India, Singapore can consider warship-building venture

SINGAPORE: Singapore and India should consider exploring the untapped potential of cooperation in naval ship building, an expert from an Indian naval think-tank said here on Friday.There are excellent opportunities for the two countries to jointly build warships in India, given Singapore’s technological and design expertise and the low production costs in India, particularly in terms of labour and raw-material, said Captain Gurpreet S Khurana, who is the executive director of the National Maritime Foundation in New Delhi.”India has lately offered several incentives to foreign firms to undertake joint-research and co-development of defence hardware,” he said.

“These include New Delhi’s new ‘mantra’ of ‘Make in India’, the attendant facilitation of overseas investments, and the raising of foreign direct investment (FDI) cap on defence from 26 per cent to 49 per cent,” he added.

Khurana spoke at the conference “The Merlion and the Ashoka: Singapore-India Strategic and Defence Ties”, which was organised by the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies of Singapore.

He pointed out that the private sector in India was now being encouraged to participate in the defence industry, which was hitherto driven largely by state-controlled or public-sector enterprises.

He noted the strengthening defence cooperation between Singapore and India.

However, Khurana pointed out that defence-technology was conceived by the Singapore leaders as a facet of cooperation more than a decade ago during the signing of the bilateral Defence MoU in 2003.

Following that India-Singapore Defence Procurement and System Development Working Group (DPSD-WG) met in June 2007 to identify the specific areas of such cooperation, the two countries were yet to develop a functional agenda.

“This facet of Singapore-India defence cooperation must not be seen as only buyer and seller relationship; both the nations may have to move towards long term and comprehensive cooperation such as joint scientific and technological research, development and production of weapons system and even explore sale to international customers,” he said.

Khurana said he was expecting to see the initiation of defence hardware co-development tie-ups between India and Japan in the near future.

“There is enormous economic potential for the Japanese to benefit from India, which is poised to spend a whopping USD 150 billion on defence hardware over the next decade, and is creating an in-house investment-friendly environment”, he said.

“The only hurdle for Tokyo is the restriction posed by the post-World War II Japanese Constitution on sharing defence hardware and technology with other countries, which are likely to be overcome sooner than later.” he added.



6 ways Modi’s ‘Make for India’ campaign will create jobs

imageAs India embarks on the ‘Make in India ‘mission that coincides with our triumph in the outer space, a new era marked by the philosophy of build rather than buy begins that will change the way we do business in India.

The campaign certainly provided the thrust required to push the slowing India economy on the growth mission. spoke to industry experts to decode the impact of “effective governance” on job creation and skills development.

  1. Kick Start Robust Hiring as Government invests in Industrialisation

The Make in India campaign will kick in robust hiring in the coming months with the Union Government investing more in industrialisation and devising policies to boost employment and thereby contribute towards the GDP.

Ravichandran Purushothaman, president, Danfoss India

  1. Enhance GDP Contribution from manufacturing

More than half of the Indian workforce contributes only 14% to GDP; this campaign will help boost India’s economy by enhancing GDP contribution from Manufacturing. It will have a cascading effect on all sectors including ours through creation of millions of jobs and many opportunities for skill development.

Amit Malik, chief human resource officer, Aviva life Insurance India 

  1. Focus on manufacturing will drive growth in other sectors

With focus on manufacturing, which is a core industry sector for job creation, the government has set the juggernaut rolling in the right direction. The focus on manufacturing will drive the development of other key sectors like infrastructure and energy as they will serve as growth enablers. This cascade effect across sectors will immensely benefit the youth entering the workforce. We expect the impact of the initiatives and schemes to be felt over a period of time. If the intent is translated efficiently into execution, we can expect the job market to grow aggressively over the next five years.

