How Indian Entrepreneurs are Changing the World

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How Indian Entrepreneurs are Changing the World

  February 4, 2020

Entrepreneurs are the people who move industries forward. Without entrepreneurs, innovation would come to a halt and large, bureaucratic corporations would only make small, incremental improvements. From our point-of-view, entrepreneurs are some of the most important people in today’s society. Today we’ll present a list of just a few Indian entrepreneurs who are changing the way we live.

Azim Premji

Azim Premji, known informally as “Czar of the Indian IT Industry”, started from humble beginnings after taking over his father’s cooking oil business and turning it into one of the largest IT companies in the world. Western India Vegetable Products, which was the company his father founded, made the transition to the Information Technology field after Azim came back from Stanford University and changed the name to Wipro. There was substantial opportunity for growth when IBM was forced to leave India, leaving a large vacuum that needed to be filled.

Azim is now the second richest man in India with reported net worth of $18.3 billion dollars. Information technology is still a field ready for disruption because of the ever-improving nature of technology. Essentially, every one to two years, new and more powerful technology is introduced to consumers.

Girish Mathrubootham

Girish Mathrubootham is the founder of Freshdesk, (now Freshworks Inc.) one of the leading customer support software systems on the market today. With over 100,000 customers (including Toshiba, Honda, Sony Pictures, Cisco, and many more) Freshworks is poised to be one of the leading business software companies in the world.

Business software is one industry where startups are creating positive change because old players, like Microsoft, Oracle, and others, are slow to implement change. They provide legacy software that is years behind where it could be. These large companies take too long to adapt and therefore open up space for new companies to come in and capture market share.

Kailash Katkar

Kailash Katkar is the founder and CEO of Quick Heal Technologies LTD. Quick Heal is one of the pioneers of research and development for the IT security industry. Quick Heal offers antivirus protection for PCs, laptops, Macs, and smartphones. They also offer enterprise IT Security Solutions for larger companies that can protect an entire work force.

IT security will be one of the most important sectors needing innovation in the foreseeable future. Large scale IT hacks, like the recent Equifax breach, show just how important security can be. Over 143 million Americans had their confidential information stolen by hackers who were able to break into Equifax databases. A large scale breach like this could happen in India as well, which is why investing heavily in IT security will be a top priority in coming years.

Kunal Shah

Kunal Shah is the co-founder of Freecharge, along with Sandeep Tandon. Freecharge is an e-commerce website headquartered in Mumbai and provides online facilities to recharge any prepaid mobile phone. In April of 2015, Freecharge was acquired by Snapdeal for approximately $400 million (US) and has been referred to as the second biggest acquisition in Indian history.

Mobile technology is one industry most poised for rapid change as a large base of the indian population are now using mobile devices. Faster wireless internet will provide enormous opportunities for new companies to provide innovative products and services that a +1 billion person market will have access to.

Sridhar Vembu

Sridhar Vembu is the founder of the Zoho Corporation. He has been the CEO since 2000 and is famously known for turning down venture capital money and building his company internally. Sridhar proves that it’s possible to grow a large tech company (that can compete with companies like Oracle, Salesforce, QuickBooks, and Microsoft) without taking on large amounts of venture capital.

In business software applications, customer support is often a neglected aspect customers are forced to deal with. Zoho prides itself on being one of the only companies that puts customer service above everything else. Instead of relocating and building his company in Silicon Valley, Sridhar decided to stay in India. He built his company locally by teaching high school students how to program and then hiring them as developers himself.

Will you be an influential Entrepreneur?

If you’re working on being an influential entrepreneur yourself, the Tandon Group wants to help you along the way. At the Tandon Group, we’ve invested in the dozens of high-growth startups in the consumer, defense, and information technology sectors, across the globe. We’ve had successful exits and helped grow companies to millions of users. If you know your company has the potential to be the “next big thing”, reach out to us. We’d love to be your partner for the road ahead.

Tandon GroupHow Indian Entrepreneurs are Changing the World

New Factors Driving India’s Electronics Industry

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New Factors Driving India’s Electronics Industry

  January 28, 2020

India’s electronics industry has grown to become one of the largest consumer electronics markets in the Asia Pacific Region. There are numerous factors amplifying this growth in recent years. These include the growth of India’s middle-class population, increasing disposable income among its citizens and dropping prices for electronics.

Despite being considered a single economic class, its demographics are quite diverse. It’s estimated that India’s middle class will increase from 250 million to 583 million people by 2025, which will make it more than 40% of the population. The percentage of middle-class Indians aged 25 or younger applying to universities has increased by more than 60% in the past decade and is expected to continue to rise. With this growing middle class has also come an increase in economic consumption.

