I have known Manish Dalal for over a year. In my mind whenever the group of angel investors at Mumbai Angels is evaluating a sufficiently complex technology piece, it turns to Manish for inputs on tech due diligence. And that should come as no surprise given Manish’s background. He is the India Country Head for Verisign, and in the past has played many senior roles at Yahoo and Motorola among others. Today Manish shared his thoughts with StartUp Gang about the tech startup space in India, and the following are his thoughts.
In the Words of Manish Dalal
My primary exposure to the early stage ecosystem has been as an angel investor for the past year and half. In addition, I am mentoring and advising several startups on a wide variety of platforms.
Here’s How the Tech Startups in India Are Different From Those in the US
Though there are exceptions to every rule, I have found that tech startups in India are primarily being founded by business-oriented founders, while in the Valley we find many startups coming from hard core tech people — people who might, for instance have a PhD in technology niches. I find this rigorous tech approach missing in Indian startups. As a result, I find it easy to perform tech due diligence on Indian startups as the technology tends to be pretty restricted. Evaluating unique and revolutionary technology would have been much more challenging, but I do not come across too many of those in India.
The Low Hanging Fruits in India Are Probably the Cause
The domestic market in India still has a lot of opportunities that are akin to low-hanging fruit. This might be the reason that many tech startups here try to seek opportunities in gaps that they find in the marketplace. But I wish that we could have focused on technology and come out with solutions that are created with the global audience in mind.
India Can Present a Locational Disadvantages for Serious Tech Businesses
Invariably, what we find is that the biggest market for tech startups tends to be in the US. Though the Internet has made discoverability of tech companies pretty easy, there is still no substitute for person-to-person contact with customers, brands, and investors. This also explains why some companies that raise money open shop in the US, while retaining their development work in India.
But There Are Winners in India, Of Course!
Two names that come to mind are Rolocule and Vliv. Rolocule is a Pune based mobile gaming company (Disclaimer: Manish Dalal as well as Ajeet Khurana are investors) that has developed the Rolomotion technology. This gaming technology is truly path breaking and there is no equivalent anywhere. I am impressed by what they have done. Likewise, Vliv has come up with the way that brands can use social videos to engage with their audiences. Their technology is pretty path breaking too. But as mentioned earlier, Rolocule and Vliv would benefit significantly from a US presence.
You can get in touch with Manish Dalal on LinkedIn. We hope to see much more of Manish around StartUp Gang.