Building Global Brands

Someone recently asked me if there’s any Indian brand known globally. Surprisingly, I couldn’t think of any even though India is a host to many a billionaires. A cursory look at the names of Indian billionaires indicates that they belong to mostly IT, Pharma, FS, RE and Natural Resources. We mostly build services companies in IT and generic companies in Pharma. Most of the financial services companies cater only to the Indian market. It might be too much to expect global brands in Real Estate and natural resource exploitation.

Even our healthcare companies are being taken over by companies from the far east. I always thought that we had great doctors in India and also knew Indian doctors are sought after in both the US and the UK. Then why are we not able to build healthcare organisations on a global scale?

My understanding of this phenomenon is that the political rhetoric, government policies and the mainstream media suffer from a socialist mindset. Indians maintain double standards as they behave as if capitalists in private and socialists in public. This divide paralyses the policy framework and tends to totally skew towards promoting small and medium business enterprises.

The other phenomenon is that the focus of our entrepreneurs has been to identify an opportunity to provide a solution to an existing problem by way of better quality, cost, delivery and service. It rarely seen that someone comes with any innovative new category of products or solutions. Even in the case of solving existing problems, they are not able to scale up to global standards.

For the last 35 years, I have been watching the development of professional services firms in India closely. There are many Indian firms which have been in existence for almost 100 years , but not even a single Indian firm could be seen with in the top 10 global firms. Indians might be at the top-level management or in the global leadership roles in these firms.

I would like t know your views on this topic.
Write to me at [email protected]

I am very keen to see TiE Today becoming the voice of entrepreneurial debate and I urge all of you to write and express your views. We can bring about awareness to the entrepreneurs on opportunities and challenges of the Indian market.

The Curious Entrepreneur

It was my first time visit to TiE Hyderabad office in recent times. Team TiE Hyderabad is a cozy family of happy members. They received me with warmth. Office is highly functional and they work as a single unit helping each other. That is the beauty and the power of lean teams.

Phani Pattamatta, our new ED of TiE Hyderabad, got intrigued by a recent article about curiosity. He asked Kartik, offshore partner for TiE Philadelphia, to build a concept on curiosity and connect it with entrepreneurship. Three of us have quickly gone to the drawing board and this is how we evolved it.

1) Curiosity + Imagination = Creativity.
Curiosity is the strong desire to know or learn something. An entrepreneurial mindset needs various triggers to be curious about an unmet need. If you ask any entrepreneur about the reason why he picked a particular problem, his answer would probably land on one of these five triggers.
1) I was not happy with the status quo. I was frustrated with the highly ineffective and inefficient solution.
2) I was turned off when the seller has more information than the buyer. Inefficiency of information asymmetry.
3) If John Doe I know can become an entrepreneur, why not me?
4) Someone dear to me battled his life and I wanted to do something about it.
5) I couldn’t take a no.

Once one of these emotion-driven triggers make you curious on why, you start exploring various options in the mind. Here comes the play of imagination. Imagination is about forming mental images. Curiosity may be seen in most of the animals but humans are probably the only species with the blessing of imagination. Emotional trigger leads to curiosity. Curiosity leads to imagination. Together, they lead to creativity.

2) Creativity + Action = Innovation
When I asked former Chief Design Officer of Disney about the difference between creativity and innovation, he replied that creativity is about thinking and innovation is about doing. When you follow a creative idea with an action, you become innovative.

3) Innovation + Customer = Entrepreneur
Not every innovator is an entrepreneur, but converse is true. Even if there is a fabulous innovation, as a consequence of a great idea coupled with creativity. If it cannot find its paying customers, has very low chance of becoming a successful enterprise. Only if your great idea is put to action to build an innovative solution or a product that caters to multiple customers out there, you will become an entrepreneur.

Having customers alone also may not automatically make you successful. The bottom line of healthy profits with positive cash flows is a key to attract more investments to scale the enterprise.

It all starts with a condition or a situation that leads to some kind of internal emotional unrest. This will generate curiosity and one question leads to the other. Add the power of imagination to it and you become creative. Add action to your creativity, an innovative solution emerges. Add the spin of customers to this innovation, you will transform into a real entrepreneur. This when the real fun starts, may this tribe grow.

