15th January, 2000
The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE), an organisation founded in the Silicon Valley by entrepreneurs from South Asia and engaged in Information Technology and other high-tech industries like biomedical service and consultancy, launched its Chennai Chapter today (www.tie.org).
Founded in 1992, the TiE, headed by Mr.Kanwal Rekhi, is a non-profit organisation fostering entrepreneurship, networking and guidance among aspiring professionals so that they could emerge as high achievers in both the U.S and South Asia.
The Chennai chapter of the TiE will be headed by Mr.K.V.Ramani, Chairman and Managing Director of Future Software Pvt. Ltd, Chennai and Chairman and CEO of Future Communications Software based in San Jose, California.
Inaugurating the TiE chapter, the Chief Minister, Mr.M Karunanidhi, said the State Government was committed to the growth of the IT industry, for which it had taken “significant steps”. He pointed out that at present there were about 200 IT companies in Tamil Nadu employing nearly 20,000 professionals. Software exports from the State had gone up from Rs.5 Crores in 1994-95 to Rs.1,270 Crores in 1998-99. Software exports had recorded a growth of 192 per cent in 1998-99, he said.
Leaders of the TiE who have come to the city from the U.S on the occasion explained that the organisation had two types of members – “mentor” members who would act as guides to identified entrepreneurs and devote time in nurturing them, with advise and investment support, and ordinary members. The organisation had already established chapters in Los Angeles and Boston in the U.S and in India was promoting chapters in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
The TiE, which organises annual conferences in the Silicon Valley, besides monthly meetings and interactive sessions by its various chapters, has sponsorship support of venture capital companies, investment banks, law firms and accounting firms. TiE members from the U.S., including Mr.K B Chandrasekhar (Exodus Communications), Mr.Suhas Patil (Cirrus Logic) and Dr.Rafiq Dossani (Stanford University) made presentations on the objectives and achievements of the organisation and its members.
Addressing a press conference on the occasion, Mr.Rekhi denied reports that the group had proposed to take over the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). What the members sought to do was to collect funds,originally targeted at $5 million, for development of the IITs, considering the decreasing budgetary support for these institutions to which many of the members were emotionally attached.
When the Indian Prime Minister and others in the Central Government suggested that they raise the contribution to $1 billion, they agreed to do so, provided the IITs were given greater autonomy to pursue excellence.
They hoped that the government would remove all hurdles to development of venture capital in India so that the country could realise its great potential in the IT industry.
Mr.Dewang Mehta, President of NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Service Companies), said his organisation proposed to “nucleate” a rating agency so that investors would be able to judge better the prospects and status of IT companies. At present, some undesirable elements sought to misguide investors by merely adopting a corporate name suggestive of the IT business, he said.