Monday, July 5, 2010

"Commitment is the Key" - K.V. Ramani

Fascinating account of the tribulations and success of an early mover in the Indian software industry, who chose - in the mid-1980s - to tread a different path than the common "body shopping" route. - The Venture Intelligence Team

K.V. Ramani, Founder, Future Software

Speech and interaction with the students of Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai (recorded on campus on June 23, 2010).

The Podcast (mp3) - 64 minutes, 29.2 MB

(Use Right Click > Save As to download to your desktop)


  • In the eighties, when banks did not recognize software as an industry that they would lend to and there were so much of red tape, KVR's sheer persistence helped him overcome the odds - even to the extent of arguing a committee of bureaucrats into reversing their decision!
  • Future Software, which stuck to its niche of telecom networking software from inception, was the first Indian company to license "protocol stacks" to global telecom vendors in its pusruit of "non-linear growth". KVR insists that Indian IT succeeded because of "talent/skill arbitrage" and not cost arbitrage. "We could have charged three times as much and got away with it," he says.
  • KVR's story emphasizes how the founding idea - especially for an IT product company - should be based on something that is likely to become popular 3-5 years ahead. He believes the founders should focus on the vision for the company in the next 5 and leave the job of managing the next few quarters to the operational managers.
  • One of the advtantges of starting in a niche market, KVR points out, is that the target clientele is obvious .
  • The podcast has an interesting account of how KVR converted the huge problem of its largest customer, Hughes (which accounted for 30% of the business), wanting to set up its own shop in India, into an opportunity.
  • KVR also highlights how Flextronics acquired and stitched together what is today Aricent by acquiring 5 Indian communications software companies (including Future Software).