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IIM Americas Newsletter IIM Americas is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit organization

Q2 2015


Vol. 6



Editorial Hello fellow IIM Alumni, Greetings !! It gives us immense pleasure to bring before you the sixth newsletter of IIM Americas. The objective of the newsletter is to be a platform where everybody gets a chance to interact with the wider IIM

alumni based in the Americas region. As part of ‘Meet a Thought Leader’ series we interviewed Sudhir Kulkarni. Sudhir is EVP at Persistent Systems and also a TiE Charter Member. Sudhir has over has over 30 years of executive experience in sales and senior management roles at software

Sameer Mittal Editorial Team

and services businesses. He founded multiple companies, helped raise VC investments and managed rapidly growing technology companies leading to an acquisition and an IPO. We try to bring some of his learnings and interesting experiences from his entrepreneurial journey. In the Fun Company section of this edition we cover Planet Labs, company’s API and satellite imagery platform provide access to data with global coverage, high relevance, autonomous operations, and ease of use. . If you know an IIM alum and feel we should interview him/her for the ‘Meet a thought leader’ section do write to us. The

Deepti Thomas Editorial Team

newsletter thrives on contributions from its members and hence we request your active participation in this forum.

We hope that you enjoy this edition. Thanks and Happy Reading !! IIM Americas Editorial Team

Contents  Message from the President  Meet a Thought Leader  Fun Company  Photo Gallery

 Chapter Contacts  Trivia  Nuts & Bolts  Campus Update  Life After IIMs

Aiming to build a stronger community network

Message from the President Hello fellow alumni, On behalf of the Board of IIM Americas, I am delighted to share with you the highlights from Q2 2015. • Pinnacle 2015 – Conference @San Francisco/Bay Area, April 18, 2015 This much awaited annual event was held at Googleplex in Mountain View. The theme was “The Network Effect”. Emcees Arjun Batra, Strategic Enabling & Biz Dev, Intel, Lakshmi Laksmanan, Strategy & Operations, Deloitte and Amith D’Souza, Technical Account Manager, Google kicked off the conference. Prof. Rishikesha Krishnan, Director IIM Indore, Professor of Strategy, Author, Ex-faculty IIM Bangalore; IIM Ahmedabad, Stanford, IIT Kanpur alum inaugurated the conference. Prof. Krishnan complimented IIM Americas for the great job it was doing in bringing the IIM alumni together. he then went on to share the developments at the IIMs and the challenges they were facing today. Ashima Jain, Managing Director, PwC, delivered the opening session address and spoke about an emerging new trend … impact investing … what it is, the challenges and opportunities and how it is changing the way potential investments opportunities are being analyzed. Prof. Sanjiv Das, William & Janice Terry Prof. of Finance, Santa Clara University, addressed several interesting questions about networks and presented two simple applications of network modeling of big data to assess the risk of the US financial system, and to assess the value of VC networks in fostering successful startups. Ashwin Rangan, Chief Innovation Officer & CIO, ICANN, delivered the keynote address and talked about how networks had developed and provided a futuristic perspective on where they were headed. He talked about the interaction between the network effect, world population, the WTO, smart phones and the individual. Phil Mui, EVP, Chief Technology & Product Innovation Officer, Acxiom talked about how collecting “big data” was inherently problematic, how without a holistic approach to use marketing data for recognition, targeting, and measurement, collecting lots of data is no more than hording data and customer-centric opportunities for every marketer to take advantage of.

Ashima Jain President

Message from the President Abhishek Sud, Principal, Centerview Capital Tech. Growth Equity Fund moderated a panel on the IIM Entrepreneur. The panelists were Shekhar Deo, Co-Founder, EngageClick, Avanthi Shah, Founder, NextBrick Solutions and Ajeet Singh, Cofounder & CEO, ThoughtSpot; Co-Founder, Nutanix. They provided unique insights from their experiences as an IIM entrepreneur. You can hear and see certain recorded sessions from Pinnacle 2015 on IIM Americas YouTube channel here IIM Americas board : Here are the office bearers and board members of IIM Americas board Office bearers: Ashima Jain (President & Director) Jayant Swamy (Treasurer & Director) Dr. Beena George ( Secretary & Director) Other board members: Suresh Madan (Chairman & Director) Hazurasingh Siviya (Webmaster & Director) Tarun Mehra (Director) Harish Narasimhan (Director) Sonali Rathi-Pramanik (Director) Social presence: Do take a minute to check out and sign up: Our website ( Our LinkedIn group ( Our Facebook group ( Our Facebook page ( Our YouTube channel ( Our twitter hashtag @iimamericas Stay tuned for announcements and information about our forthcoming initiatives! With best wishes On behalf of IIM Americas board Ashima Jain (President)

Meet a Thought Leader 1. Tell us something about yourself, the early days of your career after graduating from IIM and the progression and career choices that you made?

