Pictures for representation only

A Kerala Conundrum

What are the conditions that will enable the entrepreneur inside many of us to find expression? C Balagopal’s book, ‘Below the Radar – The untold story of how modern manufacturing grew by stealth in Kerala’, explores this question and provokes thought in the reader, writes G. Sabarinathan, PhD1  Well before Vasco da Gama set out for Kerala in 1498, this littoral strip of land in Southwestern India had been in touch with the Greeks and then the Romans and the Arabs, writes Manu Pillai, the young sensation among historians, in…

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Elective Story

An elective, in a B-school, resembles a living organism to the extent that it needs to adapt itself to the emerging environment if it has to survive. The number of mutations that his elective – New Enterprise Financing (NEF) – has been through, over 21 years, is an example of such adaptation, writes G. Sabarinathan1 A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on the last edition of my elective, New Enterprise Financing2, that I had taught at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB).  The comments on the post and…

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Making universal healthcare affordable Through her venture, in the GS-NSRCEL 10K Women program, Dr Sumona Karjee Mishra brings self-monitoring devices in healthcare to all

Prantae Solutions Pvt. Ltd. is a healthcare device and diagnostic startup from Bhubaneswar, Odisha. It was founded in June 2015. Winner of the CII-IPR award for the last four years, they pride themselves on their R&D capabilities and have a DSIR-recognized R&D facility.  Prantae has received grants from DBT-BIRAC, DST, MeitY, Tata Trust, Millennium Alliance, Grand Challenge Exploration-India for product development.  During the pandemic, Prantae developed three diagnostic solutions and two of them were validated by ICMR for SARS-CoV2 detection. Their team comprises 12 young engineers and two scientists. Prantae’s…

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The High and Lows of Indian business: Four stories unravelled G. Sabarinathan shares his takeaways from Nandini Vijayaraghavan’s recent book, ‘Unfinished Business’

I first heard about Nandini Vijayaraghavan a couple of years ago, when a friend of mine forwarded a short review of her translation of Shri Krishnamoorthy’s Tamil classic, Sivakamiyin Sabadam (Sivakami’s Vow).  Tamilians of my generation, and that of my parents, grew up waiting for serialized version of this and his other novels in the Tamil weekly, Kalki.   You can get a glimpse of Shri Krishnamoorthy’s life and work at  https://www.thehindu.com/books/how-kalki-penned-ponniyin-selvan-dipping-into-archival-books-in-an-old-steel-trunk/article65949508.ece and https://www.thehindu.com/books/kalki-krishnamurthy-his-life-and-times-more-than-just-a-biography/article65296015.ece Unfinished Business is no work of fiction, although as Vijayaraghavan notes in the book, quoting Aldous Huxley,…

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2021: Looking back at the venture capital industry

Prof. G.Sabarinathan1 examines the swelling tide of capital, the growing allocation to alternative investments, institutional evolution and demand-supply dynamics that have impacted the role of the VC industry in the governance of investee firms It has been an eventful week for venture capital (VC). In USA, which I will focus on for now, Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos was convicted.2 Interestingly, Holmes’ conviction coincided with the end of a year when the US VC industry hit a funding record of $ 330 billion in 2021! Coincidentally, perhaps, the Indian VC…

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“The Cult of We”: The story of a venture funded start-up that nearly imploded

By Professor G. Sabarinathan1 Ever since its first attempt at an Initial Public Offering (IPO) was dropped, news about the developments at the highly visible co-working space provider, WeWork, later on rechristened as The We Company started tumbling out in the form of numerous press stories.  Books were written about its meteoric rise and the equally visible crises it descended into. This article is based on one such book, The Cult of We – WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion by Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell2.  Both Brown…

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In pursuit of the not so mythical unicorn

The recent rapid emergence of unicorns in India leads Professor G. Sabarinathan1, 2to explore this phenomenon and ponder whether the obsession has gone too far Last week, CBInsights, now an almost universal go-to shop for data on startups and tech businesses, published a list of unicorns across the world. At 702, the number of unicorns surprised me although it need not have, going by the almost daily flow of news of the minting of the newest unicorn somewhere in the world. That size of 700 was significant enough for anyone…

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A Tale of two Memoirs of Devaki Jain and Shanta Gokhale Prof. Rajalaxmi Kamath delves into the two books and comes away impressed

In a frenzy of an extended weekend reading, I finished two recently published memoirs of women, now well into their 80s – Devaki Jain’s ‘The Brass Notebook: A memoir’ and Shanta Gokhale’s ‘One Foot on the Ground: A Life told through the Body’.* Both women are exemplars of modern Indian women representing a unique cohort – generations that witnessed the unfolding of India’s post-independence years. The similarity in their life histories is rather incongruous but explained by their unique times and the fact that only a privileged few in those…

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Seeking avenues for growth – India in the top 50 innovating countries

Deepti Ganapathy, faculty in the Management Communication area, IIMB, writes that the signals are strong and one needs to mine the communication networks to pick up the conducive atmosphere for creating jobs The recent budget has given much emphasis on innovation and R&D, and doubled the total financial aid to students to INR 2482.32 crores. India entered the top 50 innovating countries for the first time in 2020, since inception of the Global Innovation Index, by improving its rank from 81 in 2015 to 48 in 2020. Among lower middle-income…

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Plop from NSRCEL’s Women Start-up Program The Women Startup Program of NSRCEL, the start-up hub at IIM Bangalore, aims to support ambitious and innovative women entrepreneurs by enabling them to transform their idea into a business venture. Plop is one such example.

About the venture In the world of podcasts and Insta stories, Plop is a global, mobile-first company that creates immersive and interactive fiction for a young audience. Co-founded by Anushka Shetty, an IIMB alumna and Vineet Shetty, an ISB alum, in 2019, Plop hooks on a unique, fast-paced format to develop interactive bite-sized fiction to entertain and educate the Gen Y and Gen Z audience. The Mumbai-based platform uses a format that takes written word and infuses multiple multimedia elements like video, audio, and role-playing mobile-based simulations to give a…

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