Pune based startup AppSurfer, which allows Android app publishers to “publish” their apps on the web, so that buyers can try out the app in a browser before having to download it to their mobile phone, has just been covered by TechCrunch.
Amazon’s Appstore for Android has long allowed consumers to test apps in the browser before purchase, but a new startup debuting now wants to offer an alternative. AppSurfer, as the company is called, has a bigger vision: it wants to become the “YouTube of Android apps.” Whether or not the company can get there is still an unknown, but there’s something interesting about this idea of making apps browser experiences which can be tried, tested, shared, run and embedded anywhere.
AppSurfer was first covered by PuneTech last year, when it was one of the companies selected to be part of the PuneConnect 2011 event. (It was called DroidCloud in those days.) As a result of being one of the top companies of PuneConnect 2011, they were invited by Economic Times’ ET Now TV Channel on their Super Angel Show. AppSufer went on to win at Super Angels show, getting Rs. 1cr of Angel Funding.
App developers interested in using AppSurfer technology can sign up here.
STEC Inc., a leader1 in solid state storage devices for the enterprise market, announced yesterday that it has a acquired KQ Infotech, a Pune based software services company.
Regular readers of PuneTech will remember KQ Infotech as the company that runs the Mentor India internship program for students interested in systems programming, and also as the company that ported Sun ZFS to Linux. KQ Infotech was started 3 years ago by ex-Veritas (Symantec) people (Anurag Agarwal and Anand Mitra).
STEC is a company that makes customized storage solutions based on flash (solid state) memory, and DRAM for various OEM customers like EMC, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, LSI, etc. STEC has revenues of around $300 million, and has development centers largely in Malaysia and US. This acquisition establishes STEC’s first development center in India.
STEC is mostly a hardware company. In order to improve the “solutions” offerings around it’s hardware, it needs some good software, and this acquisition attempts to accelerate the process of building a software team
Few software companies can afford to not be in India; and given the current hiring climate, it is rather difficult to build a new team from scratch in India. STEC is acquiring KQ Infotech and 30 of its employees – this gives them an “established presence” in India, and they can build on top of this.
One would expect KQ Infotech to go on a hiring spree in the area of storage system software.
KQ Infotech did not have any significant products of its own, and STEC is unlikely to be interested in KQ Infotech’s existing customers, so this is essentially an acquisition of the expertise and talent.
It is very likely that KQ Infotech, which is really a fairly small and new company (started just 3 years ago), was first noticed by STEC because of KQ Infotech’s ZFS port. Herein lies a lesson for other startups – porting ZFS had no direct monetary benefits to KQ Infotech, but it was a bold and “world-class” move that gave them immediate visibility all over the world (e.g. they got two mentions on slashdot‘s front page), and gave them a lot of credibility. In the words of co-founder Anand Mitra, “ZFS made an big difference in our credibility with customer. Before ZFS, our customers would ask, ‘How do you know your team is capable of this kind of work,’ but after we did ZFS, the conversation would go, ‘Clearly, you are capable, let’s talk about what we need'”
Pubmatic, whose development team is entirely in Pune, is an Ad Optimization Platform that helps websites increase their ad revenues. We interviewed Mukul Kumar, the Pune-based Co-founder and Vice President of Engineering of Pubmatic to understand better what exactly Pubmatic does, and how it does it.
Click on the “Play” button above to listen to the interview. If you don’t see a play button, or are unable to hear the interview for some reason, click here.
(This is an experiment. Audio interviews are much easier for us to do than full-fledged text interviews. So, if you like this, please let us know, and we can do many more such interviews. If you don’t, then we’ll assume that nobody is interested in listening to audio interviews, and we’ll go back to doing our (few, rare) text interviews. If any reader is willing to spend the time to transcribe (or ever write a text summary) of the interview, please let us know. You can get attribution a link from PuneTech in return for this social service! Thanks.)
