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Modi highlights Indian talent in Silicon Valley

Posted: 21 Oct 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Digital India  Make in India  knowledge economy  intellectual property 

Indian entrepreneurs now run many Silicon Valley companies, and this "trend" is simply hard to miss for the prime minister of India, Narendra Damodardas Modi, who spoke at a reception at the Fairmont Hotel on Sept. 27.

His talk was on his vision of "Make in India," and "Digital India." Mobiveil, founded by Silicon Valley-based Indian entrepreneurs with significant semiconductor intellectual property design and development activities in India, was one of the companies invited to attend the dinner hosted by the Ambassador of India, Arun K Singh. Among others present were the CEOs of Microsoft, Google, Qualcomm, Cisco and Adobe.

Prime Minister Modi said that the Asia Pacific Region will shape the course of this century and that India and the United States, the world's two largest democracies, are located at the two ends of this region.

Indian and American techies have worked together for many years shaping the knowledge economy. A couple of pioneers that comes to mind are Vinod Khosla, a founder of Sun Micro Systems (along with Scott McNealy, Bill Joy and Andy Bechtolsheim), and Prabhu Goel, founder of Gateway Design Automation who invented Verilog that revolutionised semiconductor design. The recent appointment of Indian-born techies to the top positions at Microsoft and Google was widely reported in the media, and it augurs well for the U.S.-India relationship on the technology front.

Like Mobiveil, Silicon Valley has many enterprises founded by entrepreneurs of Indian origin who landed in the valley in the '90s and '00s working for high tech firms.

I was part of this wave and my journey began in 1989 when I landed in Silicon Valley as a VLSI engineer working on next generation bipolar designs for HP.

After my contract was over, I was hired by Cadence and I worked there till 1997 when I co-founded my first start-up GDA Technologies with a couple of my friends.

Ten years later, our company was acquired by one of the largest private companies in India, L&T. Our second venture, Mobiveil, was founded in 2012 where we license unique semiconductor intellectual property to leading fabless semiconductor companies around the world. To me the arrival of the Indian Prime Minister highlighted the contribution of Indian expertise in the development of the high tech world emerging out of Silicon Valley, and it was a very proud moment for many of us who were part of this journey for the last two decades.

Democracy and education

One has to give credit to PM Modi for recognising the value of technology, entrepreneurship and the talent in Silicon Valley in general and of the Indian Diaspora in particular.

He commented that while Silicon Valley is one of the last places where the sun sets, the technology companies from the valley have been in the forefront of new sunrise that is changing the way people live, interact and communicate.

It is also worth noting that while PM Modi was embracing Internet, social media and promoting it to improve the lives of the poor in India, leaders of many countries are fearful of their citizens gaining access to information. This is because like in the United States, India also has a vibrant democracy and thriving social media with few restrictions, and the PM knows that the more people are educated and connected the better it is for the country.

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