Last Thursday (18th Jan), I shared a panel on “The New Argonauts: diasporas and talent flows” with Li Gong, Cong Cao and AnnaLee Saxenian at the “Atlas of Ideas” conference in London.
We briefly talked about the “global flows of talent, and the shift that is underway from ‘brain drain’ to ‘brain circulation’” around the world as skilled immigrants and professionals from Asia return home to start on their own or contribute indirectly to indigenous capability development.
This was followed by a lively Q&A session which spilled over an hour where we debated these views and the impact of these talent flows on innovation in the US and Europe.
Swati Piramal challenged the view that there was little propsect of fundamental innovation happening in India and I mentioned a few bottom-of-pyramid businesses that have the potential to threaten established business models in developed economies (see one of my earlier posts on this topic)
One of the attendees asked a very perceptive question about identities and allegiance of these “new argonauts“…Another asked whether these talent flows can be moderated and whether Governments should consider intervening to influence these flows…
All in all, lots of food for thought…
Here are the slides I shared with the audience before the Q&A.
Late in Dec ’06, I shared some slides with students at the Vidya Prasarak Mandal’s Instt of Management at Thane (near Mumbai) on how India was at an inflection point.
And yet, in many ways, the emergence of India is not “new” but a re-distribution of global economic wealth and power. In the presentation, I also highlighted some of ancient India’s scientific and technological achievements and argued why the massive growth that India is witnessing will be sustained in the long run.
Here is a copy of the slides.
We managed to pull it off!
Phenomenal event yesterday. 100+ attendees and some great insights and experiences that were shared by the speakers. I am in the process of putting up the slides on the server (hopefully before end of tomorrow).
We had Richard Laing, Chief Executive of the CDC Group speaking from an LP perspective on opportunities and challenges in PE/VC in India. Harpal Singh Randhawa, CEO of GEM reflected on his experience of investing in India over the last 15 years and Jonathan Blake, Senior Partner at SJ Berwin addressed some of the structural issues around setting up an India fund.
Earlier, I set the backdrop to the evening with a few slides (here:India – At Inflection Point) on how the country is at an inflection point.
All in all, a fitting start to the formal launch of the India Venture Capital Interest Group (India VCIG) and hopefully we will be able to maintain the high standard of the event and build on the momentum that has been generated.
P.S. My pick of the quotes:
“The only antidote to poverty is the generation of wealth”.
Louis Turner of Asia Pacific Technology Network co-hosted a seminar with Chatham House last week on ““The Venture Capital scene in India and China“.
I was on the panel with Matt Rothman, Managing Partner of Hemisphere Capital, Sumit K Majumdar, Professor of Technology Strategy, University of Texas at Dallas and William Gillespie, Director and International Counsel, Tiger Capital Partners.
I shared some slides (here: APTN India China slides) at the beginning of the session focusing on Investments in India and highlighting the key differences between India and China.
Some of the points that came up during the discussion were:
- A direct comparison between India and China does not make much sense as India is probably a decade behind China (see e.g. this chart from IBEF )
- In China, there are now signs of IP-based investments happening (see e.g. Verisilicon)
- In India, this is yet to happen and most of the money is still going into private equity deals and PIPEs
- Exit environment and clarity on regulatory issues are two of India’s strong points
- However, in both these economies, seed-stage funding is almost non-existent
The funding gap at seed-stage is something I worry about a lot. It is not just a matter of financial resources either – there is a dire need for mentoring skills, advice and experienced managers who know how to scale businesses and expand across geographies. In India, an effort has been made in this direction by the Band of Angels. This is welcome but probably not enough.
We are yet to see experienced managers from large enterprises or those who have worked in start-ups/tech companies abroad making the transition to start-ups in India. Hopefully the situation will change before long.
I am not personally aware of any angel network in China but I am almost certain that it exists – at least at an informal level. In the next few months, I will try and find out more about this.
My take on “Life as a VC” circa early ’00s: Life as a VC.
Originally prepared for a class at London Business School in 2002.
Have a look to get a sense of what it was like “back then, in the good ol’ days” – some of the points still resonate…and while at it, you may find this list of 10 pointers to an investment bubble entertaining.
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to discuss some new ideas in “payments” with a small, bright team from Amex.
Here are the slides I used as a backdrop to the discussion: