HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

Kris, Shibulal to focus on IT startups, education in Kerala

Manu P Toms, Hindustan Times  Bangalore, August 24, 2014
First Published: 22:59 IST(24/8/2014) | Last Updated: 23:05 IST(24/8/2014)

Infosys co-founders SD Shibulal and Kris Gopalakrishnan are revisiting their Kerala roots after stepping back from active roles within the company.

Shibulal retired as CEO and MD of Infosys in July, while Gopalakrishnan moved to a non-executive vice-chairman’s role and will step down from the board in October.

Shibulal and Gopalakrishnan, well regarded for their entrepreneurial success in their home state, which is a business laggard, will involve themselves in
initiatives to improve technology education and entrepreneurship there.

Shibulal took up the role of chairman of Information Communication Technology Academy of Kerala (ICTAK). It is expected that he will be involved in its initiatives to improve employability skills of students, mainly technology graduates.

Gopalakrishnan, as chief mentor of Kerala’s ‘Startup Village’, has been guiding early-stage technology companies in the state. He will also spearhead an angel investor group to fund such companies.

Startup Village is a technology business incubator in Kochi, funded jointly by the public and private sector. The promoters are the Union department of science and technology, Technopark Trivandrum and MobME Wireless.

“There is a plan for Kerala Angel Network and it will happen soon,” Gopalakrishnan told HT in an e-mail response. “I can’t talk specifics. I would like to offer support for creating a startup eco system in Bangalore, Kerala and India in general, including policies around these.”

“Gopalakrishnan has been involved with the Startup Village since its inception and interacts with us on a regular basis,” said its CEO Sijo George Kuruvilla.

Gopalakrishnan had contributed an undisclosed amount when the Startup Village was set up in Kochi two years ago as a public private partnership project.

Shibulal could not be reached for this story. However, Santhosh Kurup, CEO of ICTAK, said Shibulal had agreed to spend more time for ICTAK. “Shibulal has told us he would be available for interaction with academia and government for formulating programmes and policies for improving employability skills of engineering graduates,” Kurup said.

“He is now involved in many social and philanthropic activities in the state. That is a positive thing for us,” he said. ICTAK, a collaborative project of IT companies and the government of Kerala, was set up in December last year. The state government had invited Shibulal to chair the institution.

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