The adoption of high-end technologies is also contributing to the growth in consumer electronic devices. The introduction of major technology transitions like IoT and 4G/LTE networks are rapidly increasing the adoption of consumer electronics. India is already the Asia Pacific’s fastest-growing smartphone market, and its IoT market is projected to be worth $9 billion by 2020. [1,2]

India’s Electronics Market

The Indian government has initiated projects like Smart City and Digital India to stir up demand for IoT within the national market. The digital banking sector, including payment banks and wallet players, is another factor raising demand for VSAT and POS mobile ATMs. These will give further impetus to the rapidly expanding electronics industry.

The cumulative result of these advances and projects is that India has become one of the largest electronics markets in the world. Some estimates anticipate that India’s electronics market will reach $400 billion by 2025. Additionally, the consumer electronics and appliances industry is expected to become the 5th largest electronics industry in the world by the same year.

India experiences average annual growth rates of 26% in its electronics sector, 185% in mobile manufacturing, 17% in domestic manufacturing, and 8.60% in its hardware market. Projections also show that the Indian gaming market will be valued more than $801 million by 2022. The electronics market is currently expected to reach $228 billion by 2020. This is a significant increase from 2016-17 when it was valued at $100 billion.

In 2015, India’s electronic products industry was worth $61.8 billion. India’s electronic products made up 82% of the overall market in 2015 with the remainder being electronic components. The entire electronic component industry was worth about $13.5 billion in 2015. Between 70 to 80% of India’s electronic components market is driven by imports. [2]

Domestic Electronics Deficit

Despite the upturn in domestic manufacturing, India’s electronics production during 2018-19 is estimated to be Rs 4,58,006 crore (about USD 70 billion) whereas the global electronics production is estimated to be of the order of USD 2.1 trillion (about Rs 136 lakh crore). Therefore, India’s share in global electronics production is about 3.3%. India’s domestic electronics hardware manufacturing sector faces a lack of level-playing field against competing nations on account of several disabilities which render the sector uncompetitive.

There are several factors creating this trade deficit: adequate infrastructure, domestic supply chain and logistics, high cost of finance, inadequate availability of quality power, inadequate components, limited design capabilities, and inadequacies in skill development. India’s government recognizes this imbalance for electronics, as being the 3rd largest contributor to imports, and is working to quickly correct this issue.

The government has taken a slew of initiatives; as a result, production of electronics in India has risen to an estimated Rs 4.58 lakh crore in FY19, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 25% in the last four years, compared to a rate of 5.5% in 2014-15. [3]

India’s Technological Growth

There are numerous factors driving the continued growth in India’s electronics industry. These include Wi-Fi connectivity and routers, IoT, digital wallets, and machine-to-machine devices. The Indian government has set a goal of building 100 smart cities by 2020. Through its cloud initiative, known as Meghraj, India is moving fully into the world of e-governance services. The Indian government is also working to connect educational institutions and laboratories through its National Knowledge Network (NKN).

Finally, India is integrating renewable energy technologies by investing in solar-powered pump sets and water pumping stations. As part of ongoing efforts to continue increasing the growth of India’s electronics industry, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEIT) has implemented a number of policies and projects. These are designed to promote further domestic production in the electronics industry.

  • National Policy on Electronics: This policy aims to give preferential treatment to domestically produced electronics, in order to build a globally trusted electronics market and provide new opportunities for job growth throughout India. The Indian government recently announced that it’ll add an update to the National Policy, which will likely occur soon. This update adds the goal of increasing design opportunities for electronic devices, along with expanding domestic production. By adding opportunities for tech innovation, the government aims to develop the devices that will prove vital in the next decade. These electronic devices would be a part of industries ranging from medicine to transportation to defense. [4]
  • Preferential Market Access (PMA): This incentive gives preference to domestic manufacturers when it comes to government procurement. This scheme is designed to increase domestic manufacturing, including electronics, in India. Items must meet safety standards according to the Compulsory Registration Order (CRO), which gives a framework for other electronics to be added. Assistance up to 50% with a maximum of $8 million is available for common facilities including training centers, testing facilities, and social infrastructure. Hard infrastructure like power, water, and roads, are also included. [2]
  • Skill Development Scheme: This scheme provides for reimbursement up to 100% of training fees for specialized skills required of prospective employees within the country. To qualify, training must be provided by a facility recognized by the Electronics Sector Skills Council (ESSC). A scheme was passed in 2014 to support 3,000 more PhDs, split evenly between IT/ITES and ESDM. 500 PhDs in ESDM will be full-time and 100 full-time PhDs will be supported by the state government. [2]

Backed by 40 Years of Expertise

We contribute our 40 years of design and manufacturing expertise spanning multiple diverse markets, and we look forward to discussing how we can deliver world-class products for OEMs across the globe. We understand our home India market, familiar with its vast regulatory and selling environments. We foster growth opportunities within India through our strong technology incubation ecosystem. We also assist global OEMs seeking to enter the Indian market by leveraging the local supply chain and favorable operating environments for cost reductions.