Moorthy K Uppaluri, CEO, Randstad India

  1. Make in India will promote human capital at grass root level

The demand for skilled manpower is widespread in the international labour market. Taking steps towards addressing this demand, the Prime Minister has emphasized on skill development in his ‘Make in India’ and ‘Deen Dayal Upadhyay-Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY)’ campaigns. These initiatives create a robust platform to promote human capital at grass root level. It has also raised the confidence of Indians staying overseas to invest in high growth sectors like manufacturing, biotechnology, construction, among several others.

Sudhesh Giriyan, vice president & business head, Xpress Money

  1. Transforming Domestic Manufacturers into Global MNCs

After almost two years of minimal growth due to the global slowdown, the manufacturing industry is slowly recovering. By streamlining regulatory processes and introducing a dedicated cell to address the queries of business entities within 72 hours, the government has made it its mission to have global companies invest in India. This could also potentially spark off a chain reaction leading our domestic manufacturers to become global MNCs.  With the mechanisms that the Prime Minister has put in place, this ‘Make in India’ campaign could spell great success for our economy, boosting job creation and a higher level of growth.

Udit Sheth, executive director, Setco Automotive

  1. Enabling Indian manufacturing to become globally competitive 

After a long time the government has put its might behind growing the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing is key not only for expanding the GDP but most vitally for job creation. His vision of FDI – ‘First Develop India’ and make the country an attractive business destination for domestic and foreign investors is laudable. The success will however come from effective implementation in dealing with various factors required for Indian manufacturing to become globally competitive.

Harsh Pati Singhania, director JK Organisation & MD JK Paper


Budget 2014: Focus on investment not on employment

The employment push is not visible in this budget. The focus is more on investment which largely benefits the large corporate houses. T Muralidharan chairman & managing director, TMI e2E Academy, in his post-budget reaction to Bureau said that the focus is more on investments in jobs sector but how will these jobs be created?. He highlights the good and bad of the Budget 2014 for our readers. Where it scored? FM acknowledged that migration is a reality in the context of creating 100 smart cities. This means that migration is not a “bad” word any more in skill industry. “ Tourism will be a focus industry for employment creation. Rs 500 crores have been allocated to promote tourism on five themes. This is a good sign for launching course in this domain. “ Multi skill focus and the need to integrate employment and entrepreneurship was mentioned. This is big departure from the current policy of insisting that all skill development should lead to employment and employment is the main measure of success. Self-employment based skill courses will get more attention and support from the skill ministry. “ On Aajeevika program run by the Ministry of rural development, he talked of concessional loans at 4% for funding local entrepreneurship. This is a great sign. “ Revamping of apprenticeship program was announced. It will include MSME because this where bulk of new employment is created. Hopefully the Apprentice scheme for MSME will be game changer for both MSME and the fresh graduates. “ The MSME sector finally got a lot of importance in this budget with a 10,000 crore fund, a revised definition of MSME, a recognition that the service industry MSME are as important as manufacturing MAMEs. “ Employment exchanges will be revamped for career and job counselling. This is not a new idea. But the implementation is difficult since the jobs are in the private sector about which the current employees know very little. Privatisation is the only way. “ Young leaders program with a budget of 100 crore has been created. What it lacked? Not spell out in detail about the role, budget of the new skill ministry. “ Not commented on the STAR program. Does this mean that since the Rs 1000 crore was sanctioned in the interim budget for 2014-15, the scheme will continue? “ There was a big demand to scrap service tax for skill programs of all types. Today the exemption is subject to certain conditions. Because the service tax is paid by the unemployed youth’s parents. “ There were expectations of a big jump in the skill budgets. Some people talked about five times growth. This was not spelt out. “ The need to increase minimum wages to make the compensation fair and in alignment with the food inflation was not even attempted. This is a big disappointment. The focus seems to be on skilling and on ramping up the Manufacturing and Infrastructure industry. The employment creation per crore of investment is many times bigger in service industry. He did not spell out how employment will be created in the economy. Skilling increases supply of manpower. If the demand is not there, this effort will be counterproductive. The excess supply will impact the compensation which is already happening.

