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US capitalists eager to fund Indians

india Updated: May 09, 2007 04:16 IST

More and more Indians who went to the US in the 1980s and early 1990s have transformed from being engineers to scientist-entrepreneurs, with venture capitalists more than eager to fund them.

These engineers-turned-entrepreneurs have successfully embraced the popular US start-up culture, where technologies developed in different tech labs through years of research are turned into successful business models.

In the past two months alone, four Massachusetts based companies with Indian chief executives have registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public: Starent Networks Corp, Netezza Corp, BladeLogic Inc and Virtusa Corp.

They represent a third of state companies that have filed for initial public offer (IPOs) this year.

"Rather than work on fancy long-term research, I realised that I wanted to do something where I could have impact in the short term," said Ganesh Venkataraman, an IIT graduate and founder of Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc. "That pushed me into entrepreneurship."

Many of these immigrants, and their companies, have become the gold standard for venture capital investment, the Boston Globe reported.

Most of the Indians who have become entrepreneurs are engineers who did their undergraduate work at the famed Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

"The focus on technology in India goes down to the very core of how computers work, how the bits and bytes flow. When you have that foundation and you come across real problems, you can think about them in a multi dimensional way," said Neeraj Agrawal, partner of Battery Ventures.

Today, everyone agrees that technical training provided in India and the start-up culture in the US has proved a potent mix.

With venture outlays at a post-2001 high and the number of filings for IPOs increasing, the Indian entrepreneurs find themselves in demand.

"It's a very productive community," said Rod Randall, senior managing director at Vesbridge Partners, a Boston venture firms.

The Indians give full credit to the US for their success.

"If you have dreams of building things and achieving things in your life, the US has always been the place to do it," said Raj Alur, an investor and entrepreneur who is president of the Boston chapter of Indus Entrepreneurs, a non-profit body better known as TiE.

One measure of the Indian tech community's influence is that over 1,200 people are expected to attend next month's TiECON convention in Boston.