About the Interviewee – Mukul Kumar
Mukul Kumar, is a founding engineer and VP of Engineering at Pubmatic. He is based in Pune and responsible for PubMatic’s engineering team. Mukul was previously the Director of Engineering at PANTA Systems, a high performance computing startup. Previous to that he joined Veritas India as the 13th employee and was Director of Engineering for the NetBackup group, one of Veritas’ main products. He has filed for 14 patents in systems software, storage software, and application software and proudly proclaims his love of ? and can recite it to 60 digits. Mukul is a graduate of IIT Kharagpur with a degree in electrical engineering.
Please keep the responses coming. It is encouraging to see that as a writer. Last week’s mention goes to Sagar Khedkar, who picked out Iranian Politics 101 as the OT item. Congratulations!
Last week was pretty packed from a news standpoint so the newsletter is a little long as well.
Nortel done for good: Nortel has sold off whatever was remaining to Nokia Siemens Networks. I remember the days when Nortel was one of biggest OEM customer for a majority of semiconductor companies. No more, RIP!
While the demise of Moore’s law has been predicted many times, will this prediction be true? Could be, if you are thinking that the cost per transistor will decline due to process geometries. However, there may be other methods of reducing the cost other than using a smaller process node. Some out of the box or lateral thinking may be needed to keep Moore’s law alive.
BTW, a little birdie told me that 2014 will unleash a new economic up-wave much like 1999. I wonder if that will again be based on advances in the semiconductor/nano-tech fields.
Semiconductor Market updates: There are just too many of those every week so rather than adding links, I will just summarize. The curious readers can go find the articles themselves
Gartner is claiming that the semi market has hit the bottom and is increasing capex outlook. I wonder if they will have to eat their words. Gartner is also saying that IT spending will fall 3.8% this year, but grow by 2.4% next year – I just don’t understand how this works; if the biggest downturn after the great depression can cause a decline of 3.8%, a bounceback of 2.4% next year would absolutely have to be backed up by heady growth, which does not seem likely.
iSuppli says that semi sales were pretty bad last quarter, but like Gartner is calling Q1, 2009 as the bottom and saying that Q4, 2009 will be better than Q4, 2008. We shall see ….
Japan fab tool book to bill has climbed from 0.65 in April to 0.74 in May. Again the claim is that we have reached the bottom. How do we get this number? The three month average for worldwide billing was $391.1M in May while it was $385.7M in April. This does not really seem to be a quantitative improvement and to call a bottom based on this certainly does seem to be a leap of faith.
In general, people are trying to be optimistic. However, I am not sure that we are going to see any quantitative improvement even if we are at a bottom. We could be at the bottom for a long time. Forget these numbers and just look at Chinese and Japanese exports for the past few months – they have fallen in May as well. That tells me that there is no one buying those chips that people are making!
Analog Devices launches a new website: This is a prime example of marketing people creating news of out nothing and the press covering it. I wonder if ADI also held press briefings to herald the advent of a new website to the editors.
India’s Solar plans: Going by the past record in power generation, I will be happy even if we see 1% of the 1GW power generation target
New Energy guidelines for the US and the EU: Now this is something I wholeheartedly support. Government regulation in this case will spur innovation and reduce power consumption, possibly giving better returns to the companies. According to the news item, energy start rated appliances saved ~$19b from the US energy expenditure costs.
Sun may cancel Rock, a high-end Server CPU: The Rock may turn into a Brick as Sun failed to submit a paper at the HotChips conference. They should really give up the pretense. They have lost the battle and the war and need to focus on something that they do really well.
EU warns Microsoft against not including the browser in Windows 7: Microsoft seems to be caught between a rock (pun not intended) and a hard place. After punishing them for including IE with WIndows, now the EU is telling them not including the browser will be a problem as well. Instead, they should include a choice of browsers with the OS, albeit tested, so the lazy bums on the EU competition commission don’t have to download and install.
India sets 3G base fee at $835M: Get on with this already. We are tired and waiting to get 3G. While I am not sure, this may be the first instance where mobile companies have the 3G networks ready, but the spectrum is not. No wonder the Indian Bureacrats were ranked way at the bottom.
First look at iPhone 3GS: Looking at the Broadcom and Toshiba chips inside, people are saying that the “S” stands for Savings …
WAPI is back on Wi-Fi agenda: I hope the International Organization for Standards (ISO) rejects WAPI as before. This is a crude way of getting access to technology that is officially impossible to get. By making WAPI compulsory in China, they are making sure that the technology shared with a Chinese firm will atlest be one if not more generations older.