The $500 million acquisition announced on Tuesday initially will provide Google with the means to improve the quality and immediacy of the satellite imagery used in its digital maps.

SAN FRANCISCO: Google is buying Skybox Imaging in a deal that could serve as a launching pad for the Internet company to send its own fleet of satellites to take aerial pictures and provide online access to remote areas of the world.

The $500 million acquisition announced on Tuesday initially will provide Google with the means to improve the quality and immediacy of the satellite imagery used in its digital maps.

Google Inc. plans to use Skybox’s satellite already in orbit to supplement the material that it licenses from more than 1,000 sources, including other satellite companies such as DigitalGlobe and Astrium.

Eventually, though, Skybox could turn into another Google “moonshot” — a term that CEO Larry Page has embraced for describing ambitious projects that could take several years to materialize.

Google hopes to build more satellites that could be used to beam Internet access to points around the world. That would expand an effort that Google began a year ago when it unveiled “Project Loon” — a venture featuring jellyfish-shaped balloons equipped with antennas to bring the Internet to parts of the world without the proper wiring to get online.

As the owner of the world’s most popular search engine and email service, Google typically benefits when more people are on the Internet to see the ads that generate most of the company’s annual revenue of $55 billion. Page and other Google executives say they are primarily interested in getting more people on to the Internet to create a more egalitarian and knowledgeable society.

The expansion into satellites comes two months after Google bought drone maker Titan Aerospace for an undisclosed amount.

Google made about 250 acquisitions during the past decade, using many of them to expand into new markets, including maps and mobile devices.

To the frustration of some investors, Google also has been spending billions of dollars exploring new frontiers of technology, including driverless cars, Internet-connected headwear, robots and a startup called Calico striving to find ways to slow the aging process. Other investors have applauded Google for having the vision and audacity to make big bets on bold ideas that analysts say could hatch lucrative products in the rapidly changing technology industry.

Google’s most-widely traded class of stock dipped $2.43 on Tuesday to close at $568.30.

Skybox is a 5-year-old startup in Mountain View, California, located a mile-and-half from Google’s headquarters in the same Silicon Valley city. Led by aerospace industry veteran Tom Ingersoll, Skybox has been working on additional satellites that should be easier to complete with Google’s backing.

“The time is right to join a company who can challenge us to think even bigger and bolder, and who can support us in accelerating our ambitious vision,” Skybox said in a blog post. Skybox had previously raised about $91 million in venture capital. The company says it employs about 100 people.

Google is hoping to gain regulatory approval to take control of Skybox Imaging within the next few months. The deal needs approval from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as the Federal Communications Commission.


5 Things Investors Want to Know Before Signing a Check

Take the emotion out of investingPitching your idea to investors, regardless if they are bankers, VCs or angels, can be intimidating, so prepare by putting yourself in the investor’s shoes. What do they look for when evaluating your company? Here is a list of the five most important things that an investor wants to know before sinking money in a company.1. Financial performance. You need to know your numbers. Prove to potential investors that your company has excellent financial performance, especially if you are seeking funding from a bank. Venture capitalists will look for a potential of high returns and a clear exit opportunity.Prepare to answer questions about the financial stability of your company. Investors will ask if your company shows signs of growth and if you have plans such as issuing shares or borrowing money to stimulate growth. Your debt repayment plan should also be properly presented. Prove your business is capable of handling its financial obligations.

When pitching to investors based on your company’s financial performance, it’s advisable to show proof that your current assets are enough to cover current or short-term liabilities. Expect investors to evaluate your revenue streams, acquisition cost and turnover rates.

2. Background and experience in the industry. Investors don’t want entrepreneurs to make mistakes on their dime. Investors look for experienced entrepreneurs and management teams with a track record of high performance and leadership in the company’s industry or in prior ventures. Most investors will research your business experience and your background in the industry. Passion and commitment should be evident to inspire confidence in investors and stakeholders.

