Now, IBM Wakes up to Indian Startup Gold Rush

Technology services company launches first cloud centre in the country which will be located in Chennai
International Business Machines, the world’s largest technology services company, is looking to engage more actively with Indian startups for new, disruptive technologies and is open to buying out companies in the country to acquire solutions that it may not own already, its head of cloud computing said in an interview.“Absolutely,“ said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice-president of IBM Cloud, when asked about the possibility of acquisitions in India. “We tend not to invest in (startups) because we don’t want to be like a VC, but we identify gaps.We’ll do a worldwide scan and we’ll look at where we can get the best technology. So, if you look at our acquisitions today, I’d probably say 75% of them are US-based companies, but more and more they are non US-based companies,“ he said. LeBlanc spoke on the sidelines of IBM’s launch of its first public cloud data centre in India, on Tuesday, as part of the Armonk, New York-based company’s broader global strategy of pumping in $1.2billion to expand its global cloud footprint in all its major markets.The new centre will be located in Chennai.

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.

Source: The Economic Times

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Author:

Neeraj; an entrepreneur & a visionary in the field of Railway, Defense & Automobiles, is a graduate in commerce and a Harvard Business School Alumni. He’s an expert in govt. liasoning & contracting and has an exceptional network & connections at both local as well as global level. He’s an expert in Market Strategy & Planning and has served number of overseas companies as an advisor/consultant. He takes a profound interest in upcoming startups & is very receptive towards ground-breaking ideas & innovations. He likes to brainstorm those ideas and if the values & philosophies matches; he is even ready to invest his resources, serve as a mentor or act as an incubator to futuristic businesses.

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