In an interesting article on Forbes titled ‘The Smartest Unknown Indian Entrepreneur’ , Sramana Mitra profiles Sridhar Vembu, the founder and CEO of an Indian firm called AdventNet. The firm today, is a ’100%, bootstrapped, $40-millio-a-year revenue business that sends $ 1 million to the bank every month in profits’.
The whole piece is worth a detailed read, but two points stand out.
The first one is this:
“We hire young professionals whom others disregard,” Vembu says. “We don’t look at colleges, degrees or grades. Not everyone in India comes from a socio-economic background to get the opportunity to go to a top-ranking engineering school, but many are really smart regardless.
“We even go to poor high schools, and hire those kids who are bright but are not going to college due to pressure to start making money right away,” Vembu continues. “They need to support their families. We train them, and in nine months, they produce at the level of college grads. Their resumes are not as marketable, but I tell you, these kids can code just as well as the rest. Often, better.”
The second one is this:
Vembu has a very exciting opportunity ahead of him. What the Chinese have done in manufacturing, he is showing that the Indians can do in software: undercut U.S. and European software makers dramatically. Not in information technology services. Not by body shopping. Vembu has done something few Indian entrepreneurs have been able to achieve–build a true “product” company out of India. This is not a head count-based business model
The first point is interesting, as it shows that the skilled manpower shortage, which is an issue many entrepreneurs (including IEB founder Prashant Kothari) have written about, could have some solutions, although a nine month investment from an employer is significant.
The second one also shows that the general media meme of that all India is doing is capitalizing on low cost labour advantages to run body shops, and not building enough ‘brands’ or ‘product’ firms, might not be true(even if it were true to large extent till a few years back) .