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  1. 1. Not for the aam company K. Ramesh R. Balasubramaniam Share · Comment · print · T+ No capital idea for small biz. India‘s small entrepreneur effectively does not enjoy the benefits of limited liability. The new Companies Bill treads over small companies with jackboots. According to the October 2011 statistics from the Department of Company Affairs, there are 11,63,136 companies registered in India. Of these, only 24,682 (or 2.12 per cent) have paid-up capital between Rs 2 crore and Rs 5 crore, and companies with paid-up capital over Rs 5 crore number 23,589 (2.02 per cent). In other words, a good majority, i.e. 98 per cent, have paid-up capital below Rs 5 crore (less than $1 million). A whopping 11,14,865 companies (95.84 per cent) have paid-up capital less than Rs 2 crore — compared with global standards, these companies are of no size at all. The owners of
  2. 2. these small companies carry on business with their own capital. In fact, listed companies comprise only 0.6 per cent; the remaining 99.4 per cent are unlisted public or private companies. Small companies have little credit support. Even when banks lend to them, they cover them with securities from all sides — the company, the pledge of shares owed by promoters, their personal guarantee and even properties before lending. This, in effect, means that lenders strip them of their corporate personality and treat these companies as partnership or proprietary entities for the purpose of loans. With private borrowings through deposits banned by law, these companies have no scope for such capital. Trade creditors are secured by winding up their rights under company law in addition to other rights under other laws for recovery. Thus, small companies carry on their business risking their own capital, and even where lenders contribute debt-capital, the lender‘s interest is more than covered, looking beyond the corporate mask for securities, both commercial and legal. Meaningless Controls In effect, the provisions of the new Companies Act not only maintain the controls of the 1956 Act, but has actually amplified them in depth and scale! In other parts of the world such as the UK, US, Australia and Singapore, small companies are left free to manage their own internal affairs and a registry is kept only for filing purposes. Audit is not a legal compulsion, it is left to market forces. However, under the provisions of the updated Bill, private companies are expected to audit their accounts and auditors are duty-bound to report to shareholders — who are none other than the owners of the small companies themselves! The owner of a small company cannot loan money from the business to himself/herself or relatives. Where a company is owned by family members, the owners cannot appoint relatives to office or enter into contracts without the consent of the shareholders. If a public company needs to convert itself into a private company, it requires moving the tribunal for clearance. Private companies, by definition, are closely held and can impose restrictions of sorts in their articles. But now they are mandated to share the reasons for refusal of transfer of shares. The postal ballot — which is intended for a large body of listed company shareholders — is made applicable to all companies. In the case of a one-man company, will the individual issue a postal ballot to himself/herself? Higher compliance cost Between 30 and 40 per cent of dormant small companies have abandoned filing with the registrar of companies. Such companies can be regulated as follows: Strike off dormant companies according to a clearly set-out timeline.
  3. 3. Free companies with under Rs 2 crore paid-up capital from having to fulfil unnecessary procedures under the Act. Allow market forces to self-govern small companies by using company secretaries and chartered accountants for for securing creditors‘ interests. (This article was published on September 20, 2013) Keywords: Companies Bill, small companies, jackboots ‘Vibrant start up eco-system needed to foster entrepreneurship’ T. E. Raja Simhan Share · Comment · print · T+ Chennai, Sept. 18: A vibrant information, communication and technology (ICT) ‗start-up‘ ecosystem is required in Tamil Nadu to foster entrepreneurship among the youth, according to R. Chandrasekaran, Group Chief Executive of Technology and Operations, Cognizant Technology Solutions. ―We can see the urge in the youth to become entrepreneurs. We should tap that urge and channel them in the right direction‖ with incubation centres supported by funding, he told Business Line. Chandrasekaran, who is also the Chairman for Connect 2013, an annual ICT event organised by CII to be held in the city next week, said ―we want to kindle the creation of the start-up ecosystem,‖ at the event, he said. Angel funds and venture funds have initiated the process in India. Bangalore took the lead followed by National Capital Region and will see things happening in Chennai too, he said. The State Government should set up more incubation centres similar to IIT Research Park in smaller cities. Innovative ideas need not always come from Chennai or Coimbatore, , he said. The potential for start-ups is huge. For instance, newer technologies like the social media, analytics and cloud (SMAC) stack throw up opportunities for budding entrepreneurs with an innovative mindset. A person with a bright idea can start a new company and be very successful because the demand for those services is there. These are new technologies and it is not that somebody has already taken a lead over others. The annual Connect events in the past 13 years have played a vital role in the development of ICT in the State. This includes the creation of the IT corridor and the Knowledge and Industry Township, he said.
