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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thousand crores for import of glass technology for cosmetics and perfumes

Mint carried news about Piraml Glass revival. In 2005, the Indian company acquired part of an Bankrupt American firm, Glass Group for $18 milion, invested additional Rs 300 crores and as on 2009 took a debt of Rs 1,357 crores. Very fascinating account in managing technology.
In 1918, Harding family they built their plant and called it Harding Glass Company. By 1965 HGI had grown to 53 operations in 8 states. The Glass Group was formed in1999 by a group of glass industry professionals to develop the necessary software tools and technology that would allow the Glass Industry to utilize Internet communications technology in an effort to reduce supply chain management costs for all industry participants, Glasslink and Directlink are their poremium products. When Glass Group filed bankruptcy petition, the pharma glassware part was acquired by German firm Gerresheimer Group . The 20 $million acquisition comprised both the container glass works in Millville and its 45.7% share in the Chinese specialty glass manufacturer Beijing Wheaton. The Chinese operations expanded and Gerresheimer now runs 7 plants in China. The acquisition helped Gerresheimer to expand its business in USA- it had a strong lead in the field of tubular glass and pharmaceutical packaging produced from it, while in the field of container glass for pharmaceutics the Gerresheimer Group was in the past represented in the American market by only one plant. The German firm understands the technology.
The Germans did not bid for Flat River Glass, which employs about 530, making glass containers for the cosmetics industry. Australian glassmaker Stölzle-Oberglas expressed interest in the facility and its employees. Piramal Glass succeeds in outbidding the Australian fiorm and bags the assets- eight lines of Type III flint bottles, for C&P, Pharma, liquor and food products industries.
House of Piramal had great reputation for growing with acquisitions. Where did things go wrong in US deal?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Venkat Jasti founder of Suven Life Sciences

Mr. Venkat Jasti holds a Master degree in Pharmacy from Andhra University and M.S. in Industrial Pharmacy, St.John's University, NY, USA. Mr. Jasti started his career as a Production Officer in Warner Hindustan Limited and later on migrated to USA wherein he owned and operated a chain of 6 community pharmacies in the United States for 12 years. He came back to India and established Suven Pharmaceuticals Limited in the year 1989.
The risky business of drug discovery has resulted in a new 'co-opetitive' approach. Today, many Indian pharma companies are partnering with Big Pharma, giving rise to different collaborative drug discovery models.Some of the most common models used by pharma companies are alliances, joint ventures (JVs), licensing, co-development, de-merging R&D units, contract services etc. Contract services range from fee-for-service through alliances and collaborations. Suven has adopted a concept-to-clinical candidate development model, ie full-scale innovation. This involves negotiated research funding, success-based milestones which accrue throughout the collaboration and if the discovered candidate makes it to the market after clinical development, royalties on world wide sales.
Suven started as supplier of intermediates for new chemical entities (drugs under development) as a thrust area and are also into contract research and manufacturing services (CRAMS). So far developed more than 130 intermediates for new chemical entities worldwide these had focussed on theurepatic category like anti-cholesterol, anti-depressant, anti-AIDS, anti-hypertension, anti-convulsant and medical imaging.
In 2008, Suven signed a second agreement with Eli Lilly and Company to collaborate on the pre-clinical research of molecules in the therapeutic area of central nervous system disorders (CNS).
As per the collaboration agreement, Suven will be responsible for discovery activities related to the identification and selection of clinical candidates in the area of CNS, in close association with Lilly. Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, Suven will receive research funding and as well as potential discovery and development milestone payments in the range of $19 million to $23 million per candidate, and potential royalties on net sales of any products that may be successfully commercialized from the collaboration.
It recently secured one more Product patent from EPO for NCE for treatment of Neurodegenerative disceases.

Who will dominate Smart Meter market-US, EU or Chinese players?

The US stimulus package gives a big push to Smart Grid and Smart meters. Smart grid will utilize wireless sensor networks, software, and computing to enable utilities to see how much and where energy is being consumed, and if there are problems or blackouts in the network. Homeowners will be able to see how much energy they’ve consumed and adjust their consumption habits accordingly. Smart meters will pave the way for real-time pricing, where energy is priced at different rates depending on the time of day and much demand there is for the electricity. Utilities can use real-time pricing to better manage the loads on the grid, while home owners can use it to cut their monthly energy bills. President Obama has called for the installation of 40 million smart meters and 3,000 miles of transmission lines. Who gets the market?
Itron and GE have been battling it out for the large utility deployments. The only strong European player is Landis+Gyr. Now, British Gas teams up with Landis+ Gyr to deploy up to one million of Landis+Gyr’s “dual fuel” electricity and gas smart meters, along with Landis+Gyr’s innovative touch screen in home display, in UK customer homes, marking one of the fastest, largest and most advanced smart meter deployments in Europe. As part of the development, Landis+Gyr will share details of its smart metering system with third parties, allowing UK businesses a fast track to the creation of new and innovative solutions aimed at consumers, suppliers and utilities alike.
This again shows the importance of national policies in creating demand for innovations.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Villgro Fellowships

Interested in Villgro fellowships? Apply before 20th April 2010. For further information write to

Top 10 technologies identified by Gartner

Gartner, Inc. analysts highlighted the top 10 technologies and trends that will be strategic for most organizations in 2010. Gartner defines a strategic technology as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.The top 10 strategic technologies for 2010 include:Cloud Computing, Advanced Analytics, Client Computing, IT for Green, Reshaping the Data Center, Social Computing, Security – Activity Monitoring, Flash Memory, Virtualization for Availability and Mobile Applications. Reading this together with Gartner Hype cycle 2009, I see some of our start-ups working in hot & promising topics like Speech recognition, Location aware applications, Wikis, Idea Management, Web 2.0, Mobile phone payment systems, RFID, Home Health monitoring. They would do better if enlightened users offer to test & adopt their products.

Duct Inspection Robot

Business Line covered ITsAP expo, Hyderabad where several start-ups participated. One of the participant start-up Robosoft systems was covered by Shivani Shinde in Business Standard. The story needs to be retold - a young passionate student wins prize in Robotic competition in 2004 at IITB, approached by Duct Cleaning firm EPSCO to develop low cost robots for duct cleaning and intial success leads to more orders from others like Bluestar.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Patent Portfolio management with IP score 2.2

IPscore® 2.2 is a tool for evaluation of patents and technological development projects. It
provides both qualitative and quantitative evaluation in the form of a financial forecast showing
the net present value of the evaluated technology. The Danish Patent and Trademark Office developed IPscore® 2.0, in collaboration with Professor Jan Mouritsen, the Copenhagen Business School and a number of Danish companies. The European Patent Office purchased the tool from the Danish Patent and Trademark Office. IPscore® 2.2, developed by the European Patent Office, is a multilingual and slightly improved version. IPscore® 2.2 is made available to users free of charge in order to support the patent strategy of companies, mainly SMEs and to steer the volume of applications by eliminating potentially “worthless” applications.
More at EPO:

Friday, March 26, 2010


ideaken is an open innovation and co-creation platform promoted by Jayesh Badani. See the demo at:

Aikon Labs

Planet Aikon is an `Enterprise Idea Management & Execution Platform' promoted by RR Dasgupta andDilip Thomas Ittyera. Aikon Labs LLC ,the start-up venture behind PlanetAikon™ is incorporated in the State of Delaware in US and the core team is based out of Pune. We need to encouarge Idea Management tools and Platforms and this is an welcome addition.

