@thinkSantosh (Santosh Dawara) points out that the GSF (Global Superangels Forum) is looking for an Entrepreneur in Residence, and hopes people from Pune will take this opportunity to increase their network, increase their exposure, and help improve Pune’s presence in the Indian and Global startup ecosystem.
More information about the EIR@GSF program is here.
What are they looking for?
An EiR (Entrepreneur in Residence) is a misfit, a rebel and a leader, who sees an opportunity for change everywhere he/she looks. An EiR is restless, looking for his/her next challenge, while engaging with the best and brightest startups in India. An EiR is a humble, go-getter, rolling his/her sleeves up to get the job, any job, done.
EiRs will anchor GSF’s startup accelerator programs in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai by scouting, evaluating and aiding selection of the best startups from different regions of India. They will explore and drive strategic partnerships and expand GSF’s already robust mentor network of top entrepreneurs and executives in the tech community across the four cities. EiRs will also be responsible for designing and executing programming, managing logistics and buddy mentoring startups from MVP to Demo Day to eventual funding. EiRs are also awarded equity into the startups selected for GSF Accelerator.
For its inaugural program, GSF Accelerator inducted 17 EiRs who have have been entrepreneurs, students, investors, and ex-consultants. They have worked at some of the most exciting companies in the world and have educated from top tier educational institutions. Till date 30 EiRs have been part of GSF Acceleration program. For more details, please see the profiles of the GSF 2013 EiR
Team, and the GSF 2012 EiR Team.
Why is this being shared here?
Santosh says this:
I have no direct affiliation to GSF. But here’s why I suggested this,
In the near term an EIR is not a bad thing for an entrepreneur who is in-between ideas and is looking for a filler, or to simply grow his or her outlook, network.
In the long run, it will help us all immensely if any serious incubator were to consider a presence in Pune. If I may remind everyone, we are still missing the institutionalization of failures and successes of Punes startups. It helps to have one roof. As a result, every yr startups get going and attempt to reinvent without the benefit of what’s already been figured out by previous startups.
An incubator in Pune is atleast a step in that direction. If not that, having direct connections is the next best thing.
Can someone help me with the application?
Again, Santosh writes:
If the applicant is serious and has some of the necessary qualifications, I think there’s a lot of people on this list who will be willing to help in whatever way they can.
Just to be clear, we are talking about real mining, the kind where you dig up the earth and extract minerals – not data mining. Software technology is becoming an increasingly important part of mining, and is used in all aspects of mining, including use of sophisticated data analysis and modeling to locate mining sites, analysis to make mining processes more efficient, and also to to improve mineral recovery, and automation to allow remote mining, underground tunneling.
According to the press release, the mining innovation center in Pune will have about 300 engineers focusing on disciplines such as image processing, advanced data mining and analytics, automation and control systems, human factors design and logistics.
This is just one more development that cements Pune’s position as one of the top destinations for technology development at the intersection of software and the “harder” engineering disciplines like manufacturing, mining, automobiles, computer aided design, and computer aided engineering.
Pune is one of the few cities in the country that regularly and promptly publishes its annual budget on its website. Pune NGOs Janwani and Parisar have analysed the budget and published the analysis so that everybody can get a better idea of where our tax money is being spent.
Overall, while Pune gets good marks for making the budget available to the public, apparently, the budget is not easy to understand, and making sense of it requires a significant amount of further processing. Parisar has done exactly that.
Now the next step is to convince the authorities to publicize how the money is actually spent (as opposed to how they had planned on spending it).
The following year, we organized an “Internship Mela” for students looking for internships amongst Pune’s startups, and we had to turn away 100s of students from the gates after we somehow managed to accommodate 800+.
In July 2011, organizers of the Java 7 Launch event in Pune had to hastily shift the venue of the event to a larger hall when, unexpectedly, 400+ people registered unexpectedly
When we organized PyCon Pune, the International Python Conference, we were expecting it to be much smaller than the first two PyCon’s that were held in Bangalore, since the Python community in Bangalore is much stronger. However, once again, we had to close registrations after the number of paid registrations hit 650, since the venue wouldn’t take any more. Raymond Hettinger tweeted that this was probably the biggest PyCon outside the US.
Once is happenstance. Twice is co-incidence. More than that, and it needs to be given a name and a webpage of its own. Amit Kumar Singh called it “The Pune Effect” in a tweet in response to PyCon Pune becoming the biggest PyCon outside the US.
So, this webpage is dedicated to the Pune Effect, and the amazing tech community in Pune.