I graduated in 1983 from IIM Calcutta. My career started like any other IIM graduate with a corporate job at Madura Coats, very well-known brand at that time and they used to have one of the most coveted management training program at those times. During my early days I traveled the interiors of many states including eastern UP and going down into rough parts of Andhra Pradesh with sales rep who were trying to sell sewing thread to people in villages. Even though it was not in line with the expectations that you have after graduating from an IIM grad, the learning was invaluable from the field. I learnt the value of what I was selling, I learnt how to articulate the features of the product and what those mean to the customer and how the customer looks at your product and the competition and how hard is it to sell something. One of the biggest learning I have in my life is that selling is one of the hardest job on the planet. During my seven years with Madura I was involved with many computerization projects at a regional level and at that time I got interested in the whole world of computers. At the same time I also had the urge to do something of my own so I quit Madura Coats to be an entrepreneur. I went on and mortgaged my parents’ home and raised a load of INR 18 Lakhs to setup a software business in 1991. I also got into training business by taking up franchisees from NIIT and grew the franchisees from just one center to five. In 1997 I went to London as part of the Young Professional Chewening Gurukul Scholarship program run by the British Foreign Office. I spent 3-4 months learning Globalization under an interesting program being run by Lord Meghnad Desai. The whole experience was an eye opener to me where I realized I'm not doing justice to my abilities and my potential by living in India and running my small little software business. I decided to come to the US and came here in 1998 initially to New York and then California. I came to California and setup my own company for some time. With the dotcom crash some of my customers also tanked and my business went away. I joined some of my friends at that time and started a company called ClickMarks. We raised a lot of money over $ 25 million from top tier VCs, built that company making the mobile middleware for telecom carrier companies. One of the proudest moment of that time was, as a startup going to Vodafone in UK and get them as a customer. We were not only able to convince Vodafone to become a customer of ours but also to become a strategic investor in the company. In 2005, the company was acquired and after a year I left the company to join Persistent. Persistent at that time was a relatively smaller company, they only had 39 million dollars in revenue and was the Product Engineering Outsourcing Company based in Pune. In about 4-5 years we grew the company to about 180 million in revenue and went public in 2010. After going public, I left Persistent to do another startup SourceBits, this was when mobile app and games were becoming a rage. Sourcebits was a bunch of interesting people working out of Bangalore and we raised lot of money from Sequoia and IDG. SourceBits was sold in 2013 to a UK based company and then I came back to Persistent in a very different and expanded role. I feel I can contribute to the growth of Persistent and make it a billion dollar company and put it on the map here in US.

Sudhir Kulkarni EVP, Persistent Systems TiE Charter Member

Meet a Thought Leader 2. Tell us something about your current role at Persistent Systems?

