However, Persistent Systems, and its CEO Anand Deshpande, mean much more to the tech community. In the last 10 years, they have been a major force in shaping and helping the community find its feet and grow. To get a feel for the various ways in which Anand and Persistent have helped the tech community in Pune, we asked this question on forpune.com, the new question/answer site for Pune, and got a lot of good responses. Here are some excerpts
Startups founded by Persistent alumni: A friend who wished to remain anonymous has this to say:
Being a very “tech” driven company, many techies join Persistent. There, they are exposed to cutting edge startups that outsource work to Persistent. They are exposed to the latest startup ideas, and they get a chance to interact with entrepreneurs, CEO’s, Business Managers and Engineers based in silicon valley. This helps build an entrepreneurial outlook.
In addition, Persistent has also encouraged marrying corporate entrepreneurship with hitech ideas. Employees are encouraged to take time out time to shape Product ideas that later revealed valuable IP for Persistent. This practice continues to be refined and shaped.
As a result of this, the Persistent alumni network regularly reveals several entrepreneurs chasing hitech dreams and this trend has only grown with the company. Through it’s alumni, Persistent has created a whole generation of entrepreneurs who might one day just enable Pune to figure prominently on the tech-innovation map alongside the valley.
- Supporting and mentoring Pune entrepreneurs: Successful Pune entrepreneur Gireendra Kasmalkar, who founded VeriSoft, which was acquired by SQS once said that he would meet Anand Deshpande once every year to get advice about his startup. There are many startup founders in Pune who fall into this category. Ravindra Jaju points out:
It’s amazing – Anand and Persistent have touched many lives. He finds time for all! He mentored and supported us in our start-up attempt, with advice that still lives in my mind. He’s a great role model.
The same is true for PuneTech. We regularly meet Anand and he has lots of suggestions, pointers for us and introduces us to people who could help us. In fact, part of the reason why PuneTech was founded can be traced back to Anand. A few years ago, when I used to simply working in a big company and did not take any interest in the tech community around me, Anand was responsible for pulling me into the CSI Pune managing committee. That got me thinking about what the tech community in Pune needs, and that finally culminated in the founding of PuneTech
- Supporting tech initiatives and organizations in Pune: Be it CSI Pune, or SEAP, or the office of CIO of Pune City, Persistent and Anand have had a hand in it, or at least played a major supporting role. Often, Persistent regularly provides ‘resources’ in the form of developers, or expert advice, to government institutions that are looking to modernize and go digital.Amit Kumar Singh points out that he was able to organize the first PHPCamp thanks to the support of Persistent. That attracted over a 1000 PHP developers to Pune, and was arguably one of the biggest unconferences in India. PHPCamp has now become an yearly activity, and has also spawned the very popular phpcamp.net website.
- The Dewang Mehta auditorium: This auditorium is easily one of the most sought after places for tech events in the city. it has world class facilities, a perfect center-of-the-city location, and in addition, Persistent is always willing to give the auditorium, for free, to anybody willing to hold a tech event in the city.The number of great events that have happened there (including proto.in, Innovations etc.) is just too long to list out.
- Support for various initiatives to help colleges and fresh grads: Amit Paranjape points to the TechStart Internship Mela (attended by over 800 students), and the http://punetech.com/techstartin-microsoft-azure-training-program-for-2009-cs-graduates/ (completed by about 200 students) were initiated by Anand, and most of the activities conducted on Persistent premises.
- Encouragement for returning technologists: Almost any senior technology professional who has considered returning to Pune/India in the last 10 years (myself included) has probably ended up meeting Anand, and gotten the “Pune” pitch – as to why they should return. One of the primary fears, that they might not find anything interesting to work on after returning to India, is quickly allayed by Anand as he talks about all the interesting work that could be done while sitting in Persistent. Many of these people don’t necessarily join Persistent, but they do end up returning, because the picture Anand paints is better than what they had earlier imagined.
If you can think of any other ways in which Persistent of Anand have helped the tech community in Pune, please add to the answers on forpune.com.