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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > Vivek Srivastava > Harnessing the power of network to achieve business agility - NanoIT Associates

Vivek Srivastava

Technology companies in India experience a number of pain points: gaps in funding availability, lack of good quality line managers, burgeoning cost of R&D and pressure to reduce the time-to-market. Early efforts at downsizing and off-shoring have not yielded satisfactory results. More mature solutions like harnessing the collective power of networks and creation of an eco-system of value-creation islands are starting to emerge in the shape of Nano-IT Associates.

March 11th, 2008

Harnessing the power of network to achieve business agility - NanoIT Associates

India is many ways a land of contrasts: the country boasts of having 4 of the 10 richest individuals in the world and at the same time its farmers are forced to commit suicide due to poverty. A country going through a wave of feminism and reporting rising rate of female foeticide. It is also a country with over-supply of funds, coupled with lack of funds for new entrepreneurs. Venture capitalism is essentially taking a backseat and is relegated to oblivion by private funding to top notch companies and madcap companies with proven track record. Assocham forecasts that private equity funding in India is expected to be $48 billion by 2010. Similarly, micro-finance also got much impetus with conventional banks foraying into the field. Reports state that by 2010, amount of microfinance in India would be about $3 billion. But the problem of availability of seed capital for a conventional start-up still remains.

In this column, we have in the past discussed some other issues like lack of experienced line managers with a good understanding of technology and product management. R&D managers face a very challenging task - that of developing technologies and products with minimal resources while reducing the time to market. The underlying reason is straight forward; the rate of technology upgradation has accelerated in the last few years. Earlier any piece of research used to take up to two years to be drafted, communicated to scientific journals, peer-reviewed, and then published for dissemination. Now, the researcher can conduct his research during the day and publish the results online in the evening for the entire world to view them. The information super-highway is in some ways a time wrap!! Nevertheless, it is a nightmare for technology managers. How does one get ROI on two years of R&D on developing a new product that gets outdated in 6 months? To further aggravate the problem, if product launch is delayed by 6 months the technology may be outdated at the launch itself!! Technology management doesn't seem a very enticing career option at such times.

Challenges, though, open up opportunities. Traditionally, most technology intensive companies maintained a large in-house R&D centers. Faced with cost pressures, these companies either chose downsizing or off-shoring. R&D being a sensitive business function is not usually out-sourced, though there are exceptions most notably in pharmaceutical sector. However, it was quickly recognized that neither of the two options was sustainable in short or long term. Off-shoring meant that research was no longer aligned to business objectives and downsizing resulted in severe loss of expertise and resources. More soul-searching is required to address this emerging challenge.

One such attempt is Nano-IT Associates . To quote the website The over-riding belief behind Nano-IT Associates is that the world of hi-tech is an inter-connected synconomy of value-creation islands. We strive to facilitate this value chain creation by bringing together various pieces of the technological jig-saw viz technology, market, finance and management. Our mission is to ensure that all available resources are utilized in a synergistic fashion. The company tries to address this challenge through an attempt to build a technology eco-system and leveraging the power of networks. The company currently operates in two verticals: Nanotechnology and IT/ITES and provides varied advisory services and consultancy to corporate, venture funds, and entrepreneurs. The company undertakes activities like technology scanning, market studies and due diligence on behalf of private investors. The company has a team of four consultants and a portfolio of three early stage companies. The company is in talks with several partners with complementary competencies to achieve its vision to sow, grow and reap the benefits of technology for the greater good .

We wish Nano-IT Associates good luck in its endeavor and support the effort whole-heartedly.

Please send your feedback, ideas, and suggestions to Vivek Srivastava at .

Vivek hold a Ph. D. in materials science and has published over a dozen papers in international journals and contributed to international conferences and seminars. He has interests in commercialization of nanotechnology & new ventures with innovative business models to exploit the advantages India offers. He consults existing businesses to grow and expand in new technology areas, and serves as mentor to budding entrepreneurs. His current research interest are "severe plastic deformation methods for production of bulk nanomaterials" and "Role of industry dynamics on making R&D funding decisions".

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