Our flagship Chennai location opened in 2006 and lies within a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for electronics manufacturing, offering economic incentives for imports and exports. This primary facility is within 90 minutes of the Chennai seaport and 20 minutes to the international airport, with additional road and rail connectivity linking to the rest of India and beyond, as well as infrastructure advantages with faster import and export clearances. We also have labor force availability, both technical and manual, to rapidly scale to client demand.

To view the original article, please click here.

Ritesh KediaNew Factors Driving India’s Electronics Industry

U.S Tech Giants & their Indian Counterparts

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U.S Tech Giants & their Indian Counterparts

  December 19, 2019

In the United States, the media religiously covers American businesses, partially because of national favor and partially because of the sheer economic size of established U.S. tech giants. Not to be outdone, India has quickly mobilized its workforce to compete with these tech giants who are working their way into India. They’ve steadily accomplished their goal with impressive results, such as the number of households with a disposable income of more than $10,000 has leaped from around 2.5 million in 1990 to nearly 50 million in 2015. Thanks to this massive growth, India has developed its own tech giants who are quickly rivaling U.S. firms. [1]

Ola vs. Uber

These two giants have been battling head-to-head for years now. Both companies have been battling in the court trenches with Ola fighting accusations of creating false accounts and canceling them on their drivers. Uber itself is currently facing massive harassment charges which caused the CEO to exit the company ungracefully. Let’s start with Uber, which recently posted a $6.5 billion net revenue for 2016. They currently have over 40 million monthly active users and are operating in 450 cities. They also posted 160,000 Uber drivers and have close to 87% of the ride-hailing market. Ola for itself is currently in 102 cities and has nearly 70% of the Indian market. They’ve posted impressive stats of 450,000 drivers with 5.9 million monthly active users. Ola says they generated $4.21 billion in revenue in 2015.

 Flipkart vs. Amazon

It’s the battle of e-commerce, and there are only two horses in the race for first. Each is posting mind-blowing numbers, and each is looking to outdo one another. Let’s begin with Flipkart, which is currently in rumors of merging with Snapdeal, and is positioned to move Amazon India out of their home market. Flipkart has 100 million registered users and currently controls roughly 43% of the Indian e-commerce market. They recently said they have 100,000 sellers and are doing roughly 8 million shipments monthly. Flipkart is valued at $11.6 billion and it is unknown what its revenues are currently.

On the other side is Amazon who is tough to beat. They currently have 304 million registered users, or roughly the entire population of the United States, and control 43% of the online retail sales in the U.S. Amazon had $136 Billion in 2016 net sales with $857 million in profit. Here’s something which will make every Amazon investor smile: In 2016, Amazon made just over ⅓ of total sales for Black Friday. In other words, Amazon is in a league of its own for e-commerce companies.

Paytm vs. PayPal

The mobile payment giants are next in line as these two firms face off to attract users into their sphere. PayPal was founded in 1998 in the U.S by the infamous “PayPal Mafia” which included the likes of Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, etc. Paytm was founded in 2010 and has grown at lightning-quick pace compared to PayPal, which is mainly due to the boom in spending India is currently going through, and the ability to raise capital so quickly. Let’s look at the statistics. We’ll start with Paythm, which currently has over 200 million registered users, 80 million of which are active monthly sending transactions. They’re accepted by 850,000 offline merchants, not to mention the additional million-plus online merchants who use Paytm.

They posted 1 billion in transactions just last year, and account for 26% of all digital transactions in India and, in the cut-throat field of online wallets, this is impressive, to say the least. PayPal on the other hand only has 169 million registered users, by has processed 4 billion in transactions in 2016. This is due to the overall wealth of the United States, and PayPal cannot complain because they had a net income of $384 million in 2016. Add to these numbers the fact that PayPal has 16 million merchant accounts and processes 18% of all e-commerce transactions.

Are you next?

These three technology giants are just the beginning of a long competition between the United States and India for tech supremacy. As the world becomes more globalized, from increased internet usage and improved communication, we’ll begin to see greater competition for market share. Luckily, each country has a savvy population who prefers to use their native companies, but only time will tell if this continues to stay the same.

If you’re a startup founder looking for resources to help you succeed, Tandon Group has provided numerous startups with business advice and funding support for more than four decades.

To learn more about our company, please contact us.

Tandon GroupU.S Tech Giants & their Indian Counterparts

What should you do if you can’t raise startup capital?

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What should you do if you can’t raise startup capital?

  December 10, 2019

Raising startup capital can be crucial if your business requires a certain critical mass to survive. Unfortunately, more companies fail to raise capital than those who successfully do. The good news is that there are a million ways to raise money and you only need one of them to work. Today, we’re going to talk about what to do if you’re having trouble raising startup capital.

We first need to address the fact that most people go out looking for funding far too early. If you’re serious about raising money and don’t have a successful acquisition under your belt, then there are a few things you need to accomplish before you ever reach out to investors. For starters, you at least need some sort of initial version of your product/service and ideally a concrete proof of concept. Your proof of concept doesn’t need to be a million people using your product but it does need to be some people using your product, giving you regular feedback. This shows investors that there’s actual demand for what you’re offering.