Innovator of LPG kits for scooter needs funds

Read the story of innovator Rajesh Nair, who is developing LPG Kit for 2 wheelers. Should be a case for support under TePP. Full story : Economic Times

Thursday, March 25, 2010

AVAZ from Invention Lab, Chennai

Very happy to read about this TePP facilitated innovation in `The Better India'. Dr Gangi Reddy as TUC coordinator connected the innovator Ajit Narayanan to TePP. wish the startup all success. It is another great story from Better India- read on

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Xerox India Innovation Hub

Xerox takes Open Innovation route to increase cooperation with Indian researchers. Research activities at the India Innovation Hub have two core focus areas. The first of these aims at exploring and developing innovative document management solutions for emerging markets by bringing Xerox’s world-class expertise in imaging, smart document management, linguistics, and ethnography to address locally relevant problems. Projects under this theme range from modeling and analysis of document supply chains, multilingual technologies, mobile applications, and rural technology initiatives.
An equally important focus is on leveraging the latest technologies and paradigms, such as cloud and web computing, human computation, social networks and computational economics, to advance innovation in solutions and services delivery for Xerox’s global markets. Projects under this theme include on-line market places for services, mobile workflows and applications for enterprises, social network modeling for targeted information and cloud-based document solutions.
The India Innovation Hub is located at the Olympia Technology Park in Chennai, India.
Contact Details:

Design Directions

Meet Satish Gokhale , designer behind SWACH low cost water filter of TATA Chemicals. Design Directions, Pune is promoted by Satish and Falguni Gokhale both alumni of National Institute of Design.Design Directions designs software user interfaces (GUI), medical products, electronic products and capital equipment, brand identity, package design and sales communication that deliver maximum value to the end user.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Technologies for transfer from Media Lab Asia

Media lab Asia works with several research partners and regularly comes out with technologies for transfer. Some technologies on offer:
eGalla- Retail Management System
eDhanwantari: Hospital Management system
ganitmitra: maths preparation guide for Class XI & XII
Virtual Labs for Life Science: Life science experiments for class XI & XII.

Interested can write to Managing Director, Goswami

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Will Tejas survive Chinese competition?

Indian Innovators get awards but no rewards is a common refrain.
The case of anti dumping duty on Chinese SDH equipment raises two old issues- do we need to support local innovators and if so do we know how to support our innovators?
Case in brief : based on complaint by Tejas government imposed anti-dumping duty and court had set aside that imposition. Supporters of (few) Indian innovators say that protection is essential for survival but ( large number of) free market pundits argue that protection increases capital cost of service providers and if Chinese manufacturers are willing to supply at below (Indian) cost then why bother, the benefit goes to millions of Indian customers in the form of low charges.
Some facts:
1. Well known is Chinese government support for Huawei .
2. Every other telecom network equipment manufcaturer received their govt support at initial stage.
Ericsson was founded in 1876 by Lars Magnus Ericsson, a young mechanic who set up a small workshop taking in telegraph instruments for repairs. They made it big in telephone exchange (AXE) with support from their country operator Televerket. Acceptance in the home market provided them needed eligibility criteria for global supply and they expanded to Austria, France and Saudi Arabia etc.
3. Prof Ashok jhunjunwala has tons of data to prove that local capabilities played a significant role in keeping capex costs low in India.

Will Tejas survive to receive one more award??

Thursday, March 11, 2010

TePP Innovator Kranti is MIT TR35 innovator of the year 2010

TePP innovators Kranti Vistakula, Prajwal Kumar, Arvind Narayanan, Ashish Bhat, Shashikant Suryanarayanan are among the MIT TR 35 awardees and Kranti is the Innovator of the Year. I would like to reflect on the TePP process :
Innovator Kranti (a student) contacted me ( from Hyderabad) on email with his idea of an apparel which can be cooled based on Peltier Effect. TePP had earlier rejected few proposals aimed at demonstrating Peltier Effect as the product targeted was not clear or innovator was not percieved as capable of working on his idea. I referred his proposal (again on e mail) to Dr Ramamurthy, Retired Director of ERDA living in Hyderabad. He discussed with Kranti and gave his recommendation saying that Peltier Effect was known but the innovator had something new to offer to dissipate heat and it was worth trying. The evaluated proposal was taken to the committee chaired by Prof Amarnath of IITB. Though the committee was named Screening Committee , we deliberately avoided screening with checklist and discussion always focussed on desirability and feasibility of the idea. Two committee members Dr Anil Wali of FITT and Mahesh Krovidi of NID offered to incubate his idea. The innovator took technical assistance from IITD and incubation support at NID. He also got NID designer Parsenjit as partner.
Best Practices of TePP
1. Provide innovators an opportunity to refine the proposal before taking it to committee.
2. Respect Expert and value his views. We invented the word `Technology Angel' for our experts.
3. Avoid checklists and focus on implementation in committee meetings.
4.Respect all stakeholders as partners.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Cisco-I Prize

