Bangalore as Silicon Valley? Think again

Amidst a myriad of investors and entrepreneurs rushing to serve the ripe Indian market, start up accelerator The Morpheus thinks it's still a long way before India can be pitted against the Silicon Valley.


For all those who believe that we can create our own Silicon Valley in Bangalore with Indian companies, there's only one thing start up accelerator, The Morpheus has to say to them: Think again.

Sameer Guglani, promoter of the Chandigarh based start up accelerator, The Morpheus is betting big on building global products and his technique to achieving this is simple-plant as many companies in the Silicon Valley.

"What we look for in a company is not ideas but strong teams. Many entrepreneurs apply to us without any concrete ideas in mind. But we want to see passion in them. Passion to build global products and move to the Valley," said Guglani who has founded India's first movie rental service, Madhouse, as early as 2004 which was acquired by Seventymm.

 Bangalore as Silicon Valley? Think again

The Morpheus team: From left to right, Sarvjit Ahuja, Sameer Guglani and Nandini Hirianniah

Morpheus boasts a portfolio of companies where close to 30% of those have moved to the Valley and have gotten funded by some of the biggest venture capital firms in the Valley. There's a reason why Guglani insists that start ups move there-maturity of the ecosystem. " The Silicon Valley ecosystem is much more mature than ours here. We believe that if even if you plant one good company in that ecosystem, it's enough," he noted.

Close to 15 companies out of 40 in the Morpheus portfolio have either set up offices in the Valley or are in the process of doing so. Some of these include-InterviewStreet.com, which recently bagged a contract from the White House, Grexit, funded by Citrix,which provides a collaborative email solution.

Morpheus which started in 2008 by Guglani and his wife,Nandini Hirianniah makes sure that it provides enough help to its portfolio companies to set up in the US by putting them in touch with lawyers in the Valley and other entrepreneurs who host the newcomers.The accelerator also has a senior venture capitalist in the Valley who will join the Morpheus board

as a partner and help in organizing demo day in the Valley next year where start ups pitch and showcase their ideas/venture.

Guglani's reasons for having a Valley presence is very obvious-better valuations and faster exit. What stops other investors from doing it then?

"The challenge that Indian start up ecosystem faces is the mindset of the companies and VC, seed funds to only focus on the Indian market. This hampers the company from having a global appeal. This according to me is wrong. If you are a great company, you must build products for a global audience," Guglani says almost irked.

First is the mindset issue and the second one is the obsession with the ability to code. To overcome the latter, Morpheus encourages diverse teams where founders are not engineers. "You need not be the guy who codes, you should only understand technology and be passionate and we will handle the rest," Guglani said reassuringly.

The accelerator ties up with 'Start up Techies', a firm which helps companies with technology and building programmes in return for equity.

Morpheus is trying to challenge everything that are prerequisites in the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem by encouraging teams to solve global problems, by encouraging non-tech talent to start tech companies. The success they garner could be a game changer. Agree?


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