1. Stay close to home: One thing we see all the time is hopeful entrepreneurs never actually tapping the full potential of their network. Most people don’t realize it but they almost invariably have a group of people around them who want to back their ideas and believe in them. If your family and friends aren’t willing to invest in your idea, why would a professional investor? Jeff Bezos’ parents mortgaged their home and invested over $200,000 into Amazon while it was still nothing but a pipedream. If you haven’t already tapped your network and asked your friends and “friends of friends” then it’s too early to be going to investors. Also, if you haven’t gone to your family then it’s definitely too early to be going to investors. Keep in mind you don’t have to ask for a lot of money but, in most cases, you can get enough to at least show proof of concept.

2. Get creative: If your friends and family have already helped you and you still can’t get investors behind you then now it’s time to get creative. What do we mean by getting creative? Well, let’s look at a great example. Back around the 2008 presidential election, Airbnb was nothing more than a fledgling startup that was struggling to stay alive. The founders had already raised money from their family and racked up thousands of dollars of credit card debt in order to get their proof-of-concept off the ground. Even after doing all of that, they weren’t able to raise money from professional investors. So what did they do? With the election right around the corner, the founders thought fast and devised a money-making strategy completely unrelated to Airbnb’s business. Brian Chesky and his co-founders created special label cereal called “Obama O’s” and “Cap’n McCain’s” and sold nearly $30,000 worth around the time of the election. They used this money to keep Airbnb alive until they could convince investors to join.

3. Crowdfunding: Speaking of getting creative, crowdfunding is one of the most creative things you can do. Up until the last 10 to 20 years, if you had a great idea you had to go through industry gatekeepers to get your idea funded. The advent of the internet changes all that. Never before in human history have normal people been able to get their message out to millions, without spending much money. Crowdfunding isn’t just for small projects anymore either. Over the last 10 years, crowdfunding has helped raise billions of dollars for promising startups and business ideas. If you thought your company wasn’t a good idea for crowdfunding you might want to reconsider. This can be the basis for a multi-billion dollar company. Sites like IndieGoGo, Kickstarter, and many others now make it ridiculously easy to set up a campaign. Even if you don’t hit your target, it’s worth a shot.

4. Persevere: The next thing you may want to consider is that you just haven’t tried enough times yet. There are countless stories of brilliant entrepreneurs who had to try many more times than they thought to get their idea across. For example, Tim Ferriss was turned down by 26 publishers before one picked up his book The Four Hour Work Week, which went on to be a global phenomenon. How could so many publishers miss out on a homerun opportunity? It’s hard to know, but the one thing that’s for sure is that if Tim would have given up on his twenty-fifth publisher no one would probably know who he is. How many pitches have you made? Probably not enough. Even if you pitched a hundred investors, the hundred and first might say yes. So our advice is to simply persevere and never give up.

5. Ask for feedback: This is one tactic we can promise you not many entrepreneurs use. After every single investment decision, you get you to need to be asking investors, “Why did you say no? What can we do to improve?” These two questions can unlock the sea of doubts that investors are thinking about when they’re reviewing your opportunity. Once you’re able to understand why they’re saying no, you can go back, adjust your messaging, and then knock the next pitch out of the park. While it might seem obvious, most entrepreneurs don’t do this. They make the same pitch over and over hoping one investor will just say yes. However, if you improve after every single pitch, you’ll eventually land in a meeting where everything goes perfectly, you address every concern, and investors are nipping at your heels to get involved.

6. Know when to quit: Last but not least, unless you want to spend the rest of your life pursuing this idea, have the courage to know when to call it quits. This doesn’t mean you’re giving up on your entrepreneurial aspirations, it simply means that this idea, at this particular time, isn’t going to work out. If you can make that distinction and then act quickly on it you could save yourself years of pointless work and move on to your next venture. Don’t get this confused with someone who simply jumps from idea to idea but understands that if two-hundred investors have told you “No,” even after improving your pitch every time, then there might be a fundamental flaw in your plan. Chalk it up as a learning experience and move on to the next. Your odds of success will be dramatically higher, after all, you’ve learned.

Do you have one more pitch in you?

At the Tandon Group, we’ve invested in dozens of successful companies in the consumer, defense, wireless, and IT industries. We’re always looking for the next big opportunity and can especially help emerging startups expand into the Indian marketplace. With offices in Silicon Valley and multiple offices across India, we’re truly a global investment partner. If you think you have what it takes to be the next big success, reach out to us. We’d love to be your partner for the road ahead.

Tandon GroupWhat should you do if you can’t raise startup capital?