Manohar Reddy – founder of Feuji, is a successful serial entrepreneur with global presence. With his cheerful presence, he readily connects with employees, customers, partners and communities alike. He believes in empowering teams and giving them enough ammunition to fire all the cylinders.

Before finding his sweet spot in the business of IT services, Manohar experimented his luck with mushroom farming, solar lanterns and film distribution. His real turning point in his entrepreneurial journey happened when he helped Sekhar Kammula in post-production and distribution of his first movie, “Dollar Dreams” in 2000, right after he landed in the US in search of his own dollar dreams.

Manohar’s empire: Founder of Feuji || 200+ employees || 20 clients || 5 countries || Goal:   $50 million company in 5 years.

Manohar’s family:
Wife: Lakshmi || Pillar of his family
Daughter: Sindhu || 11th Grade || Visual Arts
Son: Sashank|| Student at Manchester University, UK || Football player

My First venture
After my engineering, I started my career as an R&D engineer in a solar photovoltaics company. After 1.5 years, I quit that job and started mushroom farming in 1993 with Rs. 25,000 as my capital. My happiest moment was when I saw the first bloom of mushrooms. Back in 1993, mushroom farming was the ‘in thing’. But these mushrooms were premium priced and we couldn’t sell them. There wasn’t a market in those days hence we shut the business down.

Second Venture
Then I joined another solar firm as a Customer Support engineer and travelled south India installing and commissioning solar power plants. After working for one year as an employee, I got back to my entrepreneurial journey in 1995 and started Solensys – a solar lantern trading company. I used to make Rs.300 per lantern. I didn’t have much financial but still sold about 150 lanterns. That’s when I met Harish Hande – a social impact leader. I merged my business with his social startup , Selco and took their franchise for AP.

We did try-buy installs of solar lighting. Syndicate bank supported us with the necessary loans. I realized, I got very little returns after putting in lots of efforts. I took personal loans for the franchise business and came to a realization that solar wouldn’t cut which paved my way out of Selco.

Third venture with Sekhar Kammula
I had co-produced Dollar Dreams along with Sekhar Kammula earlier hence we took this project forward. The shooting finished in just 15 days in March 1997. I helped Shekar with the post-production and distribution. I took the movie to Bombay and promoted the movie to all the studios. 20th Century Fox released the movie and channel V partnered with us to promote our movie pan India.

Back to employment
During 1997-2000, I dabbled with IT and worked briefly with Center for Energy Technology, Osmania University.

Off to USA
I went to USA as an engagement manager in 2000 for a small boutique IT consulting firm in Dallas.  The company got acquired in 3 years and I declined the offer from the buyer company.

Gallop Technologies
I started Gallop Technologies in November 2003. Gallop got acquired in 2013.  By then, we had become the largest automation testing partner for HP. We launched TAAS, Testing as a service. At one point, we developed a tool called WinQuick – a migration platform from Winrunner to QTP. We had an exclusive global contract with HP. HP sold our migration platform to their large enterprise customers. The idea was to align with a market leader and create a need for this partner to sell our product in order to increase their market share. Our tool converted 92% of the Winrunner code automatically. We had outsmarted several large IT players in those days.  CSS Corp, that had 2000 employees was one of our implementation partners.  We were probably, the largest boutique testing services company in USA

We got acquired by a public listed entity in 2013. One of the conditions that I had ensured during the acquisition, was to be relieved from the transition within 60 days.

Back to India

  • I took a break for two years from 2013 to 2015. During this time,
  • I built a beautiful farm house inspired from Kerala’s architecture where I plan to retire.
  • I went to my home town, adopted my village S.Uppalapadu under the Smart Village Program and built a state of the art skill development center, education center and health care center.  We took up several initiatives under the Smart village program including 20 non-negotiable development aspects defined by Govt. of India.
  • These included creating a database of the village population, clean water, un interrupted power supply, internal and external roads, drainage, building lavatories for all, greenery in the village, creating a public grievance address system, soil testing for the cultivated lands, solid waste management system, education for all children under 15, addressing malnutrition, women empowerment, skill development programs for youth, awareness campaigns about swach Bharat, helping micro enterprises with bank loans, a fully functional primary health center and e-seva center with digital connectivity.
  • I created a seed fund worth $1 million and utilized Govt. schemes to match these funds.  The whole village came together and contributed Rs 50 lakhs for the development fund and that made them true partners in the development process. Till date we spent 13 crores (With Govt, Public and Private partnership) in transforming the village into probably the first smart village in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

Story of Feuji
Key team members from Gallop started a new company and brought me in. That is Feuji. It had already been three years now and I was more of an enabler and cheer leader than a CEO. I believed my job was to set the direction, support with resources and empower the team so that they can operate with freedom and unleash their potential. We are into cloud CRM, bid management and supply chain management services.