  4. 4. The 12th edition of Connect will be held on September 24 and 25 at the Chennai Trade Centre. The theme of the two-day conference and exhibition is - ―Towards Scaling New Frontiers in ICT.‖ Session highlights include Emerging SMAC technologies; panel discussions on start-up ecosystem in Tamil Nadu and future of ICT; policies and frameworks. CII Connect 2013 Entrepreneurs Awards will be presented to industry leaders. (This article was published on September 18, 2013) Keywords: Cognizant Technology Solutions, Connect 2013, ICT event, social media, analytics and cloud, Emerging SMAC technologies needed-to-foster-entrepreneurship/article5142405.ece ‘Over 60% members in TiE are from non-IT sector’ Our Bureau Share · Comment · print · T+ Chennai, Sept. 11: There has been a groundswell of entrepreneurial interest in non-IT sectors over the last year, according to TiE, an association of top executives and entrepreneurs to guide start-ups. Lakshmi Narayanan, President, TiE Chennai, says over 60 per cent of the members in TiE are from the non-IT sector; a majority of the emerging crop of start-ups are in healthcare, retail, and manufacturing. In the IT sector, there has been resurgence in innovation in cloud computing and data analytics, with wide industrial applications in retailing and supply chain management. In retail, e- commerce is an area hotly pursued by entrepreneurs, says Narayanan. Among interesting business plans, according to Narayanan, is one in automotive engineering by a start-up to devise a shock-resilient piston for two-wheelers. Narayanan says the company is working on commercialising the product, and many more innovations are being seen in the sector. He was addressing a curtain raiser on TiE‘s two-day annual entrepreneur-investor summit to begin on November 11. Over 1,200 participants, mostly top corporate executives, venture capitalists, and angel investors will listen to emerging businesspersons pitch their plans. This
  5. 5. year‘s edition is the first time the event will be held at Madurai and Coimbatore, apart from Chennai. A jury comprised of leading businesspersons such as Gopal Srinivasan, Chairman and Managing Director, TVS Capital Funds Ltd will select successful business plans and give away the TiE Chennai Entrepreneur Awards. The TieCON 2013 is not about how many deals worth how much are sealed,‖ said Raju Venkatraman, Managing Director and CEO, Medall, and also the Chairman, TiECON 2013. He said the idea was to expose start-up heads to the methods of those who have broken the ceiling before them. He said some challenges facing start-ups are high infrastructure costs, difficulties in securing bank loans, and poor exposure to the kind of ideas venture capitalists park their money in. (This article was published on September 11, 2013) Keywords: entrepreneurship, TiE, sector/article5117253.ece Does an MBA matter for an entrepreneur? JESSU JOHN Share · Comment (1) · print · T+
  6. 6. Ashish Aggarwal of YourStory Ankur Saxena, analyst with Helion Advisors
  7. 7. Hrishikesh Kulkarni Or, are business school credentials nice-to-have rather than relevant? September 8, 2013: In nearly every sector, the start-ups that do well are fronted by those with some academic and significant practical exposure to specific industries and experience of handling customer demands. But, then, some of the world‘s greatest entrepreneurs do not possess business school credentials. In a generation that increasingly favours mobile- and Web-based businesses, what matters is quick decision-making processes that enable agility within structure, discerning where risks can be taken, excellent offline and online customer interfaces, besides that sometimes underestimated or often hyped up trait of ‗confidence‘. Many in the Indian start-up community believe a business school education matters for specific reasons. Equally, so many entrepreneurs I‘ve interacted with see value in the MBA, but cannot afford the time to pursue a full-fledged post-graduate programme in business administration. It helps, therefore, to see the MBA from as many angles as possible.