Expanding your Business into the Indian Marketplace

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Expanding your Business into the Indian Marketplace

  December 3, 2019

“Going global” are two words every entrepreneur wants to say about their business. For small startups and emerging businesses, expanding globally brings unprecedented challenges that will tax the entire organization from the top down. The business must continue operations in their home country, while somehow diverting resources to expanding without any interruptions. The costs are high, but the rewards in terms of revenue, global awareness, and business glory are delightfully sweet. Below are tips to expanding your business into the Indian marketplace, which will give you valuable insight into what to expect as your business expands.

Research Indian Culture: To be successful with the expansion you’ll need to know your audience inside and out. For expanding your business into India, this means understanding the nuances of the Indian culture. You need to perform a market segmentation analysis to determine how your product or service will fit into the local market. For instance, you need to know approximately 38% of the people in India live on less than $1/day. There are still obstacles with a social and cultural acceptance of Western products, and penetration into rural areas can be difficult because of slow infrastructure growth. This also means you need to perform a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats analysis). It’s vital you understand the customer because mistakes can be unforgiving.

Learn Regional Differences: It’s recommended to not think of India as a single entity comprised of a homogenous people like Australia. India’s constitution recognizes over 22 different languages, all with regional dialects and slang. It’s best to think of India as a collection of region states, each with their own customs and cultures which determine their perception of the world. Communication has greatly increased the similarities between the different regions, but there are still many differences the people of India recognize. It’s recommended to develop a plan for each specific region of India in relation to the market segment you choose to approach.

Select Indian Executives: We’re adding this because you may not want foreigners to run the Indian branch. It’s highly recommended to not launch a global expansion with only executives from the parent company leading the way. We recommend finding an executive who has a deep domain experience in the market to help build and mentor the leader who will operate in the Indian headquarters. Allowing your business to hit the ground running, quickly validate any assumptions, and push through any last-minute unforeseen obstacles.

Setup an Indian Headquarters: It’s highly inadvisable to build a local team from scratch since there are many unspoken rules and practices for somebody outside the country to understand. This means finding the appropriate partners and agents within each region who will best represent your company and provide insight into the hidden etiquettes and practices of the locality. By building a headquarters in India you’ll promote local brand knowledge, goodwill with the Indian government because you’re creating jobs for their citizens, and a deep understanding of the marketplace which will inevitably help with future product launches.

This information will put you on the right path towards tapping into the vast Indian market place. It won’t be easy, and you have serious work ahead in order to utilize the rising wealthy middle class, but the rewards will be well worth the effort.  If you believe your startup is poised to be the next Indian household name, reach out to us. At the Tandon Group we’ve partnered with and invested in dozens of companies over the last two decades and have met with massive success along the way. We’d love to be your partner for the road ahead.

Tandon GroupExpanding your Business into the Indian Marketplace

Selecting the Right Venture Capital Firm for your Startup

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Selecting the Right Venture Capital Firm for your Startup

  November 26, 2019

When looking to raise funding, there are many factors you need to consider before choosing a venture capitalist partner. Many great startups have been thrown off course by choosing an investor for the money and not for the other assets they bring to the table. While capital is important, it’s only a small part of startup success. That being said, here’s a list of things you need to consider before choosing an investor (or group of investors):

