Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Days 1 & 2 of Silicon Dragon ventures in India

Day 2 in India and already what an amazing experience! Yes, I’ve been here before . . . so I have some idea of what I'm getting into

Late yesterday morning, while I was fighting jetlag, my PC crashed and all my files disappeared. As luck would have it, a call to my good contact at Tie Mumbai managed to find a willing and able IT guy to rescue me. By mid-afternoon, this well-trained Indian software engineer showed up at my hotel, and in less than one hour – I am not kidding – my computer was back, better than before. Turns out my trusty laptop had picked up a nasty virus. A download of some malware fix-it software cleared up the problem fast! Wonder why Norton didn't find it.  And we got the low memory problem solved too on my PC by dumping a bunch of http files.

The evening was time to celebrate that all was not lost. After an hour-long ride from my hotel in south Mumbai, I arrived at the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai and attended the opening dinner, poolside, for NASSCOM speakers.  There, I got an earful from a who's who of high tech in India about what’s wrong and right about entrepreneurship in India.

This morning (Valentine’s Day), I checked in at Apex ‘Summit, where I got to witness legendary entrepreneur and investor Kanwal Rekhi speak candidly about his outlook for the venture ecosystem here. Afterward, Rekhi was surrounded by young entrepreneurs who hung on his every word of advice (I’m chairing a panel he’s on at VC Circle in Delhi, Feb. 15, so more on this topic later on).  

Then, today I managed to miss my flight from Mumbai to Delhi. We got stuck in a horrible traffic jam while passing through some of the worst slums I’ve seen in India.  At the airport, I would have had time to make the flight – if only I’d realized that you have to print your flight reservation and show the print-out to get a boarding pass. So much for high tech!

Jet Airways put me on the next flight -- with a change fee! -- and I passed the time on the airport Wi-Fi – which by the way, you get access to through by a code sent SMS to your Indian mobile phone.