Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fifth India Innovation Summit '09- Day 2- Session-3

The next session was on 'Funding Innovation in the Downturn'. The opening remark came from Ravi Narayan, MD Mentor- Partners who threw light on the various VC funding activities across India. In his view, some of the most active funding partners here are: Sequioa; DFJ; NEA; Helilopn; Venture East; Intel Capital; Nexus; IDG; and Acumen.
In this current economic downturn, there are opportunities both for the Entrepreneur as well the Investors. Opportunities for the former are:
  • Best companies built in downturn
  • India continues to grow. Opportunities abound
  • Opportunities in India needs to scale and to be price sensitive.
  • Therefore, adopting Western models won't work here
  • In India – there are delivery challenges. Reach out here means millions of users

For the investors, opportunities are:

  • Prices are more reasonable now
  • Tends to gravitate to less risky propositions
  • Get more time to make investments
  • Time available to scrutinize the governance of the start up
  • M&A opportunities for the start up evaluated to decide on funding.

This was indeed a very good context setting.

The speakers for the session were:

  • P Anandan, Managing Director, Microsoft Research India
  • Alok Kejriwal, Founder and CEO, Games2win

Anandan spoke about the areas of research done at Microsoft Research. These are:

  • Via Products (most research happens here)
  • Microsoft Research
  • Ecosystem support for partner innovation.

There are 1000 full time researchers working on 60 different research areas. The mission is: Expand State of the Art; Translate to MS products; and Ensure MS has a look ahead on what's coming in.

He opined that in India, typically the industry does more of D of the R & D. Applied Technology is an equally important investment, as it helps social development, economic growth and quality of life.

One of the most scintillating presentations of the day came from Alok Kejriwal who is a gaming entrepreneur. Alok showed some Google Analytics to show the players accessing these games from world over.
As the games gets popular, the games is stolen. While the theft is a reflection of the game's popularity, it does take traffic away. The team then cames up with the concept of “INVIZIADS”. The idea being – as long as the game was played at the correct URL, the ads remain invisible. When the game is stolen and hosted at a different URL, ads start appearing. This disturbs the players and they invariably come to the original location to play without disturbance.
So the message is – in the face of copy cats – its best to invent invent invent.

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