Now, Microsoft to fuel Indian tech start-ups

By siliconindia staff writer   |   Friday, 22 October 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Microsoft will work closely with leading venture capital firms to arrange funding for domestic software start-up firms. Besides helping to infuse funds in local companies, Microsoft plans to provide guidance to domestic software product companies on IPR issues and marketing.

The company expects to create an ecosystem of partners on its platform and most of the goodies will be for companies working on Microsoft technologies. “We will use connections with VCs to help match Indian companies with VCs with deep pockets,” says Ravi Venkatesan, chairman, Microsoft India.

Microsoft’s decision to help infuse funds in local companies comes close on the heels of Cisco’s launch of its VC arm in India. Companies like Intel are already investing in domestic firms, with nearly 50% of Intel Capital’s annual ’04 investment corpus tipped to flow into companies outside the US in Intel’s fastest growing emerging markets — Mexico, India, China, Russia and Brazil.

As the domestic IT market is on a growth path, Microsoft plans to launch a slew of initiatives, besides growing its ecosystem of software developers. The company has recently announced plans of its no-frills, cheaper version of Windows and is also seeing a series of high-profile executives visiting India.

The idea is to give them a touch-and-feel of India, including a first-hand PC buying experience in big stores, as well as unbranded offerings at Nehru Place in Delhi and a visit to Dharavi in Mumbai and Jama Masjid in Delhi.

Mr Venkatesan is believed to have visited Redmond two months back to meet Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and present a new strategy roadmap, as the software giant realigns its domestic operations to provide a common face to its four business units in the country.

Microsoft has identified six major tasks to develop the domestic market. Besides creating a local software ecosystem in India, it is aiming at spreading base to more people and “be relevant to a billion Indians.”

The strategy map includes consumer initiatives and plans for enterprise customers and how to scale up the organisation.

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