IBM is looking to deepen its engagement with early-stage companies in India, given the country’s fertile and rapidly-developing technology ecosystem and also because of the abundance of quality technology talent.
“As we build out here and help India build this next-generation of ecosystem around these startups, guess what innovation will happen and trust me, there will be a lot of us who will watch the industry.And if we find some great technology and we see the value in that technology, will we invest and acquire them? Absolutely,“ said LeBlanc.
IBM, which is betting big on its cognitive computing system Watson and attempting to sell it to some of its largest customers in India such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone, is seeing encouraging progress with the product in India, IBM’s India chief Vanitha Narayanan said in an interview.
“We’re doing hackathons and some of the hackathons that we’re doing are also Watson hackathons.So, this is to get a level of innova tion for startups to be able to leverage those,“ said Narayanan. He said the company has so far had “a very positive set of engagements and interactions“ with top clients in terms of deploying Watson in India.
On Tuesday, IBM also partnered industry lobby Nasscom’s 10,000 Startups initiative to launch an online hub called Techstartup.in, which will allow startups, investors and venture capitalists to network with each other as part of a drive to help grow the cloud market in India.
IBM has over the past decade dominated the domestic tech nology services market against home-grown software firms such as TCS and Infosys, and bagged marquee telecom customers such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and dea Cellular that have helped it create a multi-billion dollar market and build up a workforce of over 150,000 employees, after successfully replicating the global de ivery model perfected by Indian outsourcing firms.
“When you’re in the IT industry, ech has no boundaries. I’ll acquire whatever makes sense.But you got to have a very robust ecosystem to support the startups,“ said LeBlanc.