Persistent Systems joins Qualcomm, Accel, One97 in QPrize 2014 – seed investment competition

For many years now, Qualcomm has an been running a startup seed investment competition called QPrize in many different countries, including India, and as part of this series, QPrize 2014 India in which Indian startups can win upto US$250k of funding, will happen over the next few months. This time they have a few interesting Indian partners as part of the sponsors including Pune’s Persistent Systems, Accel Partners, and One97

Here are some excerpts form the YourStory.com article on this subject:

And this time, the QPrize has gotten bigger and more exciting with Accel Partners, Persistent and One97 joining hands with Qualcomm to support promising ventures in their journey to achieve global success. The total prize money this time amounts to US$250K. This year – instead of one India winner there will be four winners: Overall India winner will bag a prize of US$125K, the second winner will get US$75K. Apart from them, two more startups will receive US$25K each from Persistent and One97.

How are the companies evaluated?

Applicants for the QPrize 2014 will be evaluated on following criteria:

  • Companies with less than $2M in funding with no institutional money
  • Company`s market potential
  • Team’s management capabilities
  • Innovative and cutting-edge technology products and services
  • Attainability of the proposal’s financial projections

So, if you are an early stage company and believe you have what it takes to take your venture to the next level, here is your opportunity.

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Moneylife interviews Sharmila Bhide, co-founder of Pune-based Calsoft

Moneylife has an interview with Sharmila Bhide, co-founder of Pune-based outsourced software services company, Calsoft.

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

[…] Sharmila Bhide founded Calsoft about 16 years ago. The company specialises in software product engineering services with niche expertise in storage, virtualization, cloud computing and networking. With highly skilled resources, innovative business models, and reusable accelerators IP (Internet Protocol), Calsoft helps its customers to minimise ‘time-to-market’, improve quality and reduce risk of failure of their software products. Calsoft Pvt Ltd has a turnover of Rs60 crore and aims to go up to Rs80-90 crore by the end of this year. The company has a team of 410 professionals and has successfully completed more than 200 projects. Ms Bhide is an MBA from Yale University, a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), and has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. After gaining experience from companies like Hedgeware and Oracle in the US, she shifted to Pune in 1997 and started the company a year after.

and:

ML: What are the best ways to connect in your industry – which national and local networking organisations, conferences have you found most valuable?
SB: Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), Software Exporters’ Association of Pune (SNEAP) and National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASCOM), are where you meet people who are on the same platform and speak same language. This really helps.

(Actually, it is SEAP and NASSCOM, not SNEAP AND NASCOM.)

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Infosys plans is Pune’s largest software exporter with 11% of the total, and 37000 employees

Speaking on the occasion of the opening of Infosys’ Nagpur campus, chairman Narayan Murthy made some interesting comments about its strength in Pune:

Excerpt:

Infosys Executive Chairman Narayan Murthy said in his speech that the company has emerged as the largest software exporter from Pune and accounts for 11 percent of the total exports.

He said during the fiscal 2012-13, Infosys exported software worth Rs. 8,800 crore and in last nine months it has touched Rs 7,400 crore.

Infosys which started its first operation in Pune, Murthy said, now employs 37,000 IT professionals.

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Pune named as one of the 8 emerging tech startup hubs in the world by @TheNextWeb

TheNextWeb has an interesting article on 8 emerging tech startup hubs in the world, and Pune is one of them (along with Eindhoven, Netherlands; Nicosia, Cyprus; Dublin, Ireland; Raleigh, North Carolina; Hong Kong; Malmö, Sweden; and el Aviv, Israel.)

Here is what the article has to say about Pune:

Excerpt:

Move over Bangalore, there’s a new Indian metropolis evolving with its finger on the pulse of cloud, mobile and digital technologies. With its young demographic, acclaimed university, flourishing nightlife and convenient connection to the financial centre of Mumbai, Pune is attracting a pool of startups and fresh IT talent.

Startups range from award-winning data software Druva to telecommunication hardware Swipe. Known as India’s first ‘Wi-Fi City’ after the Unwiring Pune project was instigated in 2006, the city’s Wi-Fi coffee shop culture and affordable standard of living add to its entrepreneurial appeal.

You can read the full article. Some of the article is clearly misguided: The “Unwiring Pune” project died an ignominious death before it even really took off, and I’ve been in many coffee shops in Pune and I have yet to see much evidence of its “Wi-Fi coffee shop culture”.

But the fact remains that Pune is one of the more exciting cities in the world for those interested in tech and startups. To get a better idea of why we think Pune has a lot of potential, you should read Amit Paranjape’s article (from 5 years ago) on the similarities (and differences) between Pune and the Silicon Valley’s ecosystems

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Capgemini opens centre in Pune | Business Standard

Business Standard has an article pointing out that Capgemini has just inaugurated a new 2800-seater development facility at Talawade in Pune. This is in addition to the 4000 people that they already have in Pune.

Excerpt:

Aruna Jayanthi, CEO – Capgemini India and member of Group Executive Council – Capgemini added, “The Pune facility is part of Capgemini India’s ongoing expansion strategy. Having strengthened our presence in the key cities of the country, we are keen to leverage the talent pool from the city of Pune for servicing our global clients.” The centre was inaugurated in the presence of Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prthviraj Chavan.

