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India aims for at least 1,500 biotech start-ups in the coming years

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Kolkata, “We presently have around 500 start-ups in the biotech sector. It is less in comparison with other sectors. We plan to scale it up to 1,500 to 2,000 in the next two to three years,” said Renu Swarup, department of biotechnology’s senior adviser and managing director of the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).

She pointed out that there was a growing market for biotech products and services given India’s population and its needs.

Biotech start-ups are into bio-pharma (diagnostics and therapeutics), agricultural (biofertilisers, hybrid seeds etc.), bioinformatics and drug development, etc.

They are directly or indirectly linked to the health and agricultural sectors,” Swarup told .

India aims to scale up start-ups in the biotechnology sector to at least 1,500 in the next two to three years to boost technological interventions in the health and agriculture sectors, a senior biotechnology department official said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this year announced a ‘Start-up India, Stand up India’ campaign to promote bank financing for start-ups and offer incentives to boost entrepreneurship and job creation.

“Under the new initiative, if we can create a favourable business environment, we can tap into our own products and know-how for solutions in health and agriculture,” she said.

It would also help researchers to become ‘tech-preneurs’.

“We have seen good interventions happening in Odisha and Tamil Nadu,” said Swarup.

The Indian biotech industry holds about two percent share of the global biotech sector. At present India is ranked 12th in the world in the biotech sector and third in the Asia-Pacific region.

By 2017, the size of India’s biotech industry is estimated to increase to $11.6 billion from $4.3 billion in 2012.

Indian biotech entrepreneur Kiran Majumdar Shaw has said that the emergence of biotech start-ups is resulting in a reverse brain drain.

Currently, Swarup said, new products have emerged from the Grand Challenges India (GCI) Interventions. The GCI was jointly launched by BIRAC under the department of biotechnology and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2013.

“These include improved sanitation technologies and bio-digester designs. Initially, they will be showcased as demonstrations on a large scale and subsequently introduced in the market,” she said.

( IANS)
(Photo Credit : bagbiotechnika.com)

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Indians have Contributed in Creating Several Jobs in US through Startups, Still Face Accusations in the Country: Study

India faces accusations of taking away jobs from American people but have they only snatched and not given them opportunities through startups

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Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google Inc.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google Inc. Wikimedia
  • Indians have contributed to growth of iconic business firms like Sun Microsystems, Hotmail and some of them have turned into biggest entrepreneurs and job creators
  • There are many Indian-origin leaders who have become household names today like Indra Nooyi (Pepsi), Shantanu Narayen (Adobe), Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Sundar Pichai (Google)
  • Hotmail.com founder Sabeer Bhatia, the company was founded in the year 1996

New Delhi, August 21, 2017: Indians are facing accusations from Americans that they are snatching away American jobs, but it’s not the case.  There is an Indian- American venture capital firm called Inventus Capital Partners which is trying to throw some light on the contributions Indians have made in the growth of Silicon Valley.

Indians are stereotypically viewed as a source of cheap labor in US Technology Industry but they are much more than that. Case in point is over the last 10-20 years, Indians have contributed to the growth of iconic business firms like Sun Microsystems, Hotmail and some of them have turned into biggest entrepreneurs and job creators instead of being just job seekers.

As per a report from July, Director of Inventus Capital Partners- Manu Rekhi, the company operates from Bengaluru and San Mateo, California, he observed how Indians have left a mark in the American entrepreneurial space.

There are many Indian-origin leaders who have become household names today like Indra Nooyi (Pepsi), Shantanu Narayen (Adobe), Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Sundar Pichai (Google). But these success stories were due to decades of hard work.

Also Read: Facebook backs Delhi-based tutor enablement platform ‘XPrep’ as part of its global programme FBStart, designed to help early-stage Mobile Startups

In the early 1980’s, arrived in the US the first generation of Indian entrepreneurs. According to Quartz report, Manu Rekhi said,  “Among these legends  was Kanwal Rekhi (my partner) along with Vinod Khosla, Naren Gupta, Prabhu Goel, Suhas Patil, and many others, who went on to finding notable companies like Sun Microsystems (acquired  by Oracle), Excelan, and Cirrus Logic.”

