indian-entrepreneurs
Business Management

Synechron Interview: There is Not Enough Indian Tech Entrepreneurialism

Faisal Husain, Global CEO and Founder at Synechron talks about Indian entrepreneurialism and the future for Indian companies

“I think there are more of us [entrepreneurs] now,” says Faisal Husain over the phone, “which is an encouraging sign. [But] we’re probably [still] at the beginning or early part of the phase. Indians by nature are very entrepreneurial, [but] mostly in traditional businesses. We have a great history of being astute businessmen.”

Husain believes, however, in the field of technology Indians could do more. He himself founded Synechron with a partner in 2001 at the age of 26 to fill a gap in the IT services market. Now the company operates across five countries and provides IT consultancy and outsourcing, predominantly to the financial services market. But India needs more tech success stories.

“I can see [tech entrepreneurialism] happening – I like to think I’m part of it, but I think more needs to be done to encourage entrepreneurship [in this area]. It is still a work in progress, although it has improved over the last ten years.”

Entrepreneurial success stories such as travel company Make My Trip and mobile company, Micromax can help inspire others to follow. “As a culture, until recently, we did not have the VC culture,” he adds. And even though Synechron itself decided not to take VC funding, having such opportunities in place makes it easier for companies to progress.

“When successful companies become known and their story becomes known it gives more encouragement to others,” he says. “One of my gripes with the Indian media is they don’t endorse and celebrate those stories as much as they should. If they do give them the proper coverage it will inspire more people. [At present] a lot of the coverage in India is focused more on the established family businesses that have been going on for many generations.”

Indian Companies: Misconceptions, Opportunities & Things Holding Them Back

Husain sees one of the big misconceptions in the West is that only the low end of work that is being done in India. “That argument may have been true 10–15 years ago,” he says but now many companies   “have used the Indian model to deliver very high end services that are on a par with anything in the West.”

This is compounded by the fact you have a whole new generation of companies, a lot of which have been started by Indians who have come back to the country with overseas experience. Yet he believes the big opportunity is to move out of the mould of being an Indian company.

“If the end market is being global, we should be a global company.  I don’t like to talk about Synechron as an Indian company - I like to talk about it as a global multi-national company. Yes, a lot of people are in India. I myself am a proud Indian, but from a business perspective we have to be completely global.

“Our supply base is currently India, but if tomorrow somewhere comes up that is more attractive than India we have should have no problem moving there,” he adds. “We are completely neutral and I strongly believe that in each end market we’re targeting, we should invest and hire in those markets. In America we should be very American firm, in Europe we should be a very European firm in Asia we should be a very Asian firm. This is a very challenging path for Indian firms because they [tend to] send Indians to all these locations, rather than hiring [people] from there.”

Husain believes there are four main cultural problems that are holding Indian companies back. These are insularity, a tendency to be very risk averse (“hesitate in making in-organic moves, such as acquiring other companies”) a lack of innovation (“very robotic”) and finally the growing risk of wage inflation. “If wages continue to rise then the low cost advantage will erode.”

“Entrepreneurship is in the blood of Indians,” he says. “It is something that is cultural, but in my view it has not been the case in more technological fields.  If you look at the top five IT companies by size only one of them was the result of IT entrepreneurial journey, which is Infosys.”

“We have to do more,” he concludes. “There are recent success stories that we can try to emulate. The press could do more by highlighting and celebrating them.”

 

 

Kathryn Cave is Editor at IDG Connect

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