As things have emerged Persistent has been around for around 25 years and we specialize in a category in what we actually defined called Outsourced Product Engineering. The DNA of the company is that you hire a really smart group of guys that can build similar products that are being built by Silicon Valley startups. You do that in Pune, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Bangalore and etc. Now recently we started doing that in US in cities like Santa Clara and Seattle. The company's product development DNA is now very different and it is focused towards servicing our customer's customer in the past. We used to earlier service companies with software as their business and now we are serving companies whose business is being driven by software. An Uber comes along and changes the business completely for an Avis or a Hertz. An AirBnB comes along and completely changes the game for a Hilton. These changes are not off chance encounter that somebody just started doing an online business, there are very transformational models that are happening in the industry today. This transformation you can call it Digital Transformation as many of competitors in the services business like to call it, you have to think about your business as a software business. I was really stunned when I read recently that Domino's Pizza Company CEO described his company as a software company. They are optimizing a lot of things that are being driven by a software, otherwise who would have thought a pizza company would describe itself as a software company. This is the journey that Persistent is on and which gets me excited. The DNA that we have built in the company over the last 25 years is going to be significantly relevant for a Domino's or a bank or a retailer etc. We are not building simple record based IT system that you need to have but we are building software that we believe is needed to change the game or the way how business is done. For a retailer who is trying to build an Amazon like presence online or a telecom carrier trying to build next gen applications that can go on the phone that the company services. These are the areas that we are passionately following and we feel our DNA of building great software if going to be very critical especially because these products that are being built within the enterprise are not products that are going to be sold to millions of users outside the company. But they are definitely changing the way business is being done. This is where the transformation piece comes in and we have a framework that we have built internally to enable companies to look at IT modernization vs. the digital transformation piece in very different ways. If you communicate within your employees over a social community, it’s a very different form of communication, you are dumping the old form of communicating over the email and you are doing a transformational method of communication which is through the community itself. These are the kind of things we have been engaged with customers on and I think that is most exciting because this is the future and where everybody is headed. If I were to go out on a limb and say an absolute endpoint of future is building some disposable apps, an app that is use and throw, you build these apps and then these are used in the enterprise for a specific function and then they are no more relevant but they will morph into something that get built. That is what is going on in the enterprise space whether it be banking, telecom, health care companies etc. 3. You have founded multiple companies, helped raise VC investments and managed rapidly growing technology companies leading to an acquisition and an IPO. Can you share one such experience with the readers? Let me talk about an acquisition of a company I was working with called Clickmarks, this was a mobile middle ware company where Vodafone was a strategic investor, DFJ had invested in the company as well. There are two major learning/experiences I will share. The first one is around product roadmap and how you think about your business. We were in the process to ship a software to a large company Vodafone that wanted to buy our software but also wanted to be a strategic investor in the company. It's was quiet cathartic for the company because on one hand you have this large customer with a large revenue potential and on the other hand the entire future of the company might be determined based on how we reacted to Vodafone. We almost went down the path where we would have almost turned the whole company upside down in trying to service Vodafone including changing the

Meet a Thought Leader product direction and changing the product road map. That would have been a disastrous outcome because what would have end up happening is just to satisfy one customer we might have forsaken our mission and vision for what exactly the market was all about. We would have end up thinking about making some services money and tweak the product to suit one large customer. Thankfully we checked ourselves realized that this is not how we wanted to do it. We stepped back and said that this is a completely new business and should be forked out as a services business and we did that as a startup and that helped us a lot when we were doing the valuation of our company. If you have a lot more service revenue vs. product revenue then your valuation goes down, we might have gone down that path if we wouldn't have checked ourselves while dealing with Vodafone. Coming back to the process of acquisition, as a startup we were not very well organized from the documentation perspective, financials etc. We were all kosher in terms of financials but we were not organized and that was a big experience. In 2-3 week time frame we had to pull in all kinds of records from all over the place. The company that was acquiring us was a public company so they had to make all kind of disclosures and as the COO of company being acquired the buck stopped with me when it came to helping with all the due diligence stuff. It was pretty painful in terms of understanding what is required and what is not, what's important, what is to be disclosed, what's confidential etc. So that was one experience in 2-3 weeks’ time which showed me the power of having a good operations/processes. If the due diligence had not gone well then the acquisition wouldn’t have happened. Most entrepreneurs live in the moment when it comes to strategy and vision around the startup. It is always very sexy to talk about the app or the product road map etc. but it is not very sexy to talk about operations. Lesson that I learnt from the entire experience is that operations are extremely important and right from the get go if you don't have your act together as a startup you can get dinged and penalized legally financially or regulatory. It's very important even as a startup to have the right controls and focus on all kind of setting up the right operational processes. 4. You are an active member of TiE San Francisco, what got you interested in TiE? What advice will you share with budding entrepreneurs of IIM? I don't think I want to give advice to anyone. People are really smart, when I look at some of the startups that are attached with the TiE Launchpad the talent and passion is unbelievable. I got interested in Tie in 2001, I have been attending many events, and I even chaired a panel once at TiE. I was never fully engaged with TiE until a few years ago when couple of friends asked me to be a charter member. I think it is a good forum of about 2,500 really smart individuals that are charter members. They are helping startups without any expectations, it is almost like a mentor prodigy relationship that many charter members have with the startups in the valley. I was really thrilled at the TieCon this May to see approx. 4,000-5,000 people gathered together and they all were driven by the same passion 'Entrepreneurship'. Part of the reason why I love to be in the valley is that the energy and intellect is just unbelievable when it comes to interacting with people. I wouldn't trade this for any other place. In the last few months I have been holding sessions for some of the entrepreneurs that are in TiE Launchpad to talk about what it means to scale sales in a startup environment. I have this 1-10-100 rule that until the 1st million you are not even a company, until the first 10 million the founder should continue to do the sales and to scale to a 100 million one needs a team of professional sales folks. Every business is unique and every person is unique, new graduates from IIM should look at areas that are close to their passion and find opportunities where they could turn into entrepreneur managers as opposed to being managers in the company, I think they will add more values to the eco-system.

