It’s time to celebrate...


View from the sidelines by Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, chief evangelist

The TechSparks hangover persists. In the heat of the moment, as soon as the winners were announced, I had an opportunity to meet Sameer Mehta (Sam), Partner, Atlas Advisory, which has invested in Sportingmindz. He was in full praise of Sanjay and Sandeep, the founders of Sportingmindz. Sam also is the Director of Mehta Hospitals, Chennai, and CEO, Medical Education, Everonn, a public company in the education space. Incidentally, Sportingmindz captured my imagination more than other TechSparks of 2010.

On August 13 at Royal Orchid as TechSparks was on, I met Pavan Mehra, CTO, ESPN, who was spotted chatting with the panelists. I was quite amused why a sports executive is showing interest in a product tech event. He said software products are quite relevant to sports. Technology is the agent of change and enabler of performance even for domains like sports. Cricket is a game that is a religion in India and uses technology in innovative ways. Sportingmindz works with the IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). They are now venturing into other sports and one of the few successful sporting companies, since 2006.

If you look at winners of TechSparks, you will find an interesting mix. ArrayShield is just taking off. But their security product is their crucial differentiator. iCreate provides banking intelligence solutions and was founded in 2006. VMukti is in the hot video conferencing space with a product that can be used for live streaming events, video conferences, and virtual classrooms. The differentiator is it works at low bandwidths. Pellucid delivers crucial medical information, such as radiology reports, from remote access to interested stakeholders like doctors, technicians, and others who have to take a call. The innovation is that you can access the reports virtually.

Sharad Sharma, talking to CNBC-TV18 Young Turks, YourStory’s partner for the event, said that the small guys taking on big players is exciting to watch and founders of such companies now will make a mark in the coming years. YourStory feels innovation and the power to innovate among techies is very strong and going by TechSparks, it only validates this hypothesis. Three cheers to all the winners! But we strongly feel that the 17 finalists also make an impressive list of innovators in the product space. Our endeavor would be to encourage these innovators and innovations. As Shradha Sharma, our founder, said to CNBC-TV18 Young Turks, we need to break the mindset that India is a services economy and encourage product tech to become an innovation economy.

Celebrating the city of Madras, now Chennai

The founding day of Madras, now Chennai, is considered to be August 22, 1639. Since 2004, a small group of people are celebrating its birth through a Madras Day. Mr. S. Muthiah, respected journalist, historian, author, and heritage preservation activist of Chennai, is over eighty years old. He leads the celebrations and what initially started as a day of celebrations now extends over a week. The website provides all the information on the various activities surrounding Madras Day. Mr. Muthiah told me, when I met him sometime back, the first enterprise in India was from Madras, which was the first modern city of India. Mr. Muthiah has authored Madras Rediscovered, which is now in its sixth edition. He has also written about the Parry Story, the famed Dare Building in the Parrys Corner housing the Murugappa Group of Companies. He has authored a book Getting India On The Move: The 150 Year Saga Of Simpsons Of Madras on the Simpsons Group of Chennai. Mr. Muthiah is the editor of Madras Musings, a fortnightly that cares of the heritage and environment of Madras.Cities are important components of entrepreneurial activity, growth, and nurturing, providing a viable ecosystem and enabling infrastructure for businesses to run successfully. We need historians like Mr. Muthiah who will tell us stories about cities and enterprises. Mr. Muthiah, who calls himself a storyteller, is taking on the onerous task of telling us stories about Madras and is actively involved in heritage conservation of the city. We salute this master storyteller on the occasion of Madras Day falling on this Sunday, August 22.