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ETILC Technology Subcommittee Will Effectively Connect Startups To Large Buyers

By Nikita Rana

The ETILC Technology subcommittee met to decide on the next steps for facilitating a major change in the tech industry that benefits all stakeholders. The members decided to focus their attention on how start-ups who are creating cutting-edge products and services in areas such as IOT, Cloud, AI/ML can be helped in accessing relevant markets.

“While services form an integral part of our industry, there is more that needs to be done from a product-economy perspective. Our aim is to figure out how to best combine that with the startup ecosystem,” says Nitin Sahni, Founder & CEO, Kamadhenu Technologies who chairs the ETILC Technology Subcommittee.

“Start-ups will drive the next wave of growth for the tech sector.  We have seen that come to the public fore with the recent IPOs of new age tech companies and am confident that there will be many more unicorns and public listings of tech companies in the years to come,” he continues.

The group plans to bring out a dossier next that will include use cases that both large firms and start-ups can gain from. The dossier will decode requirements and buying behavior of large companies and also feature startups that are providing the relevant products or services. This way new connections will be established between tech buyers and startups. These tech buyers could be government departments, public institutions, large-caps, mid and small caps while the technology providers could be small firms working in the areas of cloud computing, IoT, Products – AI, ML, Analytics, SAAS, PAAS and Enterprise Software.

“A lot of innovation that is happening currently is taking place in startups. However, they are unable to get on the table for large deals. Fortune 500 companies have a tendency to want to work with other large companies. A major focus of this forum will be to find ways to connect startups to large companies so that it’s mutually beneficial to everyone”, says Dr. Harsh Vinayak, Sr. Vice President, Intelligent Automation & Data Solutions, NTT DATA Services. The group is clear that these connections will be drawn up to benefit all affected parties so that the engagement is sustainable. Many companies are already supporting incubators in various engineering colleges by sponsoring lab-equipment and even paying salaries to founders who have recently graduated so that they can continue working on their ideas. “This support network needs to be expanded, because many students are worried about earning an income post-graduation and find it difficult to continue working on their startup ideas. This is a major hurdle today,” says Dr. Vinayak.

“One step around supporting early stage startups and that ecosystem is facilitating access to a mentoring or advisory group which these startups can rely on. One of the key things built up in Silicon Valley are formal and informal advisory groups which allows these startups to not only tap capital markets but create the right kind of narrative,” says Damandeep Kochhar, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, HERE Technologies.

“We were an early adopter of blockchain technology. In 2015 we started a blockchain department in our company and by 2017 we had an MVP. While we were unable to make any sales to any Indian entities directly at that time, we were able to tie up with a German firm and rolled out our products in multiple countries through them. I think what would be most helpful is if startups connect with large firms and access relevant markets through them,” says Mayur Pabari, CEO, SmartSense Consulting.

SmartSense has won many accounts in  the European markets and has found it easier to navigate those than the Indian markets. Many startups have the same experience. Even when GrayMatter Software Services started out eight years ago, the company faced similar challenges. “It’s very difficult to convince executives of large companies about your solutions as a startup. And by the time you’ve made serious headway, it’s at least 6 months and sometimes the team changes. At some point we decided to change our strategy and not go after big businesses. At the same time we found tremendous success abroad,” says Vikas Gupta, CEO, GrayMatter Software Services.

India’s digital transformation has been rapid, especially due to the progress that startups are making.  This progress has been further expedited due to the pandemic especially in the areas of telemedicine and health informatics (conversion of iOT, smart hospitals, conversion of data). Members feel that some of the technology solutions that startups would like to bring into the market are not viable because regulations vary drastically across different countries. This slows down the pace of digital transformation. Thus, the committee is considering including its view on compliance so that startups could benefit from that.

Many European countries and the USA have made special efforts to ensure that startups survive by laying down rules through which government institutions make certain purchases from startups only. Some members of the committee are of the view that in  India too in addition to all the start-up funding and tax breaks that already exist, similar support should be provided.

Soon the sub-committee will be organizing larger forums, opening up to the larger ecosystem, encouraging more businesses to get involved with the initiative.

Members of The ETILC Technology Subcommittee

  • Himanshu Goel, MD & CEO, Azpiro
  • Dr. Jaya Vaidyanathan, BCT Digital, Bahwan Cybertek
  • TS Vijay, MD, Chegg India
  • Rajesh Janey, Sr. VP – Global Alliances, Dell Technologies
  • Vikas Gupta, CEO, GrayMatter Software Services
  • Damandeep Singh Kochhar, Sr. VP & MD, HERE Technologies
  • Sridhar Dharmarajan, Executive Vice President & MD, Hexagon | MSC Software
  • Hemant Tiwari, MD- India, Hitachi Vantara
  • Ravi S Prayaga, MD, JT-Technovations
  • Nitin Sahni, Director, Kamdhenu Technology
  • Suresh Sethi, MD & CEO, NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure
  • Harsh Vinayak, Senior Vice President, NTT  DATA Services
  • Kumar Pintu Saha, MD & CEO, Senrysa Technologies
  • Mayur Pabari, CEO, SmartSense Consulting
  • Vijayashree Natarajan, SVP, Head of Technology, Omega Healthcare
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