  • Availability: Knowing how many companies a firm is currently invested in can give you a better idea of how much time they’re going to be able to devote to you and your business. Ask the venture capitalist directly how much time they anticipate devoting to your startup each month. You don’t want to get into a situation where you have either an overbearing investor or one who isn’t involved whatsoever in the operations of the company. Most startups need to find a “happy medium” where they get the advice they need but also have the freedom to operate the business in the same manner that brought them success up until now.
  • Connections: Most startups don’t raise capital just one time. Partnering with a venture capital firm that can introduce you to future funding options is something you want to think about from the outset. Look into their funding history and see what their past funding rounds have been like. How were they structured? Who did they bring on-board for additional capital? A semi-celebrity venture capitalist might have more overall connections but a lesser-known investor might have more relevant connections in your industry. A great question to ask while meeting with investors is, “who do you know that can help us grow this company faster?”
  • Cultural Fit: Do you have the same values, ethics, and morals as the venture capitalist you’re speaking with? If there’s a clash of fundamental beliefs between you and your funding partner(s) there will inevitably be larger problems down the road. Decisions can become extremely difficult when you put yourself in the shoes of your investor. There’s a tendency for all investors to be more shortsighted than company founders. Short-term focus on ROI can sometimes mean the death of a promising startup. If Facebook had started charging customers for access or started advertising sooner, we might not be talking about them as a global superpower like we do today.
  • Integrity: Over the last few weeks, there have been widespread stories about sexual harassment and gender inequality in the venture capitalist community. While it’s disheartening to see this kind of behavior, it’s also a part of human nature. There are always going to the unethical and untrustworthy people conducting business in the world. It’s important that you do background research about each individual that manages a venture capitalist firm. Do they have a history of unprofessional behavior? Taking the time to do this could save your startup from an embarrassing scandal or expensive legal trouble in the future.
  • Intelligence: Emotional intelligence is harder to quantify than other factors on this list but it’s just as important as the rest. You should do your best to find out how a particular venture capitalist firm handled emotional situations in the past. Whether it’s replacing executives, firing ineffective employees, or any other event that causes high tension, a venture capitalist’s ability to communicate and understand the situation is paramount. The most effective course of action for a startup is to talk with previous company founders and get their opinion on the firm’s emotional intelligence.
  • Knowledge: Almost all venture capital firms have their areas of expertise. Usually, it’s a certain industry or group of industries. For example, at Tandon Group we specialize in the EMS, IT, healthcare, defense, and consumer industries. We feel that we have the highest chance of success when we stick to our domain of expertise. Other VC firms might specialize in industries like fintech, cryptocurrency, or any other number of specialized industries. While knowledge of the industry is extremely important, it’s only the starting point for finding your ideal venture capital partner.
  • Location: It’s common practice for venture capital firms to set up funds that are specifically used for different geographical areas across the globe. Make sure you do your research to ensure you’re talking to someone who’s interested in investing where your startup is headquartered. This isn’t always a deal-breaker but many investors feel more comfortable when they invest in companies that operate where they’re familiar. As an example, the Tandon Group has offices in San Jose, California, and Mumbai, India. While we’re open to investment pitches from all across the globe, we put a special precedent on companies that are headquartered in either of our locations. It gives us the ability to provide guidance and work directly with company founders.
  • Performance: It’s a common saying that success breeds success. That being said, how much success has the venture capital firm you’re considering seen in the past? Some firms prefer a widespread approach, investing in many companies, hoping for a few big successes. Other venture capitalist companies take a more exclusive approach,  working hand-in-hand with each company they invest in. Either way, these firms are going to have past successes and failures. It’s in your best interest to know about them. At Tandon Group we’re proud to say we have a large portfolio of successful investments and one of the largest mergers and acquisition deals in Indian consumer internet history.

If you’re a startup founder looking for funding, the Tandon group is always open to hearing promising investment opportunities. If you work in any of our areas of expertise (mentioned at the beginning of this article) you can contact us to discuss potential investments. If you’re already apart of a successful startup and you’re looking to expand your business offerings to the Indian market we’re also interested in speaking with you. We have 40+ years of business expertise in the Indian market and are perhaps the best company to partner with if you’re looking to grow there.

Tandon GroupSelecting the Right Venture Capital Firm for your Startup

India is Now the Second Largest Smartphone Consumer

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India is Now the Second Largest Smartphone Consumer

  November 19, 2019

How did India become the second-largest smartphone user in the world, second only to China? The answer, simply put, is widespread access to economically priced smartphones and cheap internet plans. Indians can now purchase decent mobile devices for just $20, which means that even the estimated 200 million Indian citizens who live without electricity can connect online. In the year 2000, India had just 10 million internet users, according to CNN. That number skyrocketed to 462 million by 2017. [1]

What caused such a monumental leap? First and foremost, there was a constant decline in smartphone prices, fueled by fierce competition among mobile developers. In 2016, an Indian company called Ringing Bells launched the Freedom 251, dubbed the “world’s cheapest smartphone”. With a 4-inch display screen and a design reminiscent of an iPhone 4, the device costs just $3.60. The website selling the phones crashed on opening day due to demand. However, the country’s best selling devices are mid-range units priced at around 4,000 rupees, or about $60, still low by US standards. [2]

In 2016, India’s most wealthy man, Mukesh Ambani, launched an initiative that would cause wireless usage data to soar to unprecedented numbers in just one year. The founder of Reliance, India’s largest company, Ambani unveiled a new network called Jio, aiming to provide 4G data services all across India. Remarkably, Reliance designated a whopping 20 billion dollars toward the project, building 45,000 mobile towers in just 6 months. Then, in an effort to jump-start the network and entice more consumers to come online, Jio offered 6 months of free 4G data service. Subsequently, the number of Jio subscribers increased by 10 in just one year, to an ~160 million in December 2017.

Number One in Mobile Data: In just one year, India went from 155th place in the list of countries with the most mobile data usage to number one. The mobile consumption revolution will do much more than simply allow more Indians to create Facebook profiles and connect with each other on WhatsApp. Mobile phone use will influence many other sectors, including the digital commerce market, and digital payments. Businesses small and large will be able to reach more consumers through online advertising and pull in larger profits through Internet sales. The digital payments sector is expected to climb to $500 billion by 2020. [3]

Number One in App Downloads: India is also now the world leader in app downloads, generating $2.7 billion in global app revenues. According to the State of App Marketing in India report, India had over 1 billion app installs, 4 billion apps open, 950 apps, $400 million in-app revenue, and 40 million retargeting conversions from January 2017 to January 2018. However, there’s room for improvement in India’s app longevity rate: it’s estimated that 32% of installed apps are deleted with 30 days. [4]

Effects of the Mobile Revolution

The mobile consumer revolution in India could also have a dramatic effect on India’s population in the education, social, and medical fields. Educational apps marketed to children have the potential to foment literacy and encourage learning. Language learning apps may help Indians communicate with others and succeed in both university and business settings. Healthcare apps, now growing in popularity in India, allow consumers to compare the prices of medicine. This is extremely helpful in a country in which citizens must shoulder most of their own healthcare costs. Many hope to see new innovations in technology arise from India’s smartphone boom, which could be shared with the rest of the world, and subsequently help millions of Indians achieve greater financial stability.