  8. 8. Ashish Aggarwal is responsible for business development in the US market for YourStory, a platform that has enjoyed a successful stint of over five years in India as a hub and connector for entrepreneurs. His exposure to diverse points of view and the knowledge of the variety of ways a start-up can operate come from the time he spent at Kellogg School of Management, US. ―One great advantage of business school is the time available to plan a business venture, carry out market research, be mentored, get the practical exposure and connect with others like you. Some graduates are nearly ready to launch their businesses by the time they leave management school,‖ says Ashish. IMPORTANT NETWORK Deepak Jeevan Kumar graduated from Yale School of Management and is now Principal at General Capital Partners in San Francisco. He believes a business school education teaches ‗multi-tasking‘, a key trait for an entrepreneur to be successful. He says that while a large percentage of entrepreneurs do not have business school credentials, ―the networks you create in management school are invaluable. ―You‘re actually already interacting with people who will be in various key roles in the start-up community tomorrow. You‘ve got the future VC, accelerators, and other potential partners right there‖. PERCEPTION MATTERS TOO Ankur Saxena, Analyst with Helion Advisors, will enrol himself for a two-year MBA programme in the US next fall. ―While VCs carry out fundamental checks on the entrepreneur‘s background, they are not always looking for the MBA qualification. But apart from diverse perspectives he may have gathered, an MBA graduate comes across as a ‗smarter‘ person simply because of his ability to visualise where he will take his business idea and present plans effectively to investors. ―A degree from a good school helps with how you‘re perceived as an entrepreneur and purely from a branding point of view,‖ he explains. Alternatives to the MBA A home-maker for 10 years followed by a stint in the US as a network engineer exposed her to alternative spaces like sustainable energy. While California has been long a hot-bed for renewable energy ventures, especially solar, the market in India has taken a while to take a shine to these areas.
  9. 9. Revanta Energy kicked off in Tamil Nadu in 2012 focusing on solar energy solutions; installations began in March 2013. Founder and CEO Nachammai Ramasamy is now pursuing a short management programme at IIM-B, spread over nine months. She says, ―Concepts like product positioning and pricing would not have occurred to a technologist like me. Exposure to accounting, while being trained to assess risks is an advantage. Professors and mentors interact with businesses from day-to-day and therefore bring in practical knowledge. It makes an immense difference to your confidence levels.‖ Incubation programmes His brief experience with large corporations and time spent in the US with various start-ups took Hrishikesh Kulkarni from building technology products to starting TurtleYogi. His start-up idea was picked by NSRCEL for incubation at IIM-B in September 2012. Just a year later, TurtleYogi‘s aggressive approach has won it four-five clients, a good number of customer trials besides investors from India and elsewhere. Now looking at hiring the right talent for the US market so that the product can make an entry there by the end of 2013, Hrishikesh Kulkarni, Founder and CEO, says, ―The curated set-up, the excellent physical infrastructure (no worrying about the internet being down or even about where to grab a cup of coffee) and the ecosystem that is part of the incubation programme mean I won‘t opt for an MBA just for the sake of a qualification‖. Bottom-line: If relevance matters more than a qualification, entrepreneurs would do well to choose the former. This is where certifications or short courses as well as incubation programmes help. (The author is an independent journalist.) (This article was published on September 8, 2013) Keywords: MBA, entrepreneur, business school credentials, management school, qualification, Start-Up Island column entrepreneur/article5104527.ece It’s time for disruptive change R. SRINIVASAN Share · Comment (1) · print · T+
  10. 10. Should Apple go for a big bite or a nibble? As with companies, so with countries — radical management methods are called for. Traditional organisational forms are on their way out. September 11, 2013: Apple has just released the iPhone 5S and the iPhone5C to underwhelming response from the stock markets, which have already hammered the company‘s stock. So is it time to write off Apple? No. Apple has managed more times than any other company in the history of modern business to rewrite the rules of the game. It changed personal computing not once or twice but thrice over, with the Macintosh, the iMac and the iPad. It rewrote the mobile phone business‘s direction with the iPhone and practically re-engineered the music business with the iPod and iTunes. A company which has managed to pull so many rabbits out of the hat so many times cannot be written off just because it managed only evolutionary and, not disruptive, innovation this time around. But the importance of disruptive innovation and discontinuous change cannot be under- estimated. Less than 300 years ago — a mere blink in human history — the idea that kings and emperors did not have a divine right to rule would have been unthinkable. Today, the opposite is true.
