Saturday, November 19, 2011

Release of India Venture Capital and Equity Report 2011

This edition of MBA Invitation Lecture Series(MILS) saw the release of “India Venture Capital and Equity Report 2011” authored by Assistant Professor Thillai Rajan A. and Maulik Doshi, co-authored by Josephine Gemson, on 15th November 2011. The release of 2011 India Venture Capital and Private Equity Report, follows the successful release in 2009 and 2010. This report concentrates on Private Equity (PE) in the Real Estate and Infrastructure Sectors and presents the most comprehensive analysis till date. Specifically, it addresses important questions like: What has been the impact of PE investments in these sectors? What types of projects are being funded? Has PE involvement in these sectors been beneficial? How?
The report was released by Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director IIT Madras in the presence of Chief  Guest Mr. J.P. Nayak(Chairman, SumInfra 2011, Advisor to Chairman, Larsen & Toubro, former President Larsen & Toubro), guest of honor Mr. A. Ramakrishna(Director International Infrastructure Consultants and former President and MD Larsen & Toubro), special guest Mr. S. Prakash(Chief Operating Officer, IL & FS Water Group) and Prof. G. Srinivasan, Head of the Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras.
The event was inaugurated with a speech by Prof. G. Srinivasan who highlighted the progress of Department of Management Studies since its inception. His enlightening speech was followed by a short talk by Mr. A. Ramakrishna. He emphasized on the success of Public Private Partnership(PPP) in the infrastructure sector. He also stressed on the importance of improvement in infrastructure for catching up with countries like China. After Mr. A. Ramakrishna’s informative dialogue, Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi took over and shared a few insights. He said that there is a lot to fix in spheres like land transactions, infrastructure, etc. and that it is important to develop advanced techniques to bring about a change.
Following the speech by Prof. Ramamurthi, Assistant Professor Thillai Rajan A. presented the significant findings of the report. During the period 2006-2010 (which happens to be the study period of the report), the investment has increased in galloping numbers both in real estate and infrastructure sectors. Also, two-thirds of overall private equity goes into these two sectors. The impact of these investments has been humungous. This was elucidated by quoting figures of land development, constructed space, roads built, etc. He summarized by saying that if capital goes far, private equity goes further.
Chief Guest Mr. J.P. Nayak also shared a few thoughts. He said that the government has to take initiatives for developing infrastructure, which can be done by implementing effective policies. There is a huge interest among investors to invest in this sector which has to be capitalized. Growth in infrastructure sector is important to sustain the large growth that India is experiencing now, he said. Following his address, was a speech by our special guest Mr. S. Prakash. He compared India with China in terms of Infrastructure and shed some light on the positives that India has over China. He said that the biggest edge that India has, is a robust contractual framework. On the flip side, when it comes to the cost factor, delivery cost of Infrastructure in China is lesser than India. While concluding, he highlighted certain key points that can help India develop in this sector in the future, most important ones being educating the masses about Infrastructure, and developing institutional capacity.
After the discussion, Prof L.S. Ganesh, Dean(Students), IIT Madras presented mementos to the guests and spoke a few words. He advised the young generation to be serious for their purpose, and to be disciplined, energetic and enthusiastic. The session was concluded by a vote of thanks by Mr. Maulik Doshi. The MILS team congratulates Asst. Prof. Thillai Rajan A., Maulik Doshi and Josephine Gemson for the successful release of the report.

Aditya Ghai
Batch of 2013

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rendezvous with an “Accidental” Entrepreneur

Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras was proud to host the senior VP of Walmart Global E-Commerce, Anand Rajaraman as a part of the MBA Invitation Lecture Series on 11th November 2011.  He is an alumnus of IIT Madras and co-founder of companies like Cambrian Ventures, Kosmix and Junglee.
The lecture was about his entrepreneurial journey, how he accidentally became an entrepreneur and then never looked back.  He started with a reference to the movie “The Social Network” and like the movie, his lecture was a series of anecdotes.
Anand captured the attention of the audience with the story of his two phased career. Phase I started with his pursuing B. Tech from IIT Madras, MS & PhD (from which he dropped out in 1996 and went on to complete it during the period 2000-2001) from Stanford in Computer Science. For his research project in Stanford, Anand had to create a virtual database by integrating data from multiple databases. He used corporate databases for this but was fascinated by the data available on the web and wanted to use it for his database. Internet inspired him to form a company with three co-founders and that’s how an academician became an entrepreneur. Anand decided to drop out of college to work on his inspiration and Junglee was born in 1996. The company had customers like Yahoo, The New York Times, The Washington Post, etc. It was acquired by Amazon in 1998 and he became the director of technology at Second phase saw him completing his thesis post which he became a faculty at Stanford in the computer science department.
His advice to the budding entrepreneurs was to be persistent, mantra being “If at first it doesn’t work…. pivot”. If the initial idea doesn’t reap too many benefits, twist the same idea around to capture a different market. For a start-up the first step is to get funds. Anand elucidated through an anecdote that how the chemistry between the co-founders worked for them for getting the funds in the initial phases of Junglee. Later, he along with one of his business partners started Cambrian Ventures, which identified companies for seed funding. Cambrian funded companies like Aster Data, which was started by his teaching assistant at Stanford and later acquired by Teradata.
During his speech, he also emphasized on the fact that how being an academician, entrepreneur and an investmentor helps him in creating ideas, networking with people and identifying trends. He said that being associated with academicians and regular interaction with them is very useful and advised us to be connected with IIT Madras after completing the degree.
After sharing his experiences from the past, he talked about his current work at @Walmartlabs in Bangalore. Anand quoted that there are two major technology shifts happening in shopping – Social Networking and Smart phones. The facility at Bangalore would create technologies and businesses in social and mobile commerce for shoppers around the world.
Anand concluded the lecture by saying that we are living in a data decade and almost all the data is in social media. He also answered a variety of questions from the audience. The lecture was full of interesting insights and shed light on how to be an entrepreneur.

Aditya Ghai,
Class of 2013

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