: When US-born Sean Blagsvedt
packed his bags to move with Microsoft Research in Bangalore five years ago,
little did he know that India
would become his second home. After a three-year
stint at Microsoft
creating solutions for emerging markets, Sean realised that
his calling lay elsewhere.
“I liked India. But, India
place where it is impossible to deny that some people are lucky. The inequity
and unfairness bugged me,” says the 33-year-old technologist, who believes
that computers have an ability to change lives. And, babajob.com, a portal for
blue-collared jobs, was born when Sean Blagsvedt quit Microsoft in 2007. So far,
Sean Blagsvedt’s babajob.com has facilitated 900 employments in the
blue-collared job space.
Sean’s case is not a rare one.
Bangalore, the tech hub of India, is full of expats with ideas and the energy to
chuck a well-paying job and start a venture of their own. And a resurgent and
confident India is providing them opportunities.
“India chose us. We
did not choose India ,” says Chris Baker, who promoted
Historically, the city has been a favourite with
multinational companies and expat professionals thanks to its salubrious
edge and perhaps its pub culture. The tech boom provided a
lot of opportunities for westerners to come, stay and work in Bangalore. Many of
them, it appears now, don’t want to go back.
Jasserand quit Leela Palace Hotel
to start his own Italian bistro chain Toscano;
Italian chef Paolo Nonino has started restaurants Via Milano and Colonial in the
city. Dr Thomas Binford has made Bangalore his R&D base to develop
handwriting recognition technologies; Laila and Chris Baker, who earlier worked
in a foreign bank in India, have started a recommendation-based directory
service, bangalorebuddy.in, to smoothen relocation into the city; Japanese
Masamichi Kawagome, former managing director of KVH (IT solution provider to
Fidelity Investments Japan), has set up Geocom Consulting in Bangalore to enable
companies from his homeland to set up base in India; Footprint Ventures, an
early stage fund based out of India, is started by Neill Brownstein, a
co-founder of Bessemer Venture Partners.
Footprint has investments in online digital
photography firm Canvera, a bus ticketing firm Ticketvala and restaurant chain
spoke to, grant credit to the city
that clearly has much more to it than the weather. Manish Sabharwal, chairman,
Teamlease says, “Bangalore has always been the ideas hub of India. The
labour market here has been very liquid and fungible with people moving back and
Bharti Jacob, CEO, Seed Fund says, “it is about
people who worked here, loved the city and decided to make a go for it. At one
point, most global professionals wanted an India stint on their CV and they
would end up in Bangalore.