  11. 11. Time has a way of changing things, making possible the once unthinkable. Rapidly changing economic landscapes have the same impact on businesses, only in a more cruelly compressed timeframe. Less than a decade ago, it would have been unthinkable that Motorola — the company which invented mobile telephony — or Nokia — which took mobile telephony to the masses — would no longer be making mobile phones on their own. Missed the bus Yet, the unthinkable has happened. Both Motorola and Nokia no longer exist in the form they did at their height, having been bought out by Google and Microsoft --- as the erstwhile emperor of the digital world, Microsoft, and the new pretender to the throne, Google, engage in their own grim battle for survival and dominance. Around the time of the Y2K crisis — short enough a while ago for even millennials to remember — the companies that dominated the digital world were Microsoft, HP, Dell and IBM. Today, with possibly the rapidly declining exception of Microsoft, these erstwhile giants are irrelevant in today‘s digitally interconnected world. Why? Because they simply missed the mobile revolution. In retrospect, it is astonishing that these companies did what they did. After all, they were all giant corporations, with billions of dollars of revenues, led by some of the smartest people in the world, and endowed with the ability to attract the world‘s best talent and the economic elbow room to invest in research. Advantages, one may add, which they did use to the full. They hired some of the best people in the world, spent millions of research — and yet managed to miss the bus. Bitter pill As with companies, so with countries. Just a few years ago, India was the toast of the emerging markets. A few years of high growth had showcased to the world the enormous potential of the country and its people. Investors were beating a path to our door, and the Prime Minister spoke confidently about making Mumbai into Shanghai. For the captains of Indian industry who were once the stars of Davos, for those who had nursed global ambitions powered by the apparently limitless availability of cheap funds and the confidence to actually take their own decisions and implement them without being ensnared by bureaucracy — a confidence engendered by the first few golden years of reform — the change must be a bitter pill to swallow. Today, India stands at the brink of becoming the first BRICS nation to be relegated to junk investment grade. Investors have not only stopped coming, but even the ones already here are upping sticks and deserting India in droves. As a nation, India, despite being a country with huge potential, enormous resources and led by what appeared to be very smart people, has, just like all those once-great companies, managed to miss the bus.
  12. 12. Is there a solution to this? Is there a way that those who have managed to miss the bus can board it again? There is, says Professor Gary Hamel of the London Business School, a man whom the Wall Street Journal calls the ―world‘s most influential management thinker‖. The answer lies in reinventing the way we manage things. Hamel has argued that the bureaucratic approach to managing things, which created the foundation of modern governance as well as modern business, and led to the greatest increment in productivity and efficiency, may have outlived its usefulness. It is time, he says reset our goals: From aiming for ever-increasing efficiency to gunning for increasing our adaptability to the inevitable change which will happen, from managing to change to actually building what he calls an ―evolutionary advantage‖ to survive change. It is not as if this is not already happening. The Internet revolution is essentially powered by principles that are antithetical to the traditional ‗command and control‘ structure — of societies as well as businesses. Social media is such a disruptive influence precisely because it is collaborative and crowd sourced. Even businesses are changing. A Californian billion dollar company, Morning Star, the largest player in the US tomato processing market, has undone one of the fundamental tenets of business management — it has no management. Responsibilities and tasks are assigned between employees by mutual negotiation. Individuals can make million-dollar purchase decisions, provided they are able to convince others. Compensation is decided by everybody ranking everybody else. Even hiring is a community decision. Against all odds, the company lasted more than 