Sachin Dev Duggal and Saurabh Pradeep Dhoot, Founders, Nivio : The next evolution in Computing

17th Sep 2010
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“Cloud Computing-The next evolution in Computing”

Cloud Computing is the next big leap in the computing world. For the uninitiated Wikipedia defines Cloud Computing as “Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand, like the electricity grid.”

The concept is a revolution that will have effects on many sectors, and industries that are computer reliant. Sachin Dev Duggal and Saurabh Pradeep Dhoot are two individuals who are at the forefront of this revolution in India. Their venture Nivio promises to save time and money for those with computers remaining consumer friendly throughout.

We found out more on Cloud Computing and Nivio from Sachin who was gracious enough to answer our questions…

What form of cloud computing is your company “nivio” bringing to India ?

nivio is a World Economic Forum - Technology Pioneer (2009) and a global cloud-computing innovator; with a unique vision of saving time and money by removing computing constraints and providing ubiquitous access everywhere.

Ultimately nivio see’s the computing world from the eye of the consumer – the interest is only in the software / content as ultimately that is the only thing consumable as such. With that in mind, its single-minded laser light focus remains on renting software and content to people with and without a windows machine. This could be a yet-to-be connected consumer or a power-user user just needing the app or even a non-Windows user wanting to use PC Apps on demand.

nivio’s flagship service is the world’s first Windows-based Online Desktop that enable customers to access a personal virtual desktop from any device connected to the internet. The nDesktop Service provides unrestricted storage and power, wherever you are with the ability to rent original and updated software on a rental (pay as you go) basis; liberating users from the traditional constraints of computing.

Founded in 2004 by Sachin Dev Duggal and Saurabh Pradeep Dhoot, nivio is determined to change the complicated and expensive computing ecosystem of today.

What is the scope of the services that the cloud computing segment offers?

nivio falls under the newly deciphered Cloud Computing segment. It is predicted that India’s cloud computing market alone will be worth around $1 billion over the next five years, from nearly $110 million currently. SaaS will touch $650 million in revenues by 2015, as per a recent report by research firm Zinnov Management Consulting.

Further, according to Gartner, global cloud services revenue is expected to expected to grow by 16.6% to achieve revenues of $68.3 billion in 2010 and reach $148.8 billion by 2014. Currently, nivio has 150,000 registered users around the world and the numbers would see an exponential growth in the years to come with cloud being a technology which would change the complicated and expensive IT ecosystem.

Where did you find the seed capital for your company?

We had initial investments from the Deutsche Bank Pension fund, and private investors from  Goldman Sachs, UniCredit and World Bank of Canada, Bank of Mom J and some of our savings.

What has been the growth trajectory of your company?

Since inception, we have invested extensively in research and development to create the most appropriate products for our customers. We have focused on creating strategic alliances and developing the best technology and software.

We have just less than 100 employees presently across our three locations in UK, India and Australia

We have grown steadily every year – this year its been exponential already.

What makes nivio different from all the other cloud computing companies out there?

Fundamentally – nivio is different from the mindfield of “cloud computing” companies because it covers a wide area of SMB / Consumer Computing offerings from storage to windows from the sky to an Appstore and a portfolio of low cost partner devices. Its biggest strategic benefit is to be able to provide all of these through a single Window…

Ultimately our vision is to connect everyone to software and content irrelevant of economics; our world first Windows-based Online Desktop was launched by nivio to enable customers to access a personal virtual desktop from any device connected to the internet and provide unrestricted storage and power, ability to rent original updated software and more.

In addition we are developing our product for mass market use and so our user experience throughout nivio will be starkly differentiated as an end user brand. We are obsessed about our customer and fanatical about our brand value… we are a company driven by a strong belief in our core value system

We partner with great brands such as Airtel, Microsoft and Intel to develop our roadmap, our working partners include various hardware organizations that help us develop appropriate products based on market needs.

Our online desktop and application rental services are directly available to consumer and are retailed through our own network as well as strategic partners like Airtel.

