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Business Briefs: Follow the Money

Venkat Rajaraman
  • United States

    *This article was originally published in India-West's Feb. 3 issue. 

    U.S. Competitiveness Downgrade

    A Harvard Business School survey of its alumni on the issue of U.S. competitiveness found that while 57% of respondents view the current U.S. business environment as “somewhat or much better than the average advanced economy,” they were less optimistic about the trajectory of the U.S. as a business destination.
    Asked about the U.S. business environment, as compared to emerging markets, 66% see the U.S. falling behind, while just 8% think it is pulling ahead. HBS Dean Nitin Nohria and other Harvard educators presented the findings at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Of 1,767 cases where respondents were themselves involved in U.S.-related site decisions over the past year, 57% mulled the possibility of moving existing business out of the U.S.
    Only 9% considered moving existing activities to the U.S. The remaining 34% pondered decisions to set up new activities. Of 1,005 location decisions about potentially moving from the U.S., the most common alternatives considered were: China (42%), India (38%), Brazil (15%), Mexico (15%), and Singapore (12%).
    New India Solar Project
    Loveland, Colo.-based Abound Solar, a maker of thin-film photovoltaic modules, and Solar Integration Systems India Pvt. Ltd., a solar integrator in India, have commissioned a 1MW solar photovoltaic plant in Kadiri, Andhra Pradesh. This is less than a year after the two companies announced a partnership targeting India’s solar market. The project was commissioned under the Rooftop and Other Small Solar Power Generation Plant program administered by IREDA under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. “This plant will generate operational data on different technology performance in Indian weather," said Solarsis CEO Venkat Rajaraman.
    Abound Solar CEO Craig Witsoe added, “India is a key market for Abound Solar due to our U.S.-made CdTe panel’s excellent performance in India’s climate, our commercial focus over the past two years and our successful use of U.S. Export-Import Bank financing.”

    U.S.-India Senior Living Pact  
    ALFA, an Alexandria, Va.-based national association for professionally managed senior living communities, has formed its first partnership in India with a senior-living association. At the “Retirement Living World India” conference in New Delhi, ALFA director Steven Vick, CEO of Signature Senior Living, and Mansoor Dalal, chairman of Oasis Senior Commune-India, said they would form Association Senior Living India, a trade association. They said the acronym ASLI, which means “real” in Hindi, echoes “the need for real and committed players in this nascent industry.”
    Mansoor is the founder-chairman of the association and Vick and Abdulla Kagalwalla of Signature India are on the board. “Senior-living providers in India can learn a tremendous amount from the fits and starts we had when senior living was in its infancy in the U.S.,” said Vick.

    DaVita Buys NephroLife
    Denver, Colo.-based DaVita Inc., a provider of kidney care services for those diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, has acquired controlling interest in NephroLife, a Bangalore-based kidney-care firm. DaVita previously had made a minority investment in the company. Terms were not disclosed. “India represents a positive, long-term opportunity with transformational growth in the health care arena," said DaVita president, Asia-Pacific region, Atul Mathur. Added NephroLife managing director Shriram Vijayakumar, “Our vision is to become a role model for health care. Our innovative, integrated care has strong economic value for society.”

    SSEO Scoops Up NKKS
    Toledo, Ohio-based SSOE Group, an engineering, procurement, and construction management firm, has acquired Mumbai-based NKS Design Technologies Pvt. Ltd., a design and construction management firm. Terms weren’t disclosed. SSOE and d-Tech formed a minority owned joint venture in 2007. Niki Shah, operations manager for SSOE’s Mumbai unit, said, “The fact that SSOE is a known entity to d-Tech was significant…We are confident this partnership will be successful and be a positive experience for all involved.”

    Apigee Raises $7 Million
    Santa Clara, Calif.-based Apigee, which delivers application infrastructure tools and enterprise API management products, has raised $7 million from non-disclosed investors. Former Gluecode CEO Chet Kapoor is the company’s CEO. Anant Jhingran, who joined the start-up after serving as CTO of IBM’s information management unit, heads the data department at Apigee.

    NRI Acquires Anshin
    Tokyo, Japan-based Nomura Research Institute, Ltd., a provider of consulting services, has acquired Anshin Software Pvt. Ltd, an India-based IT consulting and software development firm, for an undisclosed sum. “NRI and Anshinsoft have a longstanding relationship and this is the natural next step in our partnership,” said NRI senior VP Shin Kusunoki.
    Valtech Nabs SAP Award
    Valtech, (seen in photo below) a provider of design and optimization of digital platforms, has been named a SAP Services Partner of the Year in the specialty consulting supplier category in the North America region. SAP awards were presented Jan. 17-19 in New Orleans, La. “Our strategy to build digital platforms is greatly enabled by SAP’s cutting-edge technology products,” said Valtech CEO and managing director for North America, Asia Pacific and MEA Shouvik Bhattacharyya. “SAP's products enable our customers to become more competitive, increase their revenue and implement best practices.” 

    PG&E Offers Scholarships
    Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s Bright Minds Scholarship program will award up to $1 million in grants to high school, community college and non-traditional students to finish their higher educations. Winners receive up to $30,000 in grants per year. Finalists get $2,500. Criteria are: “community leadership, personal triumph, financial need and academic achievement.” Students must be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate at an accredited two- or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school for the 2012-13 academic year. The application deadline is Feb. 17. Visit to find out more. Winners