Cisco announces its second Cisco I-Prize contest. In this open, global competition entrepreneurs submit proposals and collaborate to create the seed idea for Cisco's next billion-dollar business.

Idea submissions should fall in one of four categories:

  • The Future of Work: New solutions that accelerate and change the way we do business
  • The Connected Life: Technological inspirations that dramatically improve living conditions and disseminate culture
  • New Ways to Learn: Next-generation solutions that transform when, where, and how people learn.
  • The Future of Entertainment: New solutions that change how people play together

The winning team will receive a grand prize of $250,000.

Apple patents

Here's an illustrated guide to the 20 iPhone patents that Apple's suing HTC over.
Source: gigmodo

National Clean Energy Fund

The Finance Bill 2010-11 has created a corpus called National Clean Energy Fund, which will invest in entrepreneurial ventures and research in the field of clean energy technologies. The money for this will be garnered through a so-called ‘clean energy cess’ — Rs 50 on every tonne of coal, both domestic and imported. The government didn’t say how much the new cess would bring in, but a back-of-the-envelope calculation by ET indicates that a sum of Rs 2,500 crore may not be unrealistic. How to leverage the fund? take a clue from China- support Indian private business to invest in start-ups in USA and Europe.
China has set aside a whopping $200.8 billion in stimulus funding for cleantech, 79 percent more than the $112.2 billion the U.S.These numbers mean that governments, in essence, have become the biggest cleantech venture capitalists – with China as the largest player by far. Here is an example: vanadium redox flow batteries were being developed in Vancouver, Canada by a company called VRB Power Systems and chinese firm Prudent Energy bought out the struggling company’s assets in Jan. 2009. Later the Chinese firm has raised a $22 million Series C round to build its Beijing manufacturing capacity for vanadium redox flow batteries.

The traditional way of funding Indian public sector units like CEL / BHEL or CSIR labs (CECRI) & IITs to develop clean technologies would take us no where. The starting point is not research but access to patented technology. Will government dare to lend stimuls money to firms to buy out start-up firms from abroad???

Friday, March 05, 2010

Start-up funds from Morpheus

Morpheus is now accepting applications for its fourth batch of startups. Last date for submission is 10 Mar 2010. There will be mentoring and seed funding of Rs 5 lakhs. See their existing portfolio of start-ups at:

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Economists Innovation Awards

THE ECONOMIST’S ninth annual Innovation Summit will take place in London on October 22nd. You can nominate outstanding innovators in seven categories: bioscience (which includes medical devices, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and agriculture); energy and the environment; computing and telecommunications; “no boundaries” (which includes materials science, nanotechnology and other emerging fields); consumer products and services; business processes; and social and economic innovation, a category that recognises individuals who have pioneered novel technologies and business models that improve everyday lives.
Nominees should be people, not companies, who are responsible for an innovation that has been a proven success in the past decade. Please submit your nominations by e-mail to, giving the nominee’s name, affiliation and contact information, and a 200-word summary explaining why he or she deserves the award in a particular category. Nominations can also be submitted online at The deadline is April 1st.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Evoke- crash course in changing the world

Want to learn how to change the world as social innovator. World Bank Institute starts a new trend in education with a game as means to learn. Play the game at:

Yoga instruments for pranayam

Benefits of doing anulom vilom are known but many do not spend sufficient time doing these simple breathing exercises. Innovator Santam Singh has got an instrument to do that for you. See his web site or call him 9888576622 .