When the early entrepreneurs moved to America global exposure was very limited and also their understanding of consumer behavior of the people in the US was also limited. That is the reason they founded engineering- heavy systems and networking companies instead of going for consumer facing ones.

Slowly, with time more Indian tried their hands at launching new ventures and also US doors opened for foreign students, thus Indian entrepreneurs turned their focus from enterprise to consumer- oriented companies. One prime example of this is Hotmail.com founder Sabeer Bhatia, the company was founded in the year 1996. Sabeer Bhatia is a BITS Pilani graduate, did masters from Stanford University and has worked for Apple before launching his maiden email service.

The 1990s was also the year in which the Indian-origin leaders were also mentors in the Silicon Valley.  Case in point is BV Jagadeesh who is a Serial Entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist. Jagdeesh helped to raise the seed money for Netscaler, a San Jose based company. He later went on to become its President and also CEO by the year 2000. Currently, Jagadeesh is a managing partner at KAAJ Ventures, it makes early stage investments in startups, and he is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University, takes classes on early-stage startups and valuation. Ram Shriram is a Venture Capitalist, a founding board member and is one of the first investors in Google. His stake in the company was $ 1.3 billion in the mid-2000, he also mentors budding startups.

Also Read: 4 Startups which changed the face of Food and Beverage Industry in India

Rekhi said that later companies of Indian entrepreneurs shifted towards technologies which were more advanced.For example, Jyoti Bansal started App Dynamics, a management and operations analytics firm, which was later acquired by Cisco for $3.7 billion on 22 March 2017. Dheeraj Pandey, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur alumni owns Nutanix, a cloud-computing software company. In 2016, it had a multi- billion dollar initial public offering. Manish Chandra who is the CEO, Poshmark, which is the social fashion marketplace. Chandra created a product which would be “unheard of 20 years ago,” Rekhi said.

For example, Jyoti Bansal started App Dynamics, a management and operations analytics firm, which was later acquired by Cisco for $3.7 billion on 22 March 2017. Dheeraj Pandey, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur alumni owns Nutanix, a cloud-computing software company. In 2016, it had a multi- billion-dollar initial public offering. Manish Chandra who is the CEO, Poshmark, which is the social fashion marketplace. Chandra created a product which would be “unheard of 20 years ago,” Rekhi said.

Indians are less than 1% in the total US population, but still by 2012 they founded 8% of all the American tech & engineering startups. The group has started one-third of the immigrant-founded startups in the US. The firms which they have founded also provide great acquisition opportunities and also made high-value public debuts, Rekhi said, mentions Quartz report.

The first Indian-American founder led company- Nasdaq IPO (Initial Public Offering) opened its doors in 1987 with Excelan going public, but the pickup in big-value exists came only in recent times.

In the last 5 years, the software and services sector, which has 17 companies, tops the list of IPOs owned by Indian founders and co-founders and has a combined market Capital of amount $26.2 billion. The second in the list were Pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and life sciences in terms of the number of IPOs (six). But, the retail industry saw a much larger market Capital of as much as $6.67 billion, in comparison to Pharmaceuticals, it was $397 million. 10 of these 34 companies that make approximately 29% were acquired following their stock-market debut.

Also Read: Amazon Launchpad’ comes to India; will support Indian Startups

According to Quartz report, Rekhi said: “Even before the turn of the millennium, companies like IBM and Intel had been making acquisitions, but mostly of outsourcing services companies where you’re basically buying manpower.”

But between 2012 and 2017, more than 25 companies by Indian-origin entrepreneurs saw mergers and acquisitions worth- $500 million and more, Rekhi found.

Rekhi noted, “Topping that list is Western Digital’s acquisition of SanDisk, worth a whopping $19 billion, followed by several acquisitions from Cisco, HPE, and SAP.”

Today, 14 of the 261 unicorns are headed by Indian-origin founders (private companies valued at over $1 billion) in the US. These 14 startups, when taken together have a combined value of $35.17 billion and funding of $81.8 billion, with the IT industry taking the lead, according to Rekhi.