‘Fun company’ !!! A ‘fun business micro-blog’ by Tarun Mehra (CEO, Fuld Omniscope and Board Member, IIM Americas) Consider these facts: • There are about 1,800 ‘Photography Startups ‘currently listed on Angel List at an average valuation of ~$4MM ( Instagram is currently valued at about $35Bn.

• There are about 525 ‘Aerospace Startups’ currently listed on Angel List at an average valuation of ~$4.6MM ( SpaceX is currently valued at about $12Bn. • There are about 2,786 ‘Big Data’ currently listed on Angel List at an average valuation of ~$4.5MM ( There is clearly a lot of entrepreneurial and investor interest in the areas of photography, aerospace and big data. If you are wondering (like I did!) whether there is a fun company out there that marries these three different areas, the answer is Yes. Below are a few details about such an interesting ‘startup’ that recently closed a $118MM Series C round led by IFC and Data Collective. Name – Planet Labs ( Industry – Aerospace, Big Data, Predictive Analytics, Hardware Mission/ Goal – ‘In Space for Betterment of Life on Earth’

What does the company do and what’s interesting about them: -

Company’s API and satellite imagery platform provide access to data with global coverage, high relevance, autonomous operations, and ease of use.


The platform is enabled by agile aerospace. The company claims that they - 1) embrace Silicon Valley best practices across spacecraft development, mission control, and product development, and 2) leverage heavy investment made in consumer technology and that they’re applying Moore’s Law to satellites.


Founding team includes ex-NASA scientists


Per their website – “Planet Labs operates the largest ever fleet of earth-imaging satellites, working around the clock to create a more transparent and accessible planet. Our broad-coverage and high-resolution imagery is ready to support your humanitarian, environmental, and business needs.”

*IIM Americas does not intend to endorse this company in any regards

‘Fun company’ !!! -

Since the time they launched their first set of mini-satellites (called Flock 1), the company has been covered by several industry journals, channels and magazines. Read more here


CNN wrote – “Planet Labs, a Californian startup which had its beginnings in a garage in 2012, is pushing satellite miniaturization to its limits. Last year, they launched Flock 1, an array of 28 satellites that now constitutes the world's largest constellation of Earth imaging satellites. They are called Doves, their mission is to map every inch of the planet, and each of them is no larger than a shoe box.”

I hope you found this Fun Company interesting. If you like reading this, and have ideas, suggestions or feedback about this micro-blog, please feel free to reach out at We would love to hear your views on how to make this ‘more fun’!

*IIM Americas does not intend to endorse this company in any regards

Pinnacle 2015, San Francisco

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

Contacts Atlanta Austin


Ketan Kumar


Kulbir Singh


Ajat Dhawal


Budhaditya (Adi) Gupta


Navjeet Singh


Ranganathan Chandrasekaran




Anil Maheshwari


Akhila Rey



Sanjeev Bode



Mohan Natarajan


Sandeep Walia


Nagam Rao


Prakash Grama


Amita Nagananda

New York / New Jersey


Amit Kohad



Uday Patki

San Francisco / Bay Area


Hari Katla

Los Angeles



Washington DC


Sudha Ranganathan


Prof. Shailendra


Suyash Lad


Deepak Singh


Arpita Agarwal


Vivek Deenadayalu


Tarun Sen


Anil Chandramani

This is the updated list of our various chapters and the respective Chapter Contacts. If you’d like to volunteer or get involved in any way, please feel free to contact the relevant people.