40 years and grown in size, revenues and profits. Getting it right In China, a company with more than 80,000 employees broke up its business into 2,000 business units of about 40 people each, which all run as profit centres. Leaders are chosen by group election. If a leader misses the target for three months in a row, a new one is elected. Such examples are, of course, few and far between. But the very fact that they exist is encouragement enough. Today, the world‘s biggest countries and corporations are struggling to cope with change and an uncertain future. Perhaps the time is ripe for radical and disruptive innovation in the way we manage ourselves. We may have missed the bus, it is never too late to recognise that you have missed it, and try and correct the situation. After all, Microsoft was late into the Internet, late into mobiles, late into touch — but it has got into all these things, and is still hanging on — even if one of the smartest men in the world is no longer actively running it. (This article was published on September 11, 2013)
  13. 13. Keywords: Random Access, radical management methods, organisational forms, disruptive innovation, bureaucratic approach, invest in research change/article5117188.ece Lok Capital turns to renewable energy, farm sector N. Ramakrishnan Share · Comment · print · T+ Venky Natarajan, Managing Partner, Lok Capital ‗In the long term, solar will become a sustainable play for all the players involved‘
  14. 14. Lok Capital, which makes equity investments in ventures that have a social impact, now plans to put in money in the renewable energy and agriculture sectors. Here again, the focus will be on businesses that have a bearing on the lives of the poor, both in rural and urban areas. ―Primarily our focus is in the solar space and more as a B2C (business-to-consumer) type of product or service rather than B2B (business-to-business) solutions,‖ says Venky Natarajan, Managing Partner, Lok Capital, explaining the strategy for the renewable energy sector. Challenging space Lok, according to him, will look at solar projects that expand the energy footprint in areas that do not have grid access. This could be either through micro-grids or charging stations or products such as rooftop solar panels or lanterns. Anybody who goes in for a micro grid or a charging station will be predominantly in the rural areas. Increasing access to electricity in these areas will not only help in education but also aid small businesses that require uninterrupted power. The fund has looked at a number of companies, but is yet to zero-in on where to invest. ―Solar is a challenging space because the gestation periods are much longer and the economics without subsidy do not add up. In the long term, solar will become a sustainable play for all the players involved,‖ says Natarajan. Where the agri sector is concerned, Natarajan says Lok has been looking at organic procurement and processing companies, and also ventures that are into warehousing and collateral management. These businesses aim to increase and stabilise income levels for farmers. ―We are working with a number of them. It is a learning process for us. Usually these new sectors take time for us to understand before we commit any money. We are working with a few companies in this space and some of them will culminate in an investment,‖ he says. Lok, which manages about $87 million through two venture capital funds, was among the earliest investors in the microfinance sector in the country and it seeded many of the ventures. The sector, which ran into problems two years back, has now reached a level of stability. ―Even though the returns do not look as attractive as before, the risk levels have reduced substantially,‖ says Natarajan. Financial inclusion, he says, continues to be Lok‘s core area of interest and it has been looking at microfinance as well as different channels through which people can sell more liability type of products. Lok Capital‘s investments in the past two years include IFMR Rural Channels and Services, a multi-product rural financial services company; Vistaar, an SME financing company; Drishti, which provides basic eye-care in rural Karnataka; and Bangalore-based Hippocampus, which is into rural education. ―We are looking to expand our footprint in these sectors,‖ says Natarajan. Exits with returns Lok Capital sold its stake in Satin Credit Care Network Ltd, a microfinance and MSME financing company, and Janalakshmi Financial Services, an urban microfinance company.