What are your aims for the future of the business?

Sachin

We aim to be a global organization with resources across the world. We are also launching the upgraded versions of nivio - 2.0 and 2.5 and are looking out for strategic alliances that will help us enhance our offerings and spread our market reach.When did you start to shun the 9-to-5 drudgery for the life of an entrepreneur ?

In life you meet the comfortables and the always-uncomfortables; I would firmly categorise myself in the second bucket – questioning the status quo and challenging the norms.  That coupled with an almost heart-linked obsession with wanting to educate children left only one option. After all, a young adult with acute fixation on education, an incessant need to question/think and an inner belief that nothing is impossible leads to entrepreneurship as a natural line.

At 14, I started my first computer business whilst also working with the United Nations where I helped to write the compendium of youth rights before the completion of my first degree from Imperial College. At the UN I learnt about the great disparity that exists in our world today… My only job was at Deutsche Bank at the age of 17 (quite fortuitous and lucky!), where I stayed for 6 years looking at everything from trading to innovation.

It was in 2004 that I faced one of those Eureka Light bulb moments and instantly rang my best friend (today more like my younger brother), Saurabh Dhoot, and the rest.. as they say… is a part of history!

What were the biggest challenges that you and nivio have faced?

Gosh where to start – there were so many… for one – how on earth do you explain to someone that a trillion dollar industry is coming to an end and that you have a possible solution for what it will become..

From there everything seemed relatively easier – raising US$8m was no joke, negotiating our first strategic partner investment was a nightmare and getting our first operator partnership took longer than a baby does to be born from conception.

The challenge today remains to demystify cloud computing and make it uncomplicated; end consumers were never clear on how cloud as a technology could change their lives. In our own words, the challenge was to bring cloud down to the earth and make it accessible to the common man. When we launched, cloud was largely unknown and it was important to make people understand this concept to create a market for nivio.

We worked with our strategic partners to spread positive awareness about the concept of cloud computing and its benefits. Soon the technology gained acceptance in India and many companies started venturing in the category. Today, cloud computing is one of the most spoken about technology in the IT world and even in India and we’re proud to have pioneered it.

What do you think is the real challenge for an entrepreneur in India?

Indian entrepreneurs by providence are exposed to varied set of customers with very distinct opinions, preferences and patterns. It is a challenge to understand these customers and create the relevant product /market the company.

India, for tech is both a great sourcing ground but also a tough place to build deep IP and understand elements such as user interface. Im confident this will change over time (we are seeing this already!)

What has been the proudest moment for you at Nivio?

That our customers write to us and tell us we changed their lives and the day we launched our first pilot kiosks which allowed village kids to experience the internet and we saw their eyes light up; the day we agreed to launch a pilot with Her Majesty Queen Rania in Jordan for the Jordan Education Initiative.

Oh and getting the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer in 2009 was not too bad either!  The industry knows us today and we are distinguished as a pioneer. Having said that, this is still a beginning for us and there are several milestones to cross for nivio.

Personally, Saurabh and I felt proud to represent India as the youngest attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos and the youngest in WEF Davos history to win the Technology Pioneers of 2009, award.

I have been fortunate to also be the Youth President of the National Computer and Electronics Committee of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India and have won awards such as PriceWaterhouseCoopers Leader of Tomorrow, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, the BBC Young Asian achiever of the Year and UNEP Global 500 Youth Award.

What is your vision for your organization for the coming 2 years?

When we started nivio, it was with a vision of educating a 100 million children by making computing accessible and affordable. Our efforts in the next 2 years will aim to bridge this digital divide.

We are constantly innovating at nivio and keep finding ways to deliver a rich experience at affordable costs. nivio is also set to introduce a host of products and services in the days to come, promising to change the way users compute using the cloud.

Yourstory wishes the Dynamic duo of Sachin Dev Duggal and Saurabh Pradeep Dhoot much success with Nivio and hopes they reach all their goals very soon… We believe that Cloud computing is the future and Nivio will be the ones to bring it to us…

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