Smartphone Manufacturing in India

According to our company Syrma Technology, India’s smartphone market has drastically changed over the past few years. While most phones are currently only assembled in India and not manufactured, government initiatives, such as the National Policy on Electronics, have encouraged global manufacturers to produce phones in India. These incentives include new de-licensing and deregulation measures to eliminate red tape and other bureaucratic roadblocks to increase speed and transparency for foreign-based companies looking to invest. As a result, there was a sharp increase in the total number of smartphone manufacturing facilities in India, which reached almost 50, with a total output of 180 million units, this year.

Companies, like Foxconn and Wistron, have already set up manufacturing and assembling plants in India. Apple is even manufacturing older iPhones in India, and Samsung recently created the world’s largest smartphone assembly plant in the country. By 2020, this new factory will double Samsung’s current smartphone manufacturing capacity of 67 million to 120 million. Other smartphone companies, like Lava and Micromax, have also been making phones in India. Nokia will soon manufacture phone components in India as well.

Looking for angel investment? Contact Tandon Group at to be considered as a candidate for our investment portfolio.

Tandon GroupIndia is Now the Second Largest Smartphone Consumer

Early Origins of Tandon Group’s Manufacturing Excellence

Workforce 823x315

Early Origins of Tandon Group’s Manufacturing Excellence

  October 15, 2019

Before fledging Tandon Magnetics could gain prominence as an exporter of key components IBM would incorporate into their pioneering floppy disk drives, founder M.L. (Manny) Tandon was faced with two significant challenges. The first early problem was sustaining a stable, dedicated workforce.

During the mid-1970s, entry-level assembly workers, males in particular, among India’s handful of electronics manufacturers were quick to hop from town to city in search of other career options. After noticing the costs associated with the high turnover, namely constant training of replacements, were gnawing at his bottom line, Manny turned to what at that time was considered a radical solution–avoiding hiring men in favor of a mostly female workforce.

Indian culture frowned upon young unmarried women leaving their households–or even independently taking nearby jobs on their own. But Manny recognized an opportunity to capitalize upon an untapped pool of industrial talent. Besides delivering a strong work ethic and long–term company loyalty, the all-female production floor proved to offer another distinct advantage–superior manual dexterity necessary for high-precision electronics assembly–such as meticulously winding wire around the donut-shaped core of a magnetic bobbin.

1983 Tandon Motors: Floppy Disk, Head Coil Winding

Quality…and Quantity?

While Tandon Magnetics’ female assembly workers consistently delivered top-quality results, the next issue soon arose­­how could production output ramp-up to meet IBM’s rising demand as he original PC gained popularity around the world?

At a time when industrial automation in India factories was rare, Manny looked at novel alternatives to standard coil wrapping machines of the day­­, which were sophisticated equipment typically retailing as high as $10,000 apiece. He soon developed a relatively simple solution: adapting a household sewing machine–a pedal­-operated appliance most of his female workers were already quite familiar with.

Mounting the sewing machine motor on a wooden block, he added a few enhancements, including an automatic counter to ensure the correct number of windings, as well as attaching a microscope to help the operator precisely wrap the smallest coils. After the handmade prototype proved an instant success, 100 more machines were installed throughout the assembly floor­­–at an estimated cost of about $5 each.

Thanks to lower overhead costs and skilled, efficient manpower­­–or, more exactly, womanpower– Tandon Magnetics would provide IBM with top quality PC components ­­at volumes up to 60,000 units per day–at prices, competitors simply couldn’t match.

1985 Tandon Motors: Voice Coils

A Prosperous Legacy

Nearly four decades later, the early success of Tandon Magnetics has evolved into a core specialty at the Tandon Group’s Syrma Technology, providing world-class electronics design and manufacturing services to global OEMs. High-­precision equipment based upon those original revamped sewing machine remains a cornerstone of Syrma’s 100,000 square foot state-­of-­the-­art flagship facility in Chennai.