Personal Energy Meters on the way: More useless research. I will not be surprised if they have a touch screen, blue tooth, WiFi, etc. and communicate totally irrelevant information to the user. How about putting more money into research that will make the devices we use everyday smarter and greener? Don’t forget to turn off those lights when you leave the building too!
Thank you for the great response to last week’s e-mail. Please continue with your responses and I will keep on sending this out every week.
Arati Halbe gets the mention for being the first one to pick on the OT news from last week. A few other people did point it out as well, but she was the first. Another reader thought that the Semi industry in Pune is like the Mayan Civilization as it keeps on depleting local resources, and hence the topic was really on the money 🙂 This newsletter also contains an OT item, but is more entertaining.
Google and the Internet caused economic crisis: This brilliant conclusion drawn by Peter Clarke of EE Times. While it is true that globalization and improved communication technologies have disrupted traditional economies, by the same token the Industrial revolution disrupted existing agrarian economies and can be blamed for the great depression. So, while the headline is catchy, the conclusion is just plain wrong …
Are we in denial about the crappy semiconductor market: iSuppli says that foundry market will see strong growth in Q2 after three straight quarters of contraction, but FBR said that the market will cool off in Q3. Why the bullish tone? Does it really matter that the IC market declined by 22% against 24%? It still is terrible and unless and until the cost structures created to support higher sales numbers are dismantled, we will not see 1990’s type growth. Short term thinking to please the wall street is the real culprit here. There are innumerable news items last week that herald a recovery, but is it real? I have nothing against a recovery, but I just don’t get how people will start buying more chips when they are just not buying anything at all? Gartner clearly says that the demand has not returned to the market and increased sales for some companies are due to inventory restocking – this is also known as stuffing the channel. (link)
Broadcom wants confidential information from Emulex: Does this not sound a little odd? Why would anyone give up their confidential information to a hostile buyer? Broadcom seems to have painted itself in a corner with no way of getting out. The market is also pricing Emulex above the Broadcom offer.
Power over Ethernet market sees growth: Now what would be interesting is to see if someone could send power packets over wireless Ethernet. That will instantly get rid of all the clutter we have around our PCs. Let’s see if that can be done without frying anything that gets in the way!
ZigBee & low power Bluetooth tapped as the next generation health device standard: This is really important as networked health devices are going to be a huge market. Imagine a blood pressure monitor sending a message to your doctor when irregularities are seen. I think this is a fabulous opportunity for Indian companies to be developing health devices. However, Bluetooth is far from reliable and has too many connectivity issues so they will hopefully have been fixed.
This is my first attempt at sending out a digest of Semi/EDA news from last week. I am also peppering it with my own, slightly irreverent comments, so feedback from you is greatly appreciated. I will also try to put in at least one off topic item somewhere just to see if you are reading this! Whoever points out the OT item, will get a reward – your name will get a mention in next week’s news.
Chip market to contract 21.3% in 2009: More gloom and doom. While everyone has their own prediction, real decline will only be apparent Q1 of 2010 as a hindsight; singularly unhelpful as a forecasting tool.
Larry Ellison wants more Java on Netbooks and Phones: Here goes Larry again. Anyone remember his attempt at pushing a network PC a few years ago? A PC or a phone either has Java or not – how do you get more or less Java? And, I don’t think he intends to spill Coffee on the machines 🙂
Intel launches the CULV Processor: What is a CULV – this is just as bad as BING. Wonder if Intel and MSFT used the same agency to come up with the respective names. China may be the main market for this, so they are probably betting on getting this pronounced as CURVE anyway.
Flexible Memory: The researchers at National Institute of Standards and Technology in the US claim that this technology can be used to print memory as easily as printing a slide. I can’t wait for the day when I add more memory to my machine by photocopying it at the neighborhood store …
The other rivals in the race were L&T InfoTech and the American billionaire Wilbur Ross. This news is already being covered in great detail in all the national business media and I doubt if I can add anything new.