“Investor fit” is particularly important to angel investors compared to venture capital fund managers.  Angel investors place great importance on “chemistry” between themselves and the entrepreneur because they generally take a more hands-on approach in the businesses they invest in.

Tim Ferriss, an entrepreneur and angel investor, has mentioned that he looks for founders who have ideally done something high stress when failure or rejection is constant on a small or large scale almost everyday.

Related: 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Pitching Investors (Infographic)

3. Company uniqueness. Your product or services need to be unique. Prove to your investors, with concrete evidence, that your market potential is big enough to make investing worthwhile.

Venture capitalists’ are influenced by product characteristics such as proprietary features and competitive advantage. Investors look for features that distinguish you from potential competitors and give you some sort of advantage, such as intellectual property protection, exclusive licenses and exclusive marketing and distribution relationships.  (2,3,4)

4. Effective business model. Your company will start to display its strategic value as soon as it begins to generate profits. Present the business model that you are currently using and prove that it will help your company become more profitable.

Different types of investors seek different attributes from a business plan. It’s important to customize your business plan and pitch to each investor. For example, venture capital fund managers and angel investors tend to put more emphasis on both market and finance issues, so those are areas that you should focus on when approaching these types of investors.

5. Large market size. Angel investors typically invest in solutions that address major problems for significantly large target markets. On the other hand, venture capitalists look at market characteristics such as significant growth and limited competition when investing.

The larger and more stable customer base that your brand has, the stronger competitive advantage you will have when pitching to investors. A larger and more stable customer base will serve as proof that your company has a great impact to its target market.

Investors look for companies that can grow quickly and manage this high growth scale. Investors must see that the company can generate significant profits beyond the initial product idea with adequate financial projections and a plan to include multiple sources of revenue.


Why Indian startups are valued lower than Silicon Valley counterparts

Start-up ventures which graduated today are also include Appointy, Boutline, InstaSafe, Metaome, IntouchApp, Voonik and Zoom.
BANGALORE: Indian startups are valued much less than their peers in Silicon Valley, often less by nearly half. While most believe this is due to the difference in the quality of companies, investors admit that it is more a function of demand.
In mature markets there are more investors jostling for deals and thereby driving up the valuation, while Indian startups are still vying for attention.Global deal-making platform Angel List displays an average of around 14 investors in Silicon Valley chasing about ten companies, while in India there could be about eight investors in the fray.”It’s not how good or bad a startup is, it is a demand-supply equation. In the Valley, there are more people chasing the same deals,” said Sasha Mirchandani, co-founder of early stage investment firm Kae Capital, which has backed mobile ad network InMobi and app maker Little Eye Labs.Typically, India-based startups that are yet to receive funding receive a valuation of about $2.4 million (Rs 15 crore). For a startup in Silicon Valley, this number — termed as pre-money valuation — is almost double at $4.7 million.

Indian investors also display a geographical bias, for instance Bangalore-based startups are valued higher than average, clocking valuations of about $3.1 million, while those in New Delhi are valued at about $ 1.9 million. Experts are of the view that investors worry about the market for new technologies built by India-based companies and as a result drive down the valuation.

“India is not a starter ecosystem, Indians are secondary adopters,” said Sharad Sharma, co-founder of iSpirt, a software product thinktank. “But the density of people who can try out new technologies in the initial stages is very high in the United States.”

The assurance that investee companies will find and a large number of customers, thereby guaranteeing profitable exit options, helps embolden investors in mature markets.

“Such an investment thesis is not applicable in India,” said Samir Kumar, managing director at early stage investment firm Inventus Capital Partners, which backed online ticketing firm redBus bought by South Africa’s Naspers last year.

A poor track record of exits is also a dampener for Indian investors. Between 2012 and 2013, Silicon Valley saw 311 exits, according to research firm CB Insights. In the same period, India had less than 50 deals, including the sale of redBus, Hitachi’s purchase of ATM services company Prizm Payments.