ACROSS 5 What publication started in 1900 by two tire manufacturers evolved into its current-day version after its originators realized the popularity of a section not related to tires/autos and whose integrity is preserved to this day by anonymous inspectors/reviewers? 8 Company is named after its founder Min Kao, Gary Burrell 9 Citigroup economist Ebrahim Rahbari coined the term _______ to describe the risk of Greece leaving the euro area 10 ______ is the largest employer amongst publicly listed companies. 14 The firm Sterling Cooper featured in the hit TV series Mad Men is located in ________ Avenue part of New York? 16 in economics what do we call a situation when there is one buyer 17 In response to ________ dairy girl mascot Sylvester DaCunha create the Amul girl 40 years ago? DOWN 1 Ellen Pao resigned from which company after facing an all-out revolt on the site in the wake of the firing of an employee

DOWN 2 In the 1925 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, who was credited with writing the article on mass production? 3 Jim O'Neill, the noted economist who coined the term BRIC for the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China, is eyeing investment opportunities in other regions and has coined the new acronym ______ 4 Aetna (AET) announced its acquisition of ________, a company focused on managing health benefits for government-sponsored enrollee

6 John Chambers the current CEO of Cisco will step down on July 26, 2015 to hand over the reins to ______ 7 ______ was founded in 1907 in Seattle, Washington and had the name American Messenger Company. 11 Which brand introduced mobile phones with dual SIM and 30 day battery recharge for the first time in India? 12 Ralph Joel Roberts was an American businessman and the co-founder of _______ and was its chief executive officer for 46 years. 13 Red Barn, now a historic site in the US, was the original manufacturing site of which company? 15 ________ Air the original seller of Bubble Wrap since 1960, is rolling out a revamped version of its signature product dubbed as iBubble Wrap.

Nuts & Bolts

Opportunities for Sponsorships

Block Your Calendar • Brunch with Mallika Sarabhai, world

Thank you all for the continued support

renowned dancer on Sunday

towards your IIM alma mater and


energized participation in alumni activities and events. As we are all well aware, IIM Americas is a non-profit organization, and sponsorship is a key source of sustenance towards meeting our objectives. Obtaining sponsorship for ongoing activities and/or specific

events is a continuous journey and your help in every way is much appreciated. If you have contacts and/or leads and would like to help with obtaining sponsorship, please reach out to Jayant Swamy, IIM Americas Board member ( who is championing this effort for 2015.

Stay Tuned to ml to learn about more events.

Campus update Indian Institute of Management Ahmeda bad sets up JSW School of Public Policy Economic Times The Indian Institute of ManagementAhmedabad (IIMA) is setting up JSW School of Public Policy at the IIM-A campus with financial support ... Government in Talks with All Stakeholders on IIM Draft Bill, Decision Expected Soon NDTV The controversial Draft Indian Institute of Management (IIM ) Bill that seeks to curtail autonomy of the IIMs is likely to be tabled in the ... GMAC announces IIM Indore as their 10th member school in India Economic Times GMAC announces IIM Indore as their 10th member school in India ... XLRI, Xavier School of Managementand Great Lakes Institute of Management. Establishment of six new Indian Institutes of Management Business Standard The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today gave its approval for setting up of six new Indian Institutes of .. BRICS Bank Chief KV Kamath Steps Down as Chairman of IIM Indore NDTV ... chief of the New Development Bank of BRICS nations, has stepped down from the

post of chairman of the Indian Institute of Management, Indore.

IIMB will launch free online courses in July Times of India IIMB is the first Indian Institute of Management to tie up with edX, a MOOC provider founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ... Government may open IIT, IIM campuses abroad Hindustan Times ... considering opening Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) campuses in countries like Sri Lanka, Mauritius and ... Raman Kumar Receives 2015 William E. Wine Award India West He received his bachelor's degree from Banaras Hindu University, a master's degree from the Indian Institute of ManagementCalcutta, and a Ph.D. IIMB Ranked 48th in FT's Top 50 The New Indian Express The Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB), has been ranked 48th in the Financial Times Executive Education 2015 Top 50 ...

Life After IIMS Ishu (Arun Isukapalli) is an IIM - I '07 graduate who infrequently blogs at He is a Business Analysis Manager near Washington, DC.

trivia- solution

IIM Americas Newsletter Q2 '15  

Quarterly newsletter of IIM Alumni Association in Americas

IIM Americas Newsletter Q2 '15  

Quarterly newsletter of IIM Alumni Association in Americas