Not Just Tech Support: Online in India
Most people immediately think of “outsourcing” when you mention technology businesses in India. However, there is a reason that Facebook, Zynga, GroupOn, LinkedIn, and a wave of other Web 2.0 businesses have recently opened offices in India – and no, it isn’t solely for outsourced technical support.
There are an estimated 100+ million Indians currently online, and with advancements in 3G mobile networks, that number is estimated to double over the next 2 years. The Indian market for internet services looks similar to the USA circa 1999, with several key differences – namely the preference for accessing the internet over lost cost mobile devices and payment methods that are not credit-card based.
In our SXSW panel last year, we brought you several start-up CEOs, angel investors, and a New York Times columnist to share their experience with capturing the Indian opportunity. If you create online or mobile services, and have a goal of reaching a massive user base, then you can’t miss attending our 2012 panel!
Anshuman is the CEO & co-founder of mygola.com, a travel planning service. He co-founded and sold his first startup (RightHalf.com) while in undergrad at IIT Bombay, seeing it through the first boom & bust on the internet. After his MBA at Stanford, he spent some time selling solar lights in Vietnam and working with an Indian Member of Parliament before returning to New York to work with Deloitte, then Google.
He moved to Bangalore two years ago to get back to being an entrepreneur.
Anshuman is passionate about traveling, claiming to his credit both being chased (by a machete-wielding thug in Chile) and giving the chase (to a lioness in Gir forest) during his travels.
Archana Prasad, is an artist from Bangalore, India. Her work is a particular conjunction of visual art, technology and urban community-based art, steeped in design and research methodologies.
As Co-Founder & Director of Jaaga (www.jaaga.in), Archana has a unique artist-activist role. She works towards building a stronger arts community and positively impacting public perception of art, artists and art-practices, and seeks to harness the power of the internet in this negotiation. She has a keen interest in documentation and creating public awareness on Bangalore's socio-cultural heritage.
Some recent projects she is most proud of are:
Poetry Across Borders - live, shared international poetry performance events
Art & the City - Online Journal on Contemporary Indian Art
Neighbourhood Diaries - Stories and Histories of Neighbourhoods in Bangalore onilne
Hampi Crafts Documentation - India Digital Hampi Project, Central Govt. India
Digital Narratives - A Microsoft Research Project
Samuha - An Artist Initiative and Collective
CitySignals - A Sonic-Video Public Art Project
The Manjunauts - A Sci-Fi Experimental Electronica Art Band
The Bangalore City Project - Connecting the City through Culture
The India Digital Heritage Project - A Microsoft Research Project
Archana holds a Bachelors in Painting and a Masters in Art History from CKP and a Post Graduate Degree in Animation from NID. She is an ATSA 2010 Fellow, and was an Artist in Residence at Kanoria Center for Arts. In 2008 she was selected as one of 11 artist-performers from South East Asia to attend the c/o Pop festival in Cologne, Germany.
Nandu Madhava is the CEO and Founder of mDhil, a start-up which has grown to become one of India's largest online health communities. mDhil launched SMS health subscriptions with several Indian mobile carriers in 2009, and has since expanded into mobile web and online health videos geared for the emerging market consumer.
Previously, he was part of the management team at OfficeTiger, a Chennai-based business process strategy firm acquired by RR Donnelley. Nandu was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic, where he worked on technology development issues and assisted foreign doctors with medical clinics in local communities. Nandu later worked at Goldman Sachs & UBS in investment management roles. For his work in creating mDhil he was awarded a TED Fellowship and spoke at the TED India Conference (2009), the Health 2.0 San Francisco Conference (2010), and SXSW (2011 & 2012). He is an undergraduate of the University of Texas and received his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Sean Blagsvedt is the CEO of Babajob.com, which connects employers to informal sector employees in the developing world - such as maids, cooks and office helpers - through a combination of mobile phones, location, skill and price filtering and social connections. The site has added over 250,000 users and 800,000 job positions, launched with 6 large mobile carriers in India and has been profiled by the New York Times
as a significant innovation that “seeks to bring the social-networking revolution to the world’s poor.”
Previously, Sean spent 9 years with Microsoft in the Office, Windows and Research groups. In 2004, Sean moved to Bangalore as the 3rd member of Microsoft Research India, heading the Program Management and Advanced Prototyping team, focusing on novel approaches to mobile phones and technology in emerging markets.
Prior to Microsoft, Sean worked at the White House with the Internet Policy czar, Ira Magaziner. Sean holds dual bachelor degrees in Computer Science and Public Policy from Brown University (1998) and is a TEDIndia Fellow.
Sonny is a former New York-based corporate lawyer who left the formal practice of law to pursue his dream of being an entrepreneur. He’s been a senior leader in multiple startups in New York, Silicon Valley, and India.
He is currently the co-founder and co-CEO of Sher Singh, one of the first online lifestyle brands from India. Previously, he co-founded Exclusively.In, a pioneer in Indian e-commerce that became one of the largest online retailers of Indian fashion. These businesses are backed by some of the world’s leading investors, from Accel Partners and Tiger Global Management to executives from Google, Facebook, and Armani.
Sonny has a deeply personal connection to the fashion industry, because he is widely recognized as the world's first Sikh model. He first appeared in Kenneth Cole's 25th anniversary global advertising campaign in 2008, and since that time, has appeared in GQ for global brands including Dior, Versace, and Armani. He is also an avid percussionist who has performed with leading international musicians including Thievery Corporation, who have sold more than one million albums worldwide.
Sonny maintains an active role in the Indian startup ecosystem as an early-stage angel investor, advisor, and board member, and is also a lecturer on International Management at the Munich Business School in Germany. He received his B.A. from Duke University, J.D. law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, and was a Lord Rothermere Scholar at Oxford University in England (New College).