Here is more proof that startups and entrepreneurs are key stake-holders of the future.
Pitney Bowes, a 90-year old $5 billion company that makes software, equipments and provides services, is looking the startup way for more reasons than one. A month ago it announced its intention to partner with NASSCOM’s 10,000 startups initiative to conduct an acceleration program.
YourStory caught up with Manish Choudhary, VP Worldwide Engineering for Pitney Bowes, to understand the details of the acceleration program and the company itself.
Knowing the company
Pitney Bowes (PB) entered India seven years ago and has offices in Noida and Pune. Manish says the company has a history of innovation, which started with its founders Pitney and Bowes who championed the stamp and franking machines. India is a key strategic technology centre for PB and is engaged in creating new technologies in location intelligence, e-commerce, GIS, data quality, data integration and customer information management.
“Though our engineering teams are working globally to create cutting edge products, we have realized that India is growing very, very fast. There is a lot of activity around the startup ecosystem in India and a lot of startup companies have made it really big in the last 5 years. It’s a change which is happening very fast and we wanted to be part of the change,” says Manish. The launch of the accelerator program is part of the collaboration that PB wants to do with Indian startups, and tap into the potential they hold.
PB is developing this accelerator program along with NASSCOM and aims to give guidance and mentorship to startup companies. PB has done such activities in the US and wanted to institutionalize something similar in India.
NASSCOM is helping PB identify startups, recruit them, plan the accelerator program and offer any other assistance that it may need in the process. “The companies that join us can eventually be leveraged for PB clients and customers in terms of technology adoption, prototyping and leveraging the talent pool that Indian startups have,” explains Manish.
The accelerator will focus on 2-3 key growth areas which are significant for PB and will operate in a space they call digital commerce. This includes location intelligence – which includes use of location, maps and demographic data to understand user behaviour. “There is a whole series of activities that can be done with location intelligence, which has tremendous potential owing to mobile phones penetration in India,” says Manish.
Second focus for the accelerator will be e-commerce, which Manish says is a PB forte – owing to the partnership they have with large e-commerce companies like eBay. The third area of digital commerce that Manish refers to is applied products in data quality and data integration. “We want to be focused around areas like mobility, big data, social, real time, dynamics, applications on location intelligence and e-commerce, because we believe that is the way the future is going and products in those areas will be successful,” he explains.
The length of the program could be anywhere between 6-9 months and would include both incubation as well as helping businesses get off the ground. PB will assist startups by providing technology, right capabilities, software, mentorship and architecture software – whatever is needed to be successful, says Manish. Anything between 5-7 startups would be chosen for the program, which will have a choice to be located in the PB offices either at Viman Nagar in Pune or Sector 62 in Noida.
Manish says they are not sure about the end result of the acceleration program and are more focused on shortlisting startups at this point. “We want to provide them with all technologies and capabilities to make them successful. If they become our loyal, valid customers and advocates of our product and technologies, then we can spread and impress our capability much better in the market,” he says. Startups participating in the program also have the option to pitch to PB for funding, however that is currently being seen as an option. The fact that these startups can be commercially and monetarily viable, have solid intellectual property, revenue model and a business model on their own is what PB desires.
Companies at all stages of growth are welcome to the accelerator says Manish, but he hopes they can attract more early stage companies to participate. “I believe many companies like Target, Coca-Cola have taken this approach and companies who have been part of the programs have done very well. We hope to replicate some of the similar successes as other MNCs,” says Manish.
If you are interested in being part of the accelerator, write to firstname.lastname@example.org