Archive for August, 2006

Web 2.0 startup sold on ebay

This is via Rishab from silklist.

A web2.0 startup Kiko which was into AJAX based online calendering was sold on ebay for just over $250K. I guess they matched up with Google at least in the style of exit if nothing else!

Here’s the auction link.

Redherring 100 List – Indian companies

Redherring has announced the final 100 for this year — there are 23 Indian companies

24/7 Customer, 24×7 Learning, ACL Wireless, Advanced Radio Engineering, Avestha Gen, ConvergeLabs, Coruscant, Drishtee, Esqube Communications, Evalueserve, Indiaideas, Naukri, Innoviti, makemytrip, mauj telecom, mobile2win, NeoAccel, n-logue communications, Novatium Solutions, Ocimum Biosolutions, People Interactive, SoftJin, Toonz Animation

Remember, you saw it here first! Redherring site itself shows the 200 list as we post, but you can get the hyperlinks there.

Starting points for Indian languages internet

Fair bit of interest developing around local language content on the internet. Have been wondering what opportunities will present themselves over next few years as the opportunity unfolds. Some pieces of the puzzle:
1. Authoring tools
2. Standard rendering technology (still see too many floating around)
3. Content creation – Since english remains the main business language, who will create content and what kinds of content will be available in local language
4. The same question as in 3, but applied to applications
5. Tools to do 3,4 easily and without duplicating 100% effort
6. Search
7. Role of user generated content for local language ecosystem (relates to the question of who is going to create content)

Would love to hear back on what you think are the near term opportunities (3-5 years)

Room to Read

It may be worth creating a category for social entrepreneurship which is distinct from the others. But that aside here is a good story in that category.

Room to Read is an organization started by a Microsoft executive who left Microsoft in 2000 to enter the non-profit world and applied the principals of big business to the non-profit world and is attempting to be the Starbucks of libraries in the underdeveloped world. He has a book coming out that should be an interesting read.

There was an interesting paragraph somewhere on his site that made a general observation that I found worth highlighting

What works for one organization may not work for others. But one thing I have found to be missing in the business world is passion. People will work for a while, but once they have financial security, they tend to move away from companies that have invested heavily to recruit and train them. In the social sector, people tend to be much more passionate about the mission, and this helps in retaining top talent. This dedication fuels growth and expansion – and inspires others to be equally committed.

You can buy the book and get the full story – Leaving Microsoft to Change the World .

Another interesting organization is Build

Why did the Chicken Cross the Road

It really depends on who you ask…..


To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.


Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the
chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I’ve not been told.


In my day we didn’t ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody
told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.


We don’t really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to
know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is
either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.


Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it!
It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken’s
intentions. I am for it now, and will remain against it.


The problem we have here is that this chicken won’t realize that he
must first deal with the problem on “THIS” side of the road before it
goes after the problem on the “OTHER SIDE” of the road. What we need
to do is help him realize how stupid he’s acting by not taking on his
“CURRENT” problems before adding “NEW” problems.


Did I miss one?

Your Tax Rupees at Work !!!

Rarely do I hear about good work being done using public funds in India. I was pleased to hear about a municipal school in Hauz Khas, Delhi. The school charges $1 a year as fees .

It operates upto 5th grade ( standard). A child I know joined as a first grade student. He received free books and would have got free uniforms ( they were out of stock). At school he gets a free meal. The school is clean and the people who told me about it said that though the class sizes were large ( 50+ students) the teachers seemed quite good. Getting admission was easy. No exams/bribes etc.

I do not know for sure that the funding is public money or charitable donations but I am hoping its tax rupees at work and the education cess that we pay is making a difference.

I for one would love for the media to make stories such as this front page news rather than the cola wars, fights in parliament etc.

VC1.0, Stagflation and VC2.0 Preambe

Peter Rip of Leapfrog Ventures has a humorous piece on On Everything 2.0 and takes a dig the 2.0 trend with Arithmetic 2.0. Then he gets serious with Venture Capital 2.0 a series on paridgm shift in the (IT) VC space. First in the series, Venture 2.0 – Preamble traces the

The sequential evolution of the IT “food chain” from semiconductor (Intel, National) to systems (Apple, Sun, Dell) to software (Microsoft, Oracle) to services (Yahoo, Google) has been the underlying order.

and goes on to say

And some firms are already responding. The move to Cleantech is a move to exit IT (or diversify) to find alternative industries. The move to build Indian and Chinese outposts are brand extensions.

Some highlights:

Success in IT venture capital investing has been a form of capital and information arbitrage for much of the period up to the late 1990s. The scarcity of risk capital and the scarcity of insight about evolution of technologies and technology markets made it possible for astute venture capital firms to transform access to capital and superior technological insight into superior returns. For example, as Moore’s Law was driving the electronics industry to the mantra of smaller, cheaper, faster, Sequoia Capital built a franchise reputation in semiconductor venture investments, based on the experience of its two founders, Don Valentine and Pierre Lamond, both early veterans of National Semiconductor.

Success begat success in the venture business. Since venture investments have had payoff characteristics like options, i.e. limited downside and infinite upside, the key to the business has been “deal flow.” Deal flow is about seeing as much of the total distribution of deals, to generate a larger set of ‘long tail outcome’ candidates. Success made IT venture capital business a first-order Markov process, where the probability of the getting the next hit was enhanced by having a previous hit, precisely because of the desire of all entrepreneurs to affiliate with “known winners.” The two masters of this phenomenon have been Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Byers and Sequoia Capital.

Worth checking out and worth staying tuned for more.

Make India – V1.1

We work fast. V1.1 has been uploaded as well.

Make India – Social Entrepreneurship

Here is the text of a mail I sent to some people to give the gist ….

You may find interesting… It not very long … and it suggests that a $300MM + revenue company could be built… and more importantly it could bring about a quiet revolution that would “Make India”.

I am not sure at all that the straw man presented here is the right one but the punch line is the last one.

If a billion minds think “Make India” will happen.

Comments welcome but more importantly we need the “social entrepreneur” or multiple “social entrepreneurs” who try to make the magic happen.

Looking For Social Ma

Jack Ma in China has built a large company, Alibaba & Tao Bao in China. Yahoo bought 40% for $1 billion. I have in the recent past posted on “Looking for Ma” and on “Make India movement”.

Quite a few readers asked me for a copy of the whitepaper referred to in the “Make India” post. Alok Mittal felt that the whitepaper was intriguing enough to be hosted on VW. Version 1 of the whitepaper is available on VW.

Make India – Social Entrepreneurship

I also received comments that V1.1 should include some metrics/ financials. I have done that and sent it to Alok. V1.1 should be up soon.

If I receive significant comments I will do V1.2 and so on but the key is not to improve the whitepaper but to find and support our “Social Ma”.

School Chale Hum

Interesting video On “You Tube”

192 million children between 6-14 years of age across 1.1 million places in India are not going to school.
This film for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Universilisation of Elementary Education) addresses the needs of these children.
The film catches the moment when children all across India from Kashmir to Kerala wake up in the morning and run to go to school.
Directed by: Kanika and Bala, Bharatbala Productions (BBP) for the Ministry of Human Resource Development, India.