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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Change is the only Constant

Pradeep Kar
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Pradeep Kar
After my MBA I?started my career with Wipro Infotech selling computers for a princely salary of Rs 2350 per month. I was always a creative person and saw an interesting advertisement to join a start team to set up a computer retail chain called Computer Point in 1985. From there I was fortunate to be part of the team that’s set up Sonata Software for the same owners of Computer Point. I was in my late 20’s and did not want to get constrained in a job besides I always felt that I had potential to do more as well as earn more. And I had always believed in the saying, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’. So in 1989 I started Microland, as a network Integration Company.

Microland pioneered networking in India in the early ‘90s and had introduced several global technology brands like Compaq, Cisco, SynOptics, and Netscape amongst several others into India.

A lot has changed since we started our business in 1989. For one, custom duty on hardware then was 255 percent, and today it is in the 10 percent range. Today the opportunity is huge; there is an existing ecosystem of venture capital/private equity, mentorship, talent and consultants/advisors available. But back then when we started, the market itself was limited, and venture capital had yet not emerged. We were very fortunate to have got equity infusion from the State Bank of India Capital Markets which helped us build the business. two years later, ICICI Ventures (then called TDICI) bought out SBI Capital Markets and became investors of Microland. In 1996 Microland had planned to make a public offering then the MS Shoes scam broke out and we decided to do a private placement with some leading institutions at the same valuation. Hence, stayed as a private company, which we still are.

We grew our business very rapidly and crossed the Rs 150+ crore mark in revenues under eight years. We were a fairly successful company in the networking hardware business and had received several awards and had national recognition for our success. We build networks for banks (as many as 18 of them at a point of time), stock exchanges, leading hotels and several corporations.

In the later part of the ‘90s, the industry was going through a structural shift. Hardware warranties became three years from one year. International technology companies opened offices in India and started the policy of multi distribution. The internet economy started opening up.


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