And it comes with a challenge.
A challenge to all organizers of tech events in India – Why are you not in Pune? I’m looking at you, NASSCOM Product Conclave, and DrupalCamp, and Amazon AWSCamp. If you’re an organizing a tech event in India, remember that if you skip Pune, you are missing out on your largest event.
And this is also a challenge to all the techies in Pune. We have to work to maintain this reputation. Follow the PuneTech Calendar where all the tech events happening in Pune are listed (you can subscribe to get all PuneTech events sent to you via email or via RSS), and the make it a point to attend. This will definitely help your career – you become more knowledgeable, and more importantly, you get to know lots of interesting and knowledgeable people. Not only should you attend tech events, but also drag some of your shy friends with you.
The most active tech community in the country is right here in Pune. Are you a part of it?
An April Fool prank post is a tradition here at PuneTech. This year, Hetal Rach suggested the idea that a prank involving an article written by Vivek Wadhwa would be a good idea. Based on this, we made up the whole article, all the statistics and graphs, and all the expert comments too.
We would like to apologize to Vivek Wadhwa for misusing his name like this. We did not contact him before publishing the article, so obviously did not have his permission to do so. We were not even expecting to be noticed by Vivek, so imagine our shock when the first comment on the article was by Vivek himself, pointing out that:
I have no idea why my name is being used here and is linked to my website. I have performed no such research and don’t believe that the metrics used here are valid.
We held the comment in moderation (so as not to give the joke away), and quickly contacted him over email to explain the situation. We are very thankful to Vivek for taking the whole thing with a sporting spirit.
Just so that it is clear to everybody, Pune’s IT industry is NOT going to decline. I’m sure it will see phenomenal growth. As Vivek Wadhwa himself said in his comment:
Pune may not be able to grow at its current rates, but I know of no reason why it should decline. To the contrary, it has built a stable of experienced engineers that are likely to want to start companies. They will boost entrepreneurship in the region.
I’m sure entrepreneurship in Pune is flourishing and will scale newer heights.
All of the “expert comments” in the “Reactions in Pune” section were made up by us.
Santosh Dawara is not joining Infosys (as far as we know)
Arun Prabhudesai is indeed focusing on the education sector as part of My Open Campus, but has no intentions of introducing Java in primary education, and certainly does not want to upset the powerful Geography lobby.
MrShri does want you to come to FourSquare Day Pune 2011 and find out for yourself.
Sahil Khan would really like you to visit yolkshire and eat a silky omelette
And I haven’t really checked, but I am certain that Rohan Dighe would heartily agree with his own advice that one should drink beer, write code, and let other people worry about the future.
This time though, most people figured out that it was a prank, and hence there are very few real bakras in the comments section. However, many people who figured it out, used the comments section to unleash their creativity, so it is well worth a read.
Update: Vivek Wadhwa left a detailed comment on this post, which we’re including in the post here for wider visibility:
Navin, there is no reason why Pune can’t become a center for entrepreneurship–build it’s own version of Silicon Valley. All of the ingredients are there. There is a highly skilled workforce, ambitious people who have experience and a desire to change the world, and relatively good infrastructure.
What is needed is for experienced entrepreneurs to start mentoring the fledgling, and for the creation of networks where people congregate, exchange ideas, and help each other. This is how Silicon Valley works and how Indians have become so successful here. One out of seven tech startups in Silicon Valley have an India CEO or CTO–which is amazing considering that Indians constituted just 6% of the Valley’s working population in 2000.
Pune can lead the nation in entrepreneurship and become a competitor to Silicon Valley itself if it does things right. This will take a decade or so to achieve, but is possible. You need to have the community get together and make this happen (note: I said community–not government).
And yes, the world is such a small place because of the internet and social media tools like Twitter, that articles like this reach people like me. I saw the Tweets which mentioned my name and wondered why you were using this in vein.
(Update: This article was a PuneTech April Fools Day Prank. A full apologyexplanation, is published here.)
(For the last 6 months, Vivek Wadhwa, an entrepreneur academic, has been conducting a detailed study on the competitiveness of the tech industry in India, China and Indonesia. His detailed report is due next month, but since PuneTech was a data-collection partner, we have been given an early preview of a rough draft of the report. The full report goes into comprehensive detail for the tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 cities of all three countries, and we don’t have permission to publish that data, but we have picked a few excerpts relevant to Pune. Many thanks to Hetal Rach, Western Region Co-ordinator for Wadhwa Research for helping us make sense of the report.)