2015 Syrma Technology: RFID coil manufacturing

Tandon GroupEarly Origins of Tandon Group’s Manufacturing Excellence

Global Perspective Helps Founders Solve Local Problems

Global Perspective Helps Founders Solve Local Problems

  July 23, 2019

When Manohar Lal Tandon formed Tandon Magnetics, the manufacturing arm of Tandon Computers, in 1979, he was determined to improve the lives of many in India. After studying and working in the United States for several years, he returned to India and used the knowledge, expertise and experience he cultivated in the U.S. to make the local market better. Founders who are open to new ideas, solutions and challenging the status quo open their companies up to new opportunities, exactly what Manohar was able to do with Tandon Magnetics, and later, Tandon Group.

Changing Business as Usual in 1970s India

Combining a global perspective with a deep understanding of local needs is just as powerful for modern-day startups in India as it was for Manohar at dawn of the personal computing age in the 1970s. As Manohar grew one of the most influential manufacturing companies in India at the time, the company helped solve local issues related to the economy, workforce, and leadership at the time including:

  • Encouraging the creation of “tax-free zones” throughout India, which increased production and foreign investment that ultimately has driven India into the top 10 of the world’s biggest economies
  • Becoming the largest employer of women in the tech sector from 1984 to 2000
  • Adopting IBM’s “open door” leadership policy at Tandon Magnetics, which was uncommon for Indian companies in the 1970s

 Partnering with Today’s Problem-Solving Startups

Today, India has the third largest startup ecosystem behind Silicon Valley and the United Kingdom. As a major participant in India’s startup environment, Tandon Group continues to help solve local problems as the company provides financial and managerial assistance to modern-day startups in India working to improve the country’s education, employment, finance, healthcare, and transportation challenges. Successful startups include:

  • Providing a progressive workplace for women and improving India’s economy (Syrma)
  • Helping healthcare providers preserve reimbursements from patient care and maximize collections from unpaid claims with technology (Infinx)
  • Saving people time by providing on-demand transportation and lifestyle services (GOJEK)
  • Changing the way education is delivered and consumed in India (Genius)
  • Revolutionizing the mobile economy in India by making it easier to pay for everyday items and tasks (FreeCharge)

If you’re a startup looking for resources to help you succeed, Tandon Group has provided numerous startups with business advice and funding support for more than four decades. 

To learn more about our company, please contact us.

Tandon GroupGlobal Perspective Helps Founders Solve Local Problems

Syrma Technology Carries on Tandon Group’s Award-Winning Legacy

2018 Elcina 1

Syrma Technology Carries on Tandon Group’s Award-Winning Legacy

  May 23, 2019

Among India’s tight-knit electronics community, industry awards are a big thing. Beginning with Tandon Group Chairman M.L. Tandon’s fledgling Tandon Corporation in the 1970s, which would quickly become a major exporter of components for IBM’s original personal computers­. Tandon companies have garnered a substantial total of plaques and trophies from national trade organizations and regional industry groups, reflecting both qualities of manufacturing and quantity of successful exports. These awards are often bestowed at elaborate gala ceremonies, with attendees in full Indian formal dress, as well as appearances by senior government officials.

Our latest award, presented to Tandon Group’s primary manufacturing wing, Syrma Technology, represents one of India’s most prestigious electronics industry honors, the 43rd annual ELCINA-EFY Awards. Created by the Electronic Industries Association of India (ELCINA) in 1976, these awards are widely considered benchmarks for India’s electronics leadership, with categories spanning contributions to innovation, entrepreneurism, quality, exports, research and development, and environmental stewardship. After capturing last year’s 1st Prize for Quality in the SME segment, ELCINA-EFY judges lauded Syrma as 1st Prize in Exports – Medium Scale in 2017-18, outpacing similar-sized India manufacturers in volume and efficiency of global logistics.

Quality Determines Quantity

“We consider bottom-line exports as actually a culmination of the other award categories,” said Syrma CEO Sreeram Srinivasan. “By securing long-term customer relationships and delivering world-class end-to-end design, manufacturing and logistics services, we’re proud to carry on the high standards of excellence established by the original Tandon ventures.”

A Tradition of Excellence

Visitors to the lobby of Syrma’s Chennai headquarters are immediately struck by the company’s impressive trophy case, holding over 50 gleaming awards received by Tandon electronics companies over the past four decades. Today, Syrma ranks among India’s leaders in development, manufacturing and global export of precision electronics, including printed circuit board assemblies (PCBA), custom magnetic and memory components, and leading-edge hardware and software solutions such as RFID tracking and next-generation Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Advantages of India

Taking full advantage of locations within India’s Special Economic Zones (SEZs), a recently revamped Goods and Service Tax (GST) structure and other generous government incentives, Syrma represents a leading example of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2014 ‘Make in India’ initiative, promoting the country as a worldwide manufacturing hub across multiple industries.

Srinivasan and other senior Syrma managers gratefully accepted their latest ELCINA-EFY Award at this year’s awards presentation, held this past September 14th in New Delhi. Learn more about Syrma Technology at

Tandon GroupSyrma Technology Carries on Tandon Group’s Award-Winning Legacy