I leverage startups in India who are specialized in niche areas and leverage their IP globally. It is a win-win for both the parties as these startups don’t have the ability to reach out to the US and the European markets. I invested in few startups of which one dealt with the Supply chain space. Today Feuji works with large enterprises across the globe. We are head quartered in Dallas, Texas with global teams working in Sofia, Chennai and Costa Rica. We partnered with Shipley Associates to create world class bid management and proposal writing teams in Bucharest, Costa Rica and Hyderabad. We intend to build/ acquire IP in supply chain space.

Circle of life
I was born in S.Uppalapadu a village in Kadapa district. As a tribute to my parents I wanted to do something for this village and the region. I started with building a children’s park, burial ground and funding a temple.

As we came up with the comprehensive development charter for the village, Our Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi started the smart village scheme. We grabbed on the opportunity as the government was our ally. We formed a passionate village development committee of 10 youngsters. We even included the naysayers.

How we got the buy-in from my villagers
We got the buy-in slowly. When we were ready to inaugurate the skill development center and dedicate it to the public, the village head asked me to invite all the 720 families (population of 3000).  It was a life changing experience.  I realized, 90% of the people are good at heart, live a simple life and try their best for their kids. I can’t forget the warmth they had shown when I explained that the building was built for them. I got hooked on!

Rest is history:
We adopted a local school, appointed teachers from Teach for India. The school strength went up from 55 to 138. We trained several B.Tech graduates from the region and placed them in multinational companies.

How I got government on board
I requested and convinced my college senior Mr. K. Vijayanand, IAS now Principal Secretary, Information Technology, AP Govt. to adopt my village as a partner. I sought his support as I knew people might treat me as an NRI and may not take me seriously, especially in the govt. offices.  For example, If say I tried to reach out to our collector for help, there would be a chance that he might not respond but when Mr. Vijayanand called things moved fast.  Funding is only one part of the story, we needed participation from the govt. officials, villagers, and private people who could fund.  We created and documented a successful PPP model for adoption and development of a model village that could be replicated.

We even created cost models for different aspects of transformation of a village. We started organized festivals and events in the village to bring people together. Vijayanand was the partner in the forefront along with a great team on the ground who made it possible. I was mostly in the backend. We invited all the local leaders and politicians to launch any new programs. This is how we made them feel inclusive. They liked being in the forefront and became our ambassadors for the mission.

This was the first time, the village populous contributed to anything other than temples. They took ownership in the development and hence we moved on from earning their trust to the populous championing these initiatives on their own. After all it belonged to them.

Summary: S.Uppalapadu is now ready to be declared as the first Smart village in Andhra Pradesh. My secret sauce is building CXO relationships with large companies.

Bhat) Where did you learn business strategy?
Manohar) Bootstrapping taught me how to prioritize. I brought in big guys on board to scale the business faster.

Bhat) How did you take care of your core team?
Manohar) I shared good portion of my wealth with my team members during Gallop exit. I have to give a lot of credit to my team for all the wins we had during our journey. Our Core values define our culture.

Wow the customer | Simpler is better | Walk the talk | Spread the cheer | Pay it forward

Bhat) What transformed you to be a giver?
Manohar) I was an ignorant and pampered as the eldest kid in the family. I realized and valued the hardship my parents went through when I started earning.  We had hard times growing up, as much as my grandfather was well off and was head of several villages at one point.

Dale Carnegie, Stephen Covey and Napoleon Hill’s books influenced me during my colleage days. I used to listen ‘I believe, I can fly’ song by R.Kelly during my early days of entrepreneurship.

