Tuesday, May 26, 2009

IT, telecom dominate PoI’s final shortlist

IT and telecom seem to be the hottest sectors in the final shortlist of The Power of Ideas programme. Of the 254 ideas shortlisted by The Economic Times and angel partner, Indian Angel Network, 57 came from the IT/technology-enabled services (ITES) sectors. Another 14 ideas were from the internet space, taking the total number of IT and IT-based business ideas to a whopping 28%.

Almost 30 out of the 71 ideas related to tech sector came from the south of India — particularly Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. In fact, many ideas in technology proliferated because of the telecom boom. Sharat Jain, Delhi-based CEO and founder of rechargeitnow.com, who is one of the shortlisted entrepreneurs says, “We chose telecom because of the large mobile user base in the country, close to 42 crore, of which 92% subscribers are prepaid. About Rs 50,000 crore of transaction takes place through prepaid mobile cards.”

Mr Jain had earlier worked in positions as head of Dentsu India, an auto-comp maker, and Teleglobe, a VoIP-based venture. His venture rechargeitnow.com is a website that lets users recharge online through various payment modes, from direct debit to cash cards.

Another idea related to the mobile medium came from Noida-based Luna Ergonomics, founded by Abhijit Bhattacharjee. The company’s site called paninikeypad.com provides a vernacular dictionary and statistical tools for vernacular messaging. “Currently, no other dictionary offers regional language support in India. We chose mobile as a medium because applications developed for the mobile are going to be more pervasive than those developed for
the web.”

About 23 of the 71 ideas related to technology came from people under the age of 30. About 32 ideas came from people aged between 30 and 40. Also, almost 18 of the 71 technology-related ideas have come from people who hold post (technical) graduate degrees in management or engineering.

Exemplifying such trends are people like Shilpi Aggarwal, an MBA from Fore School of Management,
who is all set to launch a web ecommerce portal with just two years of experience in the IT industry. “I chose the internet as a medium as the product I am going to market is a global one and tech-related marketing for it has not started as yet,” she says. Truly, IT has proved itself to be the most effective field for new ideas.

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