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Wedding Business: Extravagant Indian Weddings lead to expansion of the Sector in Canada

Indian weddings remain the extravagant affair they are even in Canada and cost an average of $100,000

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Traditional Indian Wedding. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
  • The business of weddings has not even been affected by recession and the average cost remains a whopping $100,000
  • Everyone wants a piece of the industry and there have been many budding startups and one such notable venture, by Dave Singh, taps into by providing wedding attire
  • There are also hotels who have tapped into the business by holding crash courses for staff on South Asian wedding traditions

Indian weddings are a huge industry in Canada. A documentary “Little India Big Business” was aired on July 23, exploring the booming business sector in Vancouver. The documentary, by CBC journalist Bal Brach, takes into account how extravagant the affair has become.

“I was stunned to hear the average cost of an Indian wedding is $100,000 and most of the time, its hard working immigrant parents footing the bill for week-long celebrations,” Brach was quoted as saying before the documentary aired.

Shot from Little India Big Business. Image Source: CanIndia
Shot from Little India Big Business. Image Source: CanIndia

The business of weddings have not even been affected by the recession and the average cost remains a whopping $100,000. “Most of the time, it’s hard-working immigrant parents footing the bill for week-long celebrations,” Brach added.

Everyone wants a piece of the industry and there have been many budding startups. One such notable venture, by Dave Singh, taps into by providing wedding attire. Dave, who immigrated to Canada sometime in 2008, started with 12 clients in a business run in his basement, mentioned indiandiaspora.com.

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Now, 8 years later, he has 400 brides from all over the world who are set to buy his clothes. He has even opened stores in California and Toronto to keep up with his global clientele. His success has earned him the title of ‘Sabyasachi of Surrey’, Brach says, in reference to the renowned Indian designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee.

According to by indiandiaspora.com, even hotels have tapped into the business by holding crash courses for staff on South Asian wedding traditions. Kevin Siegrest, director of catering at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver, told media sources, “We’re working hand in hand with these event planners to really understand the traditions and intricacies.”

The Vice President for Multi-Cultural Markets and Alliances for Marriott International, Apoorva Gandhi too said, “As we see the rise in that population and the spending power, it’s something you can’t ignore.”

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Social media has also added to the buzz and has allowed the wedding vendors to make a global impact. Most hair and make-up studios are booked up to 3 years in advance and the artists travel around the globe to provide their services to brides. Brach was quoted as saying, “It’s an incredibly lucrative business if you have the energy to compete.”

– prepared by Varsha Gupta of NewsGram. Twitter: @VarshaGupta94

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Celebrating India globally: MIT India Conference to build on ‘Startup India’ initiative

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Startup India
Image source: huffingtonpost.in

Washington: Celebrating India’s achievements, the MIT India Conference will focus on how to create a thriving startup ecosystem in India to put Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Startup India” initiative into action.

Organized by the MIT Sloan School of Management in collaboration with the greater MIT community in Cambridge, Massachusetts on April 3, the conference plans to address all levels of entrepreneurship, according to a media release.

These include from scaling startups and addressing the challenges early startups face to social endeavours and sustainability.

With the “Startup India” initiative receiving a five-fold increase in its funding along with government plans to open new startup incubators, the objective becomes how best to sustain and build off of this momentum, it said.

This year’s conference will also feature a showcase of innovative projects being developed by MIT students and researchers with potential application for India.

The MIT India Conference aims to celebrate the achievements of India globally, as well as discuss future collaborations between India and the world that could help accelerate innovation into the future. The MIT-India conference has established itself as an important forum for leaders in industry, academia, and policy to discuss current issues and future innovations in the context of India, in the region and abroad, the release said.

Slated speakers and panellists include Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser, Government of India; Mukesh Aghi, President, US-India Business Council; Gururaj Deshpande, Founder-Chairman, Sycamore Networks and Ashish Hemrajani, Founder-CEO, BookMyShow.com.

Others include Sorin Grama, Founder-CTO, Promethean Power Systems; Nishant Rao, COO, Freshdesk; Vivek Prabhakar, Founder-CEO, Chumbak; Anuradha Acharya, Founder-CEO, MapMyGenome India; Akash Bhatia: Founder-CEO, Infinite Analytics; Venkat Maroju, CEO, SourceTrace Systems; Anjana Reddy, MD, Universal Sportsbiz Pvt. Ltd and Zenobia Moochhala, Co-Founder, Care.com. (Arun Kumar, IANS)