  15. 15. ―I think we made reasonable returns in both. We are happy because considering the objectives of the fund and the overall regulated market of microcredit, the returns were satisfactory,‖ says Natarajan. He further says Lok Capital does a thorough social impact assessment of its portfolio companies. It looks at parameters such as number of woman employees and the number of people belonging to the Scheduled Castes or Tribes in the customer base. Lok also looks at how well its portfolio companies treat their employees and what is the quality of customer care. On the impact investment sector as a whole, Venky says the growth rate has been much slower than what the players anticipated when they set up their impact investment funds. ―We are making a clear distinction between the microcredit type of growth models and the other models. The profitability and margins are going to be smaller. The returns an investor can expect, on a sustainable basis, may not be high,‖ he adds. He points out that the environment is challenging for investments because there are very few good companies and there is a lot of money chasing them. Consequently, the valuation, especially in sectors like healthcare, is high. ―We are taking a cautious approach.‖ (This article was published on September 8, 2013) Keywords: Lok Capital, equity investments, ventures, social impact, renewable energy, agriculture sectors, Venky Nataraja, Impact Investment column farm-sector/article5104524.ece New Companies Bill, a positive for start-ups Priyanka Pani Share · Comment (1) · print · T+
  16. 16. Sunil Goyal, founder of YourNest Angel Fund The ease in the rule for mergers, the concept of a small company and the concept of independent directors will provide better growth opportunity. - Sunil Goyal, founder of YourNest Angel Fund The new Companies Bill has brought a lot of cheer to start-ups as it has addressed some issues and challenges they face. Sunil Goyal, founder of YourNest Angel Fund, which invests in early-stage companies and mentors them, spoke to Business Line on the impact of the Bill on the start-up ecosystem. Excerpts from the interview: What impact will the new Companies Bill have on start-ups? The Companies Act, 2013 is to an extent positive for Indian start-ups. The start-ups will be able to easily commence a business as a ‗One Person Company‘ and can be known as a private limited company which is a great move as in India most small businesses are started by one person and run as sole proprietorship. That apart, start-ups can now reach out for crowd funding or angel funding with up to 200 members. The easier rules for mergers, the concept of a small company, and the concept of independent directors will provide better growth opportunity.
  17. 17. What clauses in the Bill are specific to the start-ups and entrepreneurs? A ―Small Company‖ having a paid-up capital of less than Rs 50 lakh or with a maximum turnover of Rs 2 crore has been given some relaxations… thier financial statements need not include cash flow; only two board meetings are mandatory, one each in half of a calendar year; the annual return to the Registrar of Companies (ROC) can be signed by the director of the company, thus a practising company secretary is not mandatory for the initial period; and allowing self-approved mergers between two small companies. What will be the impact of these on start-ups? These provisions, only to a minor extent, enable the start-ups to get going, operate and exit businesses with ease. We actually have a long way to go from here. What is the initial response to the Bill from entrepreneurs? There are several doubts that need to be clarified as in what are the requirements to become a private limited company or how the small and medium firms (up to Rs 50 crore in turnover) as per accounting standards apply to the start-ups. Also will the Bill ease the process of setting-up a company including consolidation of steps at ROC and the online integration for initial steps such as PAN, TAN, shop and establishment Act among others? What are some of the aspects, relevant to start-ups that the bill could have addressed? Our start-ups extensively use ESOPs to attract talent. The entrepreneurs are really open to sharing wealth with co-founders, advisors and employees. The process of ESOPs issuance and accounting should have been addressed at least for a small company. What is the most positive aspect of the Bill? The concept of a ‗small company‘ itself is encouraging. Although, over a period of time it can be extended to multiple areas for ease of operation of a ‗small company‘ and bring in a concept of self-regulation. How does the Bill allow start-ups to list or raise funds without difficulty? It has limited impact on the funding aspect. Two key changes such as ease of merger process and the recognition of ‗Right of First Refusal‘ with investors may get some consideration while making an investment decision. (This article was published on September 8, 2013) Keywords: Sunil Goyal, founder, YourNest Angel Fund, Companies Bill, small companies, entrepreneurs, start-ups, growth
  18. 18. startups/article5104523.ece Entrepreneurs’ weekend Our Bureau Share · Comment · print · T+ Thiruvananthapuram, Sept. 5: Kerala Finance Minister K.M. Mani launched the ‗Kerala entrepreneurs‘ weekend‘ and the Kerala Financial Corporation-Kerala State Entrepreneurship Development Mission here today. He distributed sanction letters to 12 incubatees of the Technopark technology business incubator. The mission is a flagship programme of the corporation for promoting entrepreneurial spark in youngsters of the State. P.H. Kurian, principal secretary, IT and Industries; P. Joy Oommen, chairman and managing director, and K. Ponnachan, director, Kerala Financial Corporation; K.G. Girish Babu, chief executive, Technopark and K.C. Chandrasekharan Nair, chief operating officer, Technology Innovation Zone, attended. It also marked the launch of the Kerala Entrepreneur Week, being organised by the incubators at Technopark and NIT, Kozhikode and Startup Village, Kochi. (This article was published on September 5, 2013) Keywords: Kerala Finance Minister, K.M. Mani, Kerala entrepreneurs Neesa Group’s Sanjay Gupta to launch private equity fund Virendra Pandit Share · Comment · print · T+ To raise Rs 300 crore for SMEs Ahmedabad, Sept. 5: Bureaucrat-turned-entrepreneur Sanjay Gupta, who resigned recently as Executive Chairman of the Rs 22,000-crore Metro-link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA) project to return to his own businesses, is floating a private equity (PE) fund. Gupta will initially raise Rs 250-300 crore from India and abroad to fund his enterprises as well as those of others.
