQura Technologies is one of the successes, having reached 18 employees and over $300K in revenue in 14 months. (The four founders recently turned down a buyout offer of $1.4M.) They're even planning to offer stock options, though recruiting good people has not been a problem. The Indian software industry is noted for low costs, high quality, and excellent service, but seldom for entrepreneurial pizazz. Now a new generation is being inspired by Infosys and other Indian successes. As Indian companies develop more work than they can handle, employees are starting to think that they could spin off a portion for themselves. The industry now does $4B in business, up from $150M ten years ago. IQura started with just $35K and a $400 project from a founder's brother-in-law. If it hadn't worked out, they could have gone to work for HP, Siemens, TI, or a big Indian company. [Mark McDonald, SJM, 07Feb00, 1E.] (One of the founders shifted to computer science because "that's what all the girls were studying." I hope it worked out for him.)
Narayana Murthy, 53, co-founded Infosys (Bangalore) in 1981 with six friends and $1K. He used to be a socialist, but realized that you have to create wealth before it can be spread around. Now hundreds of his employees are dollar millionaires or rupee millionaires. Infosys is one of the two or three largest companies in India, across all sectors, with a capitalization of $25B. The company had 5K employees worldwide, mostly quite young (average age 26). The 42-acre campus in Bangalore offers a gym, tennis courts, and other amenities. New government policies in 1991 helped to jump-start Infosys and the Indian software industry. [Ibid.]
Latino businesses are also doing well in Silicon Valley, growing at twice the rate of other California businesses -- and Latina-owned businesses are growing even faster. Most are non-tech businesses, in an area where the cost of living is very high -- but computing hardware, software, sales, and service companies are emerging, including Internet and e-commerce businesses. The Silicon Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is working for a tighter community with better information flows. One of their educational thrusts is to develop the bookkeeping practices and formal business plans that are needed to draw investment. [Alex Torres. K. Oanh Ha, SJM, 07Feb00, 1E.]
Check out the Stanford University Entrepreneurship Portal
"What makes equality such a difficult business is that
we only want it with our superiors." -- Henry Becque.
----- "What makes equality such a difficult business is that we only want it with our superiors." -- Henry Becque. -----