About six months back I had written a cautiously optimistic post about the product ecosystem in India. Slowly but surely things seem to be getting better.
A DEMO style conference for Indian startups to showcase their products now exists. In fact, Proto.in is having its
3rd 2nd session in Chennai in July (check out their Jan session here). There is also an Indian version of TechCrunch; it just happens to be called Webyantra! Then there is Venture Intelligence which is a take off on VentureWire.
There is now even cheap ready-to-move-in type space at some of the Incubation Centers. In Bangalore you can go to STPI, NSR cell at IIM, or IISc.
What’s still not improved dramatically is the network of specialized firms that support a product ecosystem. While one can get IP, corporate legal affairs and accounting help easily (at least in Bangalore), it’s still difficult to get hold of a good user design firm (this is an opportunity for NID graduates). Hardware and plastic prototyping is even harder to do.
If you have a software product, you can get your version 1.0 developed by the OPD firms like Proteans, etc. While there are obvious tradeoffs in this, it is an option worth considering.
As I wrote in late February the VC scene is also developing. VC investments doubled in 2006. The balance is also shifting to more India-out deals in preference to cross-border deals. But more needs to be done, especially, with regard to angel investing. Also, I remain worried that enough is not being done to confront the cultural gravity of IT services firms despite the growth in entrepreneurship education.
In Feb 2006, I had made 5 recommendations in a NASSCOM discussion paper about catalyzing product ecosystem in India. Here is what I had suggested…
- NASSCOM to take leadership to separate out the kaizen ecosystem from the Silicon Valley ecosystem, so that each may develop and thrive in its own right.
- NASSCOM and TiE to join in a project to grow the number of product managers, product architects and product release managers, by getting universities involved in the process and by nurturing special communities for practitioners.
- NASSCOM can launch a mission to multiply TeNeT type partnerships across the country.
- Industry collaborates with academic institutions, regulatory bodies and government agencies to create standards for emerging local markets
- NASSCOM lobbies to open up defense related technology work for local companies
As you can see much work remains to be done.
(hat tip to Ranga Raj for post idea)