The next wave of entrepreneurship in India

Monish Darda, Director of Product Development at BMC BladeLogic and co-founder of WebSym, wrote an article on the next wave of entrepreneurship in India for CSI Pune’s quarterly newsletter Desktalk. Parts of that article have been reproduced here with permission. You should be able to download the the newsletter (contain the full article) from CSI Pune website’s download section. (It’s the July-Aug-Sept 2008 newsletter.)

So let us take a look at tomorrow’s entrepreneur – I tend to see him (or her – the masculine is just convenience) in two colors – Mr E the risk taker, and Mr E, the man with the plan. Tomorrow’s risk taker is a person fresh out of college, with a few like-minded close friends and a couple of mentors, who want to do the next cool thing. The man with the plan is a youngish guy, probably back from the USofA, his future secured, with a plan that will leverage India for his next successful startup. Is anyone building up a services company? Well, yes and no. What I see in the future is services sold as a product. One in three entrepreneurs are going to be thinking about leveraging the labor cost differential at the low end of the value chain along with innovation that takes the returns to the high end of the value chain.

I see social networking sites that will spawn with better ideas in India, quickly gaining eyeballs, cheaper and faster than anywhere else except China perhaps. I see quicker and richer integration of media, with infotainment at the core. Indian entrepreneurs will be driving mid range technology applications with a larger audience and higher success rates. You saw youtube and facebook become the rage and build value worth billions in a short span of time – hold your breath for the Indian versions; they are not too far away in the future.

I see mobile middle-ware and products – if every other Indian is going to have a mobile phone soon, the apps are not far away. Indian apps, in Indian languages, closer to the Indian psyche, driven by Indian technology entrepreneurs. And it is not far in the future that we will have our own Nokias and Sonys and Ericssons – hardware is sure to follow.

I am not a betting person, but if I were, I would be betting on small, consumer shareware coming out of India in the near future – apps for the phone, the iPhone and the PC, that makes practical use of the now ubiquitous personal computer. I see enterprise software being developed in India, owned in India, but still managed and sold principally outside India. The entrepreneurs are going to be eyeing the small, high volume software for cash market, where services coupled with technology vying to increase the quality of life.

How will Technology Entrepreneurship benefit India?

My bet on the man with the plan is that he will drive the “real” technology – high tech technology creation and adaptation for grand socio-economic experiments, for logistics and the growing manufacturing industry; selling to corporates, multi-nationals and governments. He will be the guy attracting large investments and innovation dependent on infrastructure.

We are culturally a very adaptable, and very tolerant, people – the technology infusion of the future is going to bring about sweeping social change; most of which has already started. Look at what we did with the mobile phone – with SMS and the “missed calls” syndrome. We adapted the technology to suit our way of working, and kept driving costs to the ground. We will keep doing that with automobiles, phones, software, nuclear power and any other technology that we adapt as our own. We are very good at converting luxuries to needs, and that to me is key – the future of the Indian entrepreneur is dependent on this one factor. And I think this mass market has the potential to make billionaires out of ordinary people, with the spark to adapt and profit. And I believe with all its perceived ineptness, corruption and mismanagement, the government is somehow going to be the catalyst to make this happen, believe it or not. Perhaps all the impossible traffic and the constant load-shedding is already starting an entrepreneur somewhere on the road to his empire …

About the Author – Monish Darda

Monish is Director, Product Development at BMC BladeLogic. He set up the India operations of Storability Software, an East coast storage startup and was heading the group at Sun Microsystems when Storability underwent two acquisitions.

Monish is also the cofounder and Director of Websym Technologies.

He did his Master’s at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL. He has architected large systems in the areas of customer acquisition, manufacturing and finance on J2EE and Microsoft platforms. He has also shared his experience in leading technologies in implementation and design through mentoring programs for senior developers and designers in top national and international software houses. He has implemented innovative processes and tools for distributed design and development across the US and Europe

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