  19. 19. Gupta, who last week said he was following Narayana Murthy in returning to his businesses, told Business Line here that in his fresh endeavour to raise a PE fund, he was following the example of the Tatas — he would fund his own companies and those of others. He is the promoter of business conglomerate Neesa Group with interests in a 1,200-room hotel chain, infrastructure, food and agri-tech, real estate, construction, IT and media business. Gupta has already approached the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in this regard and hopes to obtain regulatory approvals in the next couple of months. The new PE fund, called Let India Fly for Ever, or LIFE, will focus on the media, hospitality, healthcare and lifestyle sectors. This is being done with a vision to accelerate the growth of upcoming SMEs and profit-focused start-ups from different sectors. The first scheme to be launched under the PE fund, India Aspiration Scheme, will focus on SMEs and industries with a turnover of Rs 20-200 crore. LIFE falls under Category II–AIS SEBI regulations. Apart from offering financial support to SMEs, LIFE will also provide business intelligence and support network. Gupta, an IAS officer of the 1985 batch, Gujarat cadre, had resigned after Narendra Modi became the Chief Minister in October 2001. He joined the Adani Group as an advisor and later became an entrepreneur. He had joined MEGA, the special purpose vehicle for the Metro project, in April 2011. ―After its financial closure, achieved last week, anybody can now implement the project,‖ he said. A consortium of 10 leading public banks, headed by Punjab National Bank, has sanctioned a debt of Rs 4,700 crore. (This article was published on September 5, 2013) Keywords: Sanjay Gupta, private equity fund, Neesa Group, profile, fund/article5097464.ece QUICK TECH: "It is a worry when people use technology to play God" Share · Comment · print · T+
  20. 20. V Laxmikanth, Managing Director, Broadridge Financial Solutions (India) Pvt Ltd Catch the biggies in town talk about their taste in tech What gadgets do you like? I like my BlackBerry. I believe its the most user-friendly business phone launched till date. Another one of my favourite is an all-in-one remote control, as it makes my life a lot easier with the ever growing number of gadgets at my home. Which is the latest gadget you picked up? I recently picked up a noise-cancelling headphone. They are very useful and highly effective on airplanes and noisy places. I also love the fact that noise-cancelling headphone seems like an oxymoron: a piece of audio technology that creates silence, rather than noise. Which brands do you like and why? I‘m an early adopter so I end up buying most of the brands. I like Apple and BlackBerry the most because of their user friendliness. What is your dream machine? It‘s a long list, but, if I have to share my preference I would say a teleportation machine.
  21. 21. What do you not like about technology? It is not the technology per se, but how you use it. So, when people use technology to play God, it is a worry. Which apps are you addicted to? I am mostly addicted to my email. WhatsApp is another app, I use a lot, as it helps me keep in touch with my two young daughters all the time. Another app which I would recommend to all women in the country is the Airtel Help App which helps you send out three distress messages through three different channels to your contact with the press of just one button. We got this app installed in the BlackBerry devices of all the women associates at Broadridge. What’s the biggest tech disaster according to you? In many cases it is difficult to separate technology failure from human error. So it is really difficult to comment. Give one instance where technology solved your problem. There have been many particularly with mobile phones and mobile phones with video. Just today, we interacted with our global counterparts across 13 countries. The latest tele-presence and high-definition video conferencing solutions have definitely helped us in cutting down on our travelling costs and better collaborate with our people across the globe. Use of such technology in our daily business activities, definitely provides a stimulus to the growth of an organisation. (This article was published on September 5, 2013) Keywords: V Laxmikanth, Broadridge Financial Solutions, technology