Rapid fire
Bhat) Describe yourself in three words
Manohar) James Dean’s quote “Dream as if you live forever and live as if you die today.” is my mantra.

Bhat) What would be your lifelong dream?
Manohar) Impact 100,000 lives during my life time.

Bhat) If you are stranded in an island, what are the two things do you want with you?
Manohar) Music instrument and a knife.

Bhat) What compliments people give you?
Manohar) I am a fun guy to be around and people around me are happy.

Bhat) What are you most proud of?
Manohar) my kids

Bhat) Leader or follower?
Manohar) Leader

Bhat) Happiness?
Manohar) Living in the moment.

Bhat) Four things I want to change about myself
Manohar) 1) Procrastination 2) Sleeping 3) Diet 4) Financial discipline

Bhat) If you were to do it all over, what do you do?
Manohar) I have no complaints with my current life, so I’ll do the same, probably spend more time with family this time. I wish, I spent more time as my kids were growing up.

Bhat) What will you never do?
Manohar) Compromising on principles for material gains.

Bhat) What do you fear the most?
Manohar) I don’t know. May be, Losing close people.

Bhat) What’s the next big thing?
Manohar) Artificial Intelligence. I wonder, what would this world become cause of the possibilities attached with AI?

Bhat) What frustrates you?
Manohar) Nothing much besides matters at business sometimes. Otherwise, I count my blessings and thank god for the wonderful family, the journey and the opportunity to participate and experience the joy in making a difference in the community.

Bhat) What do you do off work?
Manohar) Poker, Beer, Golf, Travel, good time with friends and family.

Bhat) What would you like to do more?
Manohar) Spend quality time with family. Drive with kids. Walk with wife.

Bhat) Secret sauce of entrepreneurial success?
Manohar) Empowering teams. Trusting them. Equip them with resources. I love to be a mentor than a driver.

Bhat) What is TiE for you?
Manohar) Fostering entrepreneurship fits well with my philosophy. I made good friends and I have learnt many things from fellow TiE charter members.  We formed a fun group that celebrates with no specific reason.

Bhat) Message to a budding entrepreneur?
Manohar) Go all out and give your best. In the end, every bit of the journey is worthwhile.

Create wealth. Share some of it with the family, team and community as what you give will give you more joy than what you keep. Written by Bhat Dittakavi of Variance.AI on “Manohar Reddy Mayaluri” on 15 March 2018 as part of TiE Today Series, a TiE Hyderabad initiative

One on one with Sri Sri
Updated Feb 25, 2018

I thank Sridhar Reddy, founder of CtrlS, for inviting me for the inauguration of his new data centre in Bangalore last week. It is where I got an opportunity to participate in a session by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Just few days ago, I have witnessed Sadhguru giving a talk at NASSCOM conference. Now Gurudev. Sri Sri, a humanitarian and an ambassador of peace and human values, has transformed millions of people from 159 countries through his breathing technique called Sudarsana Kriya that he discovered in 1981. Sri Sri has been conferred with Columbia’s highest civilian award in 2015 for his contribution to ending the longest armed conflict in the region.

Sri Sri is an awardee of Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award.

“He showed us meditation of the silence, tools to have more empathy and power to know who we really are.” -a disciple

“Know who you really are. Inner peace brings belongingness.” -Sri Sri

Sri Sri walked in to the hall at Crown Plaza peacefully. Unlike Sadhguru, he didn’t say any prayer and jumped right into the question and answer session.

Sridhar) We are seeing a major disruption in the current technology. How do we deal with it? How do we utilize and how do we innovate?
Sri Sri) You are from IT. You know what IT stands for us? Indian Transformation. We are talking about clouds with clear minds I guess. Let us get on to the challenges we have in life. As we grow older we want to avoid challenges. Look back on your younger life. What was the state of your mind then? You wanted to take up challenges. You wanted to walk or ride cycle though you got buses and other means of transport. As youth we took on challenges such as climbing hills. Why not now?

There is this instinct of accepting challenge in all of us. Somewhere along our life’s journey, we seem to let go off this virtue we had. At this juncture where we face disruptions and crisis’, invoke this element we possessed when we were young. Once this happens, everything will fall in place.