The India Story – Not Shining
(The next few paragraphs are taken from Chapter 2 of the report)
Much has been made of the rise of India as an IT powerhouse in the last 2 decades. The story has been nothing short of miraculous – with $76.1 billion in revenues, the IT software and services sector constitutes 6.4% of the GDP of India, and 26% of all Indian exports (up from just 1.2% and 4% respectively in 1998). Looking forward, the general consensus, especially of experts based in India, is that the next decade will continue to be one of high value-added growth. A popular opinion amongst industry watchers is that while the first decade of growth in Indian IT/ITES industry was fueled by IT/BPO outsourcing, and the second decade of growth was fueled by software product outsourcing, the next decade will see the rise of software products being built and marketed out of India. The thriving startup ecosystem in India (for example, national forums like Proto and Headstart, and the even more resurgent local forums like Pune Open Coffee Club) are seen as leading indicators of this change that is sweeping India.
It has been clear to everybody concerned that this growth cannot really be driven by Bangalore, the poster city for the revolution. Bangalore and other tier 1 cities are already bursting at the seams as far as infrastructure is concerned, and there exists a massive problem of talent acquisition and retention. The general consensus was that the primary drivers of growth in the next 5 years would be tier 2 cities like Pune and Chennai, and tier 3 cities like Indore and Nashik would start contributing after 2015.
Most of these predictions have been based on very superficial data, and in many cases, just on the gut feel of the experts. There hasn’t been an attempt at a systematic collection of data until now, and this report is based upon the findings of a first of its kind research project that we have conducted by going all the way down to tier 3 cities. Unfortunately for India, the results are not promising.
A Pulse of Pune’s Future
(The next few paragraphs are taken from Appendix E of the report)
The young and dynamic city of Pune, often referred to as the Oxford of the East, is an example of the second wave of growth of the Indian IT Industry. Although a historically very important city, since the merger of Mumbai into Maharashtra in 1960, Pune has had to live in the shadow cast by its big brother, and has often not gotten the recognition it deserved. However, with its large student population, much better quality of life than Mumbai, and the famous Puneri attitude, it was perfectly positioned to take advantage of the IT revolution, and had done so admirably.
Starting from almost nothing in the ’90s, it managed to reach the $1 Billion mark in software exports in 2004, and now, at $8 B, it is widely believed to be on the verge of exploding.
Unfortunately, though, all is not well. Just a half hour spent in the city (especially on a Thursday) will give an idea of the persistent problems that plague the city. Roads are a mess, and traffic is an increasing problem. The electricity board can barely keep the city on right now, and the problem is expected to get much worse in the next few years. A bigger problem is that the city’s famed educational institutions are turning out, to quote the colorful phrase of a frustrated city CEO, “half-illiterate idiots,” and finding talent is becoming more and more like looking for a needle in a haystack.
As a consequence, Pune fares rather poorly on the Wadhwa competitiveness index, and based on that, the projected figures for Pune show that while it will see modest growth in the next two years, after that, there will actually start a period of decline for 7 years straight. See Figure 1 for more details.
(The full report is expected to be published next month.)
Reactions in Pune
PuneTech caught up with some prominent personalities in the Pune tech community to gauge their reactions to this research. As expected, opinion is divided. Some have already seen the writing on the wall and started taking steps accordingly, while others simply see this as a challenge to try harder.
Santosh Dawara, one of the founders of the Pune Open Coffee Club, and founder of Dubzer, agrees that there is not much of a future in doing a technology startup out of Pune, but believes that the future of the IT/ITES outsourcing industry remains strong:
“A huge advantage Indians have is that most of us are multi-lingual, and learn 3 different languages as a matter of course,” he says. “This will be a growing advantage in an internationalized and localized software world. As long as we continue to produce millions of people proficient in English and 2 other languages, we will continue to get maintenance, testing, l10n, and i18n work.”
As of last week, Santosh has quit Dubzer, and is joining Infosys as the head of their Software Language Services practice, where he will be responsible for translations of more than 20% of the world’s software products.
Arun Prabhudesai, who returned to India 5 years ago to start hover.in, is a great believer of the resilience of India. He agrees with the data, but disagrees with the conclusion:
“The key point this report makes is that we are not producing software engineers who are good enough to take on the competition. We fix that, and the problem is solved.”