My thought would be from a Pune angle. Pune has been amongst the leading IT cities in India for a while now. Infosys and Wipro have plans underway to expand their Pune centers into their single biggest facilities. Yet, a ‘Pune-based company’ has never been in the big league!
It’s worth noting how Infosys started in Pune in the early 1980s and then moved on to Bangalore. In some sense this void can be filled today! Tech Mahindra has its roots in Pune for many years. Here are a couple of links that provide more information about the company profile:
A Pune-based company has been running a SMS newsletter service for mobile phone owners in rural Maharashtra dedicated to local news for the last two years. This service reaches out to nearly 300 communities spread across 25 districts in the state.
And most importantly it has become a source of income for the rural youth, who call themselves ‘mobile’ journalists. They are paid Rs Rs 3,000 to Rs 6,000 per month.
“I had no job before I started this SMS newsletter in Parbhani. This venture has given me name, fame and a steady income,” said Ahmed Siddique, editorial coordinator for Parbhani district, who joined SMSONE Media Services Pvt Ltd last year.
“The concept was awarded the social innovation award by the The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) on February 11,” said said Ravi Ghate of SMSONE, who began the newsletter by training 300 unemployed youth in mobile journalism.
See the full article. The video embedded above has the founder Ravi Ghate giving a good overview of how the whole thing works.
After being with Java since its beta days, my interest in Ruby was aroused after I read an article Ruby the Rival in November 2005. I decided to learn Ruby myself and started making my Ruby Notes for my site, RubyLearning.com.
How have your Ruby & Rails related projects progressed in 2008?
I started my free, online Ruby teaching site in January 2008 and today it has over 5600 participants who have either learned Ruby or are in the process of learning Ruby with me. The experience has been very positive and fulfilling. I’ve also been promoting Ruby in India since 2006 with my PuneRuby User Group. I also managed to convince the the University of Pune to introduce Ruby as a full time paper in their computer science course from Jan. 2009.
With RubyLearning.org I am able to give Ruby exposure to people across the globe (there are currently students registered from over 140 countries) – we have people from far-flung places where no trainers (leave alone Ruby trainers) are available – my site facilitates that.
Satish runs two RubyLearning portals: namely RubyLearning.com (is a thorough collection of Ruby Study Notes for those who are new to the Ruby programming language and in search of a solid introduction to Ruby’s concepts and constructs) and RubyLearning.org (where, since 2006, participants from across the globe have been learning online and for free, the Ruby computer programming language).
However the RubyLearning portals are not Satish’s primary occupation. His experience lies in developing and executing business for high technology and manufacturing industry customers. Basically, he has helped start subsidiaries for many US based software companies like Infonox (based in San Jose, CA), Maybole Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (Servient Inc. based in Houston, Texas) in Pune.
On the occassion of World Animation day yesterday, the Times of India reports that Pune is becoming the premier destination for animation and multimedia companies and educational institutes in the country.
The city has always been known for its creative talent, and its famous twin Mumbai for the media and entertainment industry. However,
NASSCOM’s Lavanya Jayaram feels the multimedia business is now shifting base from Mumbai to Pune, thanks to improved connectivity.
“It is now possible to provide better work environment to multimedia application
developers in Pune and reduce the overheads as against the situation in Mumbai,” she said speaking exclusively with the TOI.
“Pune is fast progressing as a multimedia hub. The talent here is backed by necessary social infrastructure and the right training facilities. The city has already taken the lead in developing and promoting itself as an animation and gaming hub,” Lavanya added.
And the facts confirm the trend. In last two years, 4-5 animation giants have shifted base from Mumbai and Bangalore to Pune. Chetan Deshmukh, committee member of the Marhatta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture’s (MCCIA) animation company said, “Big Animation, Anibrain, Krayon pictures, Jump Games are just a few of the many biggies that have shifted to Pune. Besides, experts from international animation giants like Dreamworks regularly visit the city to conduct workshops and seminars. The township of Nanded city on the outskirts of Pune is coming up with a gaming park too. The acceptance that animation industry has received in the city has laid the platform to make Pune an animation hub in the country over the next few years,” Deshmukh said.