If the volume is low, so is value. When Facebook acquired messaging app maker WhatsApp for $19 billion, venture investor Sequoia Capital is estimated to have received nearly a sixth of sale value. In comparison, Facebook bought Bangalore-based mobile app maker Little Eye Labs in a deal valued at about Rs 90 crore in January.

Entrepreneurs said these modest numbers hold them back from dreaming big. Frrole, an analytics platform for enterprises, started off as a social newspaper. But the three-year old venture began life as a social media newspaper with an ambition to take on Google News. After failing to raise money for over two years, the company shifted its business model in the middle of last year.

“I’m sure several people would have got influenced by our decision to pivot. They would think twice before starting a consumer facing product,” said Amarpreet Kalkat, chief executive of Frrole, which recently raised funding from a group of angel investors including iSpirt’s Sharma and Eka Software founder Manav Garg.

“Angel and seed money tend to follow very safe and proven models, the propensity of VC’s to take diverse bets is still not there in India, ” said Saurabh Saxena, co-founder of Vedantu, an education-based startup.

Angel investors pump 4 crore into LetsVenture to widen deal-making services

LetsVentureBANGALORE: Online fund-raising platform, LetsVenture has raised money from a syndicate of angel investors as it seeks to broaden the scope of its deal-making services. The Bangalore-based company will receive 4 crore in seed funding led by industry leaders Eka Software cofounder Manav Garg, InMobi cofounder Naveen Tewari , angel investor Rajan Anandan and Sharad Sharma, cofounder of software product industry think tank iSpirt.

The money from 21 angel investors as well as venture funds like Accel Partners was raised on the deal-making platform run by the company founded in 2013 by Shanti Mohan who was earlier a senior executive at HP Labs who teamed up with two IITians Manish Singhal and Sanjay Jha. The platform, widely regarded as India’s answer to the US deal making platform AngelList, has about 750 startups and 375 Indian investors registered on its platform .

“Our collective vision behind this investment is to take the number of seed stage and Series A (first round of venture capital) deals in India from 200 to over 1000 in a couple of years,” said Garg who is also an investor in startups such as StayZilla, social media newspaper Frrole and enterprise software maker OrangeScape.

“Not only will it act as a LinkedIn for India’s startup ecosystem but also generate valuable growth ideas for large MNCs such as Intel and Google who want to grow their business to the next level with innovation,” he said.

The platform which serves as a marketplace for global investors to connect with entrepreneurs of India, aims to close 35 funding deals this fiscal. LetsVenture charges 2-3 per cent of the entire funding as a commission from entrepreneurs , once they receive the money. It also plans to charge investors about 20,000 as annual registration fee.

“Hardly 200-300 startups get funded each year whereas the potential is many folds higher. This money will help us scale up and build our outreach in more cities ,” said Singhal, cofounder and CEO of LetsVenture, who along with his two other co-founders invested 30 lakhs to start the firm last September.

“This platform will enable investible wealth to discover great startups in nook and corners of India,” he said. This is the third deal on the Lets-Venture platform in the last eight months. Earlier Frrole and merchandise ecommerce store Blue-Gape have raised seed funding of about 1.5 crore through the platform.

“Even though we already had two lead investors, we decided to use LetsVenture as it helped to build a syndicate of over a dozen investors,” said Amarpreet Kalkat, cofounder Frrole.” We could choose whose money to take,” he said.

LetsVenture has tied up with Bangalore-based K-Law as its legal partner which helps the startups and investors in drafting term-sheets and shareholder agreements, while they are closing funding.

The world’s largest such platform is San Francisco-based AngelList , founded by US-based entrepreneurs Naval Ravikant and Babak NiviBSE 0.00 %. Like AngelList, Lets-Venture has also started a jobs portal as a service for its startups. It has also started conducting trainings for angel investing in major cities from this month. “We think such platforms can spurt significant growth and standardisation in angel and seed investments in India,” said Subrata Mitra, Partner at Accel Partners, also an investor in the platform.