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Pune Technology entrepreneurs go from services to product development – The Economic Times

The Economic Times has an interesting article on how Pune based technology entrepreneurs make giant leap from services to product development, in which they’ve covered Pune based software product companies Uniken and Sapience.

Excerpts:

“Services helped us remain profitable while gaining experience. It allowed us to ease into products without worrying about whether customers would buy what we have innovated and launched,” said Sanjay Deshpande, CEO and chief innovation officer of Uniken, which builds security software.

Set up with Rs 15 lakh, Uniken has built a user base of 10 lakh in the past five years. Deshpande estimates the company that has received initial funding of Rs 30 crore from Nexus Venture Partners will earn revenue of about Rs 620 crore in the next four years. For Deshpande, the transition from services to products was a mental adjustment as he had built up a base to ease into a product venture without financial insecurity.

And here is what Shirish Deodhar, the founder of Sapience had to say:

However, the transition is not always so smooth for many others. Shirish Deodhar, cofounder of Sapience Analytics, a company offering productivity solutions to companies, said starting a services venture first can backfire.

He first set up a services company, In-reality Software, that offered outsourced product development for US clients. “But we were totally absorbed by the services venture and couldn’t focus on our product dream,” said the entrepreneur who went onto sell his first startup to SymphonyBSE 0.99 % Services.

The second time around, he decided to focus completely on products mindful of the earlier experience. “We had to invest heavily, work on the product continually improvising it, and eventually hope that customers will want to buy it,” he said.

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Economic Times covers story of how Pune’s Narendra Barhate built SEED InfoTech

Economic Times, has the story of how Narendra Barhate’s SEED Infotech leveraged learning solutions to be a Rs 58 cr venture

Excerpts:

We started with two types of courses. The short course, lasting 45 days, focused on soft skills, while the long-term course, ranging from six to eight months, covered the training and knowledge required to work in the IT sector. However, by August, we had run out of money and had to take a bank loan of nearly Rs 5 lakh to redo the place and buy eight computers. Unfortunately, the business showed no signs of growing, and four-five months later, two of my partners decided to part ways.

and:

My perseverance paid off, and by the end of the first year of operations, we managed to train around 100 students and clock a turnover of Rs 4 lakh. We launched a corporate training division in the second year. We started meeting companies aggressively to outline our training modules and explain the benefits that their employees would enjoy. Soon, companies began signing us up for training their staff.

and:

As of now, our 550-employee company is eyeing a turnover of nearly Rs 65 crore. We recently signed training agreements with companies in the healthcare and banking sectors, and are in talks with a Japanese institute to revive the language training programme. We also plan to set up branches in Dubai and Malaysia in the near future. With the help of all these initiatives, we hope to grow into a Rs 100 crore company in the next three years.

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Pune’s e-Zest Solutions invests in Bangalore-based healthcare tech firm Neurosynaptic Communications

According to Reuters, e-Zest Solutions has invested an undisclosed amount of money in Neurosynaptic Communications, a Bangalore based healthcare technology firm

Excerpt:

Neurosynaptic was founded in 2002. Its product portfolio includes devices for telemedicine, standalone medical devices and remote weather monitoring stations. At present, it is focused on its ReMeDi and Indradhanu AWS product lines for remote healthcare and weather monitoring respectively. The firm claims that ReMeDi has been deployed at 1,600 centres at several locations across the globe, impacting healthcare in several developing countries.

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IT company Atos Origin to hire 10,000 in India

According to Times of India, IT company Atos Origin to hire 10,000 in India.

Excerpt:

The Indian arm of the 8.5 billion euro IT services provider is the new competition for Indian IT companies, as it plans to add about 10,000 staff to more than double its workforce in India by 2016.

The company started its Indian operations in 2010-11 in Pune, with roughly 1,000 employees primarily servicing the parent company as a delivery centre, but today, it is building its own army of sales and marketing and while bringing down the off-shore delivery work.

and also:

“Datacentre and Infrastructure required clients proximity, however we also assist them in remote infrastructure management, but our strength is in ADM, which can be delivered from the India centre at better cost,” Kamat said.

and finally:

In India, Atos has been working on a Cloud Orchestration Platform that won the 2013 NASSCOM Process Innovation Award. Cloud Orchestration platform is designed to help organisations manage their cloud environment and according to the company they have got over 35 clients for the platform.

Read the full article.

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University of Pune to hold entrance exam for M.Tech. in Aviation on 15 Sept

The University of Pune will hold the first exam on for entrance to the newly created M.Tech. course in Aviation reports the times of india. The exam will be held on 15 September in various centers across the country.

The course is conducted with the help of Fachshule Fur Luftfahrzeugfuhrer (FFL), a top pilot training and flight school, in Frankfurt Germany. The course consists of 1 semester in University of Pune, and 3 semesters in FFL. The course fees are 70000 Euros for FFL, and Rs. 4 lakhs for UoP.

A detailed brochure of the course can be downloaded from the [UoP website][http://unipune.ac.in]

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