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  • InduQin

Bitten by the startup bug, Indians in the US are morphing into entrepreneurs

When Nishant Nair, an engineer from Datta Meghe College in Mumbai, started working at Wipro in Bengaluru, he didn’t have any ‘plans’ to become a founder. A year into the job, he moved to the US, where he had stints at top companies such as GE, Qualcomm, LinkedIn, and Yelp customising business-software applications. That’s when he saw an opportunity to build an enterprise-monetisation platform, or a platform to manage subscription services.

In 2016, Nair started RecVue, a recurring billing- and revenue-solutions provider for businesses. The startup raised around USD20 million between 2017 and 2021 from three US-based venture capital (VC) funds — Cota Capital, Epic Ventures, and Long Light Capital. The Palo Alto, California-based firm now employs 100 people, and Nair now has big ‘plans’.

“Our goal is to be a leader in this space,” he says.

Shub Bhowmick, an engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (IIT-BHU), spent a couple of years making biscuits at Britannia Industries in Mumbai after graduation.

“It wasn’t a fun job,” Bhowmick recalls.

He joined Infosys in 1998 and three years later moved to the US on a work visa. In 2013, Bhowmick teamed up with his BHU batchmate Sumit Mehra, and Shashank Dubey, whom he had met during his brief stint at Mu Sigma, to start Tredence. The California-based analytics platform now employs 1,500 people and has 30-40 Fortune 500 companies among its clients across retail, consumer goods, and hospitality sectors.

Nair and Bhowmick are among the growing list of Indian immigrants in the US who are starting companies, mostly in the B2B space. Others include Baiju Bhatt, co-founder and CEO of stock-trading app Robinhood; Rohan Seth, co-founder of social audio app Clubhouse; and Apoorva Mehta, founder and CEO of grocery-delivery firm Instacart.

According to Ashish Gupta, who co-founded Gurugram-based research and data insights firm Benori Knowledge in 2019, around 25% of his IIT Delhi batchmates who passed out in 1995 and went to the US have started their own companies over the last few years.


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