How did you get into the business that you’re in? First explain what your business is.
I will answer this in two parts. The first part will deal with IndiaWorld, and the second with Netcore.
IndiaWorld emerged out of my earlier failures. Because none of my previous business ideas worked, I had to look for something else. From my readings in 1994 , I realized that the Internet was something fascinating and the potential to bridge distances and make geographical barriers. I combined this with the difficulty I had in getting access to India-related information when I was in the US. So, I thought that the Internet would be a great way to bridge this gap. [I wrote about the early days of IndiaWorld in a series of articles in 1997: 1 2 3 4]
Netcores Emergic vision came about from my determination to take the Internet to 100 million Indians. I wrote about this vision first in late 2000. Since then, the ideas have evolved substantially to where they are now combining thin clients (network computers), a centralised computing platform (grid), leveraging open-source software and aggregating available content, and making it all available to users for an affordable monthly fee. I firmly believe that building out a digital infrastructure is the only way countries like India can address the challenges that they face in educating their youth, removing pain points in government-to-citizen interactions, building real-time enterprises and thus removing inefficiencies in supply chains, and creating an entertainment platform for the growing middle-class. The solutions for this will not come from the existing IT companies who have a legacy infrastructure to protect, but have to be created bottom-up by entrepreneurs with a good understanding both of technology and the realities of the local market.
So, IndiaWorld was built on the early failures and setbacks that I encountered, while Netcore is being built based on a long-term vision about ensuring the availability of a connected computer to every family, employee and student in emerging markets like India.
How did you set your business up? What type of business is it? From your website it seems as if you are located out of India. How does one go about setting up a business in India?
I set up IndiaWorld with funds saved during my employment in the US some part of it was lost because the first 2.5 years I couldnt do much right! My family also helped in bootstrapping the venture with some additional funds. My father had an office, so I started working from a room there. Netcore was much easier I am currently investing in the business from the money that I got from the sale of IndiaWorld. Interestingly, in IndiaWorld, I did talk to VCs through the five years that I ran the business, but for various reasons, I could not get an investment from any of them.
Setting up a business in India is much easier than it was a decade earlier. It helped that my father was an entrepreneur. He took care of a lot of the administrative procedures (of which there are many), and so I was left free to focus on the business. There are various approvals needed for setting up a business, but these can now be easily outsourced to professional agencies. So, I would say that setting up a business is not very difficult in India. What is harder is deciding what to do!
Tomorrow: Part 3
tech talk my life as an entrepreneur+T