Sramana Mitra: There’s been a bit of progress in the startup ecosystem in India. Its growth is slower than I thought. I started covering that ecosystem in an online blog back in 2005. I thought it would move a lot faster. It depends on if you look at the glass being half-full or half-empty. I tend to be an optimist. We are entrepreneurs. We can’t afford not to be optimist.
It is moving and I think in the next decade, it will make a lot more progress because we are starting to see really significant global companies starting to come out of India. There are three that I know reasonably well that are making a really decent pitch to be global technology companies. One you may have heard of is InMobi.
Ajit Gupta: They’re actually a customer.
Sramana Mitra: Then the second one is Druva. They’re an online back-up company that has a global customer base. A third one is one of our portfolio companies that yesterday announced a $31 million funding. The cloud market is quite hot. These guys do social CRM on the cloud and they compete with a company called Zendesk. Just recently, they went public. They have 23,000 customers. They cater to small businesses. This whole point of Indian technology companies becoming global players has started to gain some momentum.
Ajit Gupta: Absolutely. I would say that my glass half-full perspective is, it is increasing. My glass half-empty is that the pace is not as fast.
Sramana Mitra: In every single country, except for Israel, that is trying to build a thriving startup ecosystem, most of them do not have any seed capital infrastructure. That’s really difficult to navigate around.
Ajit Gupta: I do want to mention Nexus Ventures, Naren Gupta.
Sramana Mitra: I know Naren very well.
Ajit Gupta: He was the guy who wrote me the first million dollar check back in 1999. I didn’t even know him back then. I was looking for a conference room. He said, “I’ll give you a million dollars and a conference room.” He was a board member at Speedera and also a board member at Aryaka.
At Speedera, we had a second headquarters at Bangalore. We had a great outcome and Akamai, after the acquisition, has built on that facility which used to have 50 people. Now it’s the second largest Akamai office in the world. Perhaps even the largest. It’s about a thousand people, if I’m not mistaken. After seeing the success of Speedera and what we were able to do out of India, Naren went on and became a venture capitalist just focused on India.
Sramana Mitra: Naren is a very good guy. I really have a lot of respect for him. I think he’s a very serious player in this whole India startup game.
Ajit Gupta: All of us are doing a little part of it. It’s part of making this world one home and a nice place for future generations.
Sramana Mitra: Thank you Ajit.