“The two biggest problems our education system faces are these,” says Arun, “First, our most talented people, he ones who have the potential to be the best teachers and professors for our next generation, are becoming slaves to the lure of the dollar. I am setting an example by quitting that game right now, and joining academia. The second problem is that we waste so much of our children’s time by teaching them worthless stuff like history and geography. Tell me, which is the last great Geography startup you’ve seen? I will not rest until Java is introduced as a compulsory subject from the 1st standard in SSC board.”
Shrinath Navghane, better known as @MrShri, rejects the entire argument of the Wadhwa report:
“I don’t know what trends they’re seeing, but I think they’re completely wrong,” he opines. “It’s a joke to say that the tech industry in Pune will be just $5B by 2020. I expect just the Foursquare Based Services (FBS) industry in Pune to be $4.16B by that time, so the whole SoMe market will clearly be more than $5B. Come to Foursquare Day Pune 2011 and find out for yourself,” he challenges.
Younger entrepreneurs whom we contacted are apparently less worried. “#FAIL! B***nch*d,” responded Sahil Khan via twitter, “but no worries. Whatever the f**k happens with the software industry, people still have to eat. And the healthiest and cheapest food is eggs. Anyone care for a silky omelette?”
Rohan Dighe is even more chilled, “These baap people take too much tension. One should just drink beer, write code and let other people worry about the future.”
Amen to that, we say!
Update: As noted at the top, this article was an April Fools Day prank. To ensure that comments on this post did not give away the prank too early, some comments were held in moderation until the end of the day. All these comments have now been approved, but we have prefixed these comments with a [***]. Hence, when reading the comments below, please note that comments beginning with the [***] were not visible to anybody on 1st April.
Update: The contest is over. Winners and Judges comments are:
Satish Tilokchandani: “Good News Reporter”. Comments: A simple idea that could really catch on if done well. And can spread beyond Pune too.
Hemanshu Narsana: “Transportation Options Calculator”. Comments: Would be really useful if it included estimated rickshaw fares, and 6-seater routes.
Dhanashree Srivastava: “RFID tags for kids”. Utility is limited to only certain contexts, but an interesting project for students/techies to work on.
On Saturday, 8th January, Pune will again play host to a number of innovative inventors from across the country, as part of Innovations 2011, an event organized by the IIT-Bombay Alumni Association, Pune Chapter. This event showcases the best science and technology innovations in India (whether they are from startups, large companies, or elsewhere) that have been implemented in practice. The innovations are from varied fields such as medicine, agriculture, mechanical/electronic/chemical technology, IT products, etc. Here are some example innovations from previous years:
a simple mechanical device that prevents toilets in Indian trains from discharging waste products at a station (i.e. when a train is stationary), but opens up when the train is moving over 40mph
a health alert emergency system for senior citizens, to be worn on the body, and which can automatically detect if they’ve fallen, and can alert emergence response systems
a solar powered pivot irrigation by a lone inventor
an integrated system for ethanol production from sorghum, by Pune’s Praj Industries,
wi-fi security by AirTight networks,
stem cell therapy for pre-eclampsia
This year, again the event promises to be great. The keynote address is being given by Chetan Maini, CTO of Reva Electric Vehicles (which is now a Mahindra & Mahindra company). For more details of the event schedule see here.
Register here if you wish to attend. There is an entry price – Rs. 750 (with dinner), or Rs. 500 (without dinner).
Every year, Innovations holds a contest where PuneTech readers have a chance to win free passes for Innovations.
The contest this year is this:
Briefly describe a product or service that the tech community can design, develop and deploy for the benefit of the citizens of Pune.
The basic idea is this: there are lots of enthusiastic techies in the tech community in Pune, and we could easily harness their energies to build some great products that can benefit Pune. It could be some simple Question and Answer website like ForPune.com, or something more complicated. It need not necessarily be a InfoTech idea; could be anything else.
The entries will be judged on the basis of these factors:
Usefulness: How much does it benefit the citizens of Pune? How much does it benefit society?
Ease of implementation: How much effort will it take to implement. The easier it is to implement, the more the chances of winning. For example, any idea that requires the “co-operation” of PMC, or some other government body, has a low chance of being implemented successful, and hence a low chance of winning. (On the other hand, an idea that requires the co-operation of Pune Traffic Police will get higher marks because PTP has been pretty fabulous last year at implementing innovative IT based ideas)
Uniqueness: The more “innovation” your idea has, the more different/unique it is from anything else we’ve seen before, the higher marks it gets.