This requires clarity. For clarity, we need to be out of stress. Stress is caused by having too much to do in too little time and no energy. We can’t change time but we can surely increase our energy levels. There are various methods to increase our energies. Coffee is a refreshment. Breathing fresh air or going for a long walk with good breathing is also a refreshment.

We consume 1.5 kg food and 2.5 litres of liquids daily. Do you know how much air we consume daily? 10,000 litres. Pulmonologists say 90% of our nutrition comes from the air. When we are stressed out, we need to go for breathing exercises. Once the mind settles down from the cloudy state, the intuitive ability to take up challenges comes to play which in turn brings success.

Sridhar) What shall we do when there is Disruption?
Sri Sri) Look at a tree and you get an answer. Come autumn, it shuts the leaves. Come spring new leaves come. Technologies come and go. Use this as a challenge. R&D of every unit must be a driving engine. Strong R&D works with Sharpness, mindfulness and creativity. Stress doesn’t bring creativity. A stress-free atmosphere and encouragement for R&D is important.

When you produce something that is outdated in the market, there will be losses. Our Planet being so big, there’s a market somewhere for everything you produce. One needs to take such an outdated product to rural India to find a market.

Benefits of Disruption: 
• It helps you move towards the rural areas.
• It poses a challenge to improve and get better.

When people say impossible, I chase it. Once I invited musicians and dancers, many teachers said we can’t get thousand students dance together. As an educationist, teachers have their own way of schooling students. Yet we got 1000 dancers to dance in rhythm. We got 1001 sitar players from different masters to perform. They did it with very little practice.

Your intention plays important role in achieving things. There are three things.
1. Intention.
2. Attention.
3. Manifestation.

Sridhar) I read your book. Innovation is doing something every day differently. Please talk about balance between innovation and inertia?
Sri Sri) You don’t need to balance them. You raise it to a point where the energy comes down and translates to inertia automatically.

Bhat) We have state-of-art in technology. What is state-of-the-art for mind?
Sri Sri) Siddhi. Perfection.

Bhat) I will give you some buzzwords from data centre technologies. Please give your meaning to them from the spiritual side?

Bhat) Information
Sri Sri) Available everywhere

Bhat) Green
Sri Sri) All around us

Bhat) Redundancy
Sri Sri) Much needed

Bhat) Energy
Sri Sri) Within us

Bhat) Recovery
Sri Sri) That we go through every night

Bhat) Uptime
Sri Sri) Time up 🙂

CIO) What is life? What’s my purpose?
Sri Sri) The one who knows the answer won’t tell you. The one who tells the answer doesn’t know. This is the question you have to ask yourself again and again. The fact that you are asking this question means you are mature and you are a seeker. This is the sign of maturity.

Sridhar) What is this concept of God?
Sri Sri) GOD is an abbreviation of 1) G for Generator 2) O for Operator and 3) D for Destroyer. A young boy asked his father who is God? The father took the boy outside their house and asked ‘what do you think was here before we built this house?’, He said Space. ‘Once the house is destroyed what will be there?’ He said Space. That from which everything comes and everything dissolves is God. That is Brahman. It is that space which is God. Mind is space and consciousness.

Three qualities of God.
 1. Conscious.

2. Blissful.
3. All over.

We call it “Sachchidananda which is all over.” Read quantum physics. The whole universe is made up of one vibration. There is a connection between our spirituality and quantum physics. The topmost nuclear scientist told us once “I studied materials for forty years only to discover it doesn’t exist”.

God is love, beauty and truth. In your simplest truth of awareness, you are the beauty that you see in kids. This is the godliness. All of this is a part of our consciousness. There is God sleeping in every human being.

Doing suprabhatam for God looks absurd. In the initial minutes of our day, humanness wakes up. When human wakes up he discovers it.

Sridhar) What is Sudarsana Kriya?
Sri Sri) When someone innovates we don’t know where it comes from. I started doing this Kriya thirty-seven years ago in Shivmoga. Few doctors and engineers came and I started teaching them. We got 57 different workshops around this now. Many breathing techniques for different sections of society. We have a program for kids to bring in their intuition. Kids can see blindfolded and write. It is a revolution in the field of education. Kids could use their sixth sense. We have many such programs. There’s no limit to knowledge.

