Anand Deshpande, Founder and CMD, Persistent Systems, studied B.Tech from IIT Kharagpur and then he completed his Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1989. Immediately after graduating, he worked for HP labs in Palo Alto for about 18 months. During this time, he always felt that he should come back to India and start working here.
Sharing the start of his entrepreneurial journey, Deshpande says, “It just all added up to a new level and couple of friends were supportive and we decide to start our own business.” As Deshpande worked in the US, his initial projects came from people whom he knew professionally.
“When I started off in India, doing a software business was very difficult. Computer hardwares were not available, telecom facility was very bad, and there were whole bunch of issues,” he shares. Highlighting some of the learnings from his entrepreneurial journey, Deshpande shares some interesting points.
He said, “First, you have to have the right peers that can hire and work for the company and having the right team is a big challenge. Moreover, it is very important to position yourself correctly so that the customers are aware of your offerings. Finally, people just give up too fast. The whole thing about entrepreneurship is that if customer rejects you have to be relaxed, all these are the parts of life.”
Persistent has something called Persistent Ventures, which invest in early stage startups. They look at two aspects before investing in a company. “First, technology that we invest in must be in sync with what we do. And moreover, the product should be saleable. We are focused mainly on technology side of the business,” shares Deshpande.
Apart from investing in several start-ups in the US, Persistent Venture has invested in a Big Data IoT start-up in India named Altizon. Many employees from Persistent has went on to become entrepreneur themselves. Persistent also recently began a Smart India Hackathon where more than 10,000 students participated.
There are many foundations Deshpande is a part of. One of them is deAsra, which happens to be his family foundation. For Persistent, the next aim is to focus on digital transformation. “We have built up the model and platform and everything else to help companies become software driven businesses,” concludes Deshpande.
(This article was first published in the May issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)