Please describe your idea in brief in the comments section below. The last date for submitting ideas is Thursday, 6th January, 12 noon. Winners will be announced by Friday, 7th Jan. If you’ve already bought a ticket for Innovations, and you win the contest, your ticket price will be refunded. If you don’t actually want the ticket, or if you’re happy to pay the price (which is rather reasonable), you can still enter the contest – simply indicate at the end of your entry that you’re not interested in the ticket. Please ensure that you give correct email address with your comment – so we can contact you if you’ve won.
A few weeks back, we had reported on the Pune Traffic Police’s contest to design a Pune Traffic Portal. The first round of filtering is now done, and PTP has announced 5 designs short-listed for the final round. You can see the designs at:
To vote and/or comment on these designs, go to the facebook page for this contest. 20% of the marks have been reserved for the community voting, and the remaining 80% will be awarded by the judges.
The results will be declared on 3rd January. The best design gets a cash prize of Rs. 50000.
(By the way, if you read this before 5pm on Monday, 27 Dec, please note that Pune Traffic Police have called their “facebook friends” to University Circle at 5pm today to analyze and discuss the traffic problems of that area, and gather suggestions from the people. DCP Manoj Patil will be present. Check out the awesome Pune Traffic Police facebook page for more details.)
Janwani and Pune Traffic Police have announced a contest for designing a traffic information portal for Pune. The last date for registering is 20th November, and the last date for submission is 30th November. There’s a cash prize of Rs. 50,000 for the winner. The contest will be judged based on usability, creativity, use of animated features, graphics and color theme. Contest entrants will get detailed guidelines after registering.
In the last few years, Pune Traffic Police have started a number of very interesting tech initiatives. For example, just yesterday, they announced the launch of a facebook page where citizens can report parking violations and Traffic Police will take action against the offenders. I assume it his this page.There is also the “Blackberry” programme, where Pune Traffic officers enter all traffic violations data in an online server, and this has actually helped them find repeat offenders, solve some long standing cases, etc. This system was developed by Pune Startup Omni-Bridge, and we’re hoping to cover them on PuneTech sometime soon.
Janwani is an initiative of the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA), it was formed in 2006 to advocate and promote equitable and sustainable development in the city beneficial to the citizens. This is turn stems from the fact that the city will not be an attractive destination unless it is a truly “livable city.”
Janwani endeavors to take a comprehensive view of city development. They work towards identifying gaps and priority areas in the development process, and providing well researched and implementable solutions. They are working to both create a shared vision amongst Punekars of the type of city they want, and bring this vision to reality by networking, facilitating and driving the development process of the city on the desired path.
(This article by Amit was first published on his blog and is being reproduced here with permission.)
Pune is well-known in India and internationally for being a hub of education and research. It has a wide range of academic & research institutions spanning various domains in science, technology, medicine, agriculture, arts, humanities, law, finance, etc. This blog article is an attempt to list out these various institutions. If you find any missing, please add a comment.
College Of Engineering Pune (COEP) http://www.coep.org.in
One of the top engineering colleges in the country. Also, the second oldest engg college in India (Established: 1853).
National Chemical Laboratory http://www.ncl-india.org/
The top research organization in India that is focused on Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.
Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) http://www.araiindia.com/
A collaborative effort between the Government and Industry, focused on testing and validation of various automotive related technologies.
Bhaskaracharya Pratishthana (Bhaskaracharya Institute of Mathematics) http://www.bprim.org/
Educational and Research Institute in Mathematics
National Center For Radio Astro-Physics ((NCRA – TIFR) http://ncra.tifr.res.in/
A division of TIFR, focused on research in Astro-physics. (Also involved with the GMRT (Giant Meter Wave Radio Telescope) Project near Naranygaon.
Tata Research Development & Design Center (TRDDC) http://www.tcs-trddc.com Part of the Tata Group – focused on research in various engineering and computer science related areas.
Computational Research Laboratories (CRL) http://www.crlindia.com/ CRL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons Ltd. The company is into the R&D and business of High Performance Computing (HPC) services and solutions.
Center For Development In Advanced Computing (CDAC) http://www.cdac.in/
Focused on advanced computing related research. Renowned for developing India’s first supercomputer Param.
National Institute of Virology (NIV) http://www.niv.co.in/
Research in virology. WHO Collaborating Center for arboviruses reference and hemorrhagic fever reference and research. National Monitoring Center for Influenza, Japanese encephalitis, Rota , Measles and Hepatitis.
National AIDS Research Center http://www.nari-icmr.res.in/
Various aspects of research on HIV and AIDS through infra-structural development, capacity building & research programs.