Sridhar) How do you get millions of devotees?
Sri Sri) Inspiration motivates not money alone. People take it up as their own passion. If they are directed towards something good for society, we can achieve a lot. If you are free from stress, you have more energy. If you die as a millionaire, your kids may fight over. Contribute so you get the joy of satisfaction, that makes all the difference.

A sample of a Media & Entertainment Accelerator is Anthill Studio has been launched in association with Suresh Productions & Celebrity Actor & Techpreneur – Rana Daggubati (Bahubali Fame)

12 Feb, 2018
Watch the Anthill Studio video
here or visit for more details

Abhijit Banerjee, Managing Partner, StratCap Corporate Advisors LLP

StratCap Corporate Advisors LLP received the “100 Top Retail Minds (India)” award by Asia Retail Congress in its 14th edition of Asia Africa GCC Retail summit held at Taj Lands End, Mumbai on 13th February 2018.

13 Feb, 2018

Accurate Developers Pvt. Ltd. spearheaded by Mr. Mitesh Kulkarni, won the “Residential Property of the year – 2018” award presented by ET Now Rise With India.

15 Feb, 2018

IT infra firm CtrlS opens datacenter in Bengaluru, to create 400 jobs in next 18 months

The company also plans to invest Rs 1,200 crore over the next three years to set up additional data centres in Hyderabad and Mumbai. The tier-4 our data centre here will provide data management and distribution networks, with 0 per cent downtime and 100 per cent redundancy. The data centre has been awarded a platinum LEED certificate by the US Green Building Council, making it the world’s first centre to receive such a recognition.

16 Feb, 2018

Mr. Syama S Peela sponsored the board meeting at Sambal (A new restaurant owned by our CM Mr. Sanjay Rao). In the morning, the cohort 3 met at the same place…
During the evening close to 30 CMs have conducted an idea sourcing (brainstorming) session at discussed the flagship event – TiE Summit.

We thanks for the support you extended, and the warmth!!!

16 Feb, 2018

Cohort 1 Comprises of

Dr. Nandita Sethi, Deepanwita Chattopadhyay, Ekta Bahl, Pradeep Mittal, Prshant Lahoti, Rajesh Pagadala, Rashida Adenwala, Ravi Chennupati, Srini Chandupatla Surapaneni Purnachandra Rao, Vijay Rangeneni, VVSN Raju

9-11 Feb, 2018

BITS Pilani’s Hyderabad Campus-Technology Business Incubator (TBI) inassociation with Codebeat hosted a two-day ​’Mega Startup Workshop’ on the ​BITS Pilani Hyderabad Campus on February 25 and 26. The grand startup carnival was designed for students, innovators, investors, startups and entrepreneurs. The workshop had a host of inspirational speakers and influencers imparting knowledge on market, investment opportunity besides stalls for innovative prototypes and technical workshops.

Kali Prasad Gadiraju, President TIE- Hyderabad addressed the students regarding TIE initiatives and how it evolved in India. He also emphasised ​on ​the importance of eco-system of incubation.

26 Feb, 2018

Org Announcement: New Executive Director joins TiE-Hyderabad team on 12th of Feb.

Phani Pattamatta, Executive Director, TiE Hyderabad
Phani, comes with a unique blend of working with large corporate, coupled with founding startups in his professional work experience spanning 25 years. His rich exposure and understanding of the challenges which face large corporates coupled with knowledge of startup needs viz. cash, customer, capacity will be very useful for our ecosystem.

Prior to joining TiE he co-founded a boutique consulting firm through which they invested in a food services startup, and is building a future-ready data science/Applied AI firm with INDIA-US-ANZ-GCC affiliations.

Most recently, he was the Regional Director at Randstad India. Also a former Country Business Head at Adecco. Initially in his career he marketed WIPRO range of IT system integration solutions for over 9 years, across different geographies.

An alum of XLRI, he studied business management, he also holds PG Dip. in Comp. Applications from Univ of Hyderabad, is a Graduate in Civil Engg. from Osmania University College, CBIT.

He is a movie enthusiast & a technophile, lives with wife and two sons in Hyderabad. Please join me in welcoming him to our TiE family and wish him the very best in this new role.

He may be reached on 90002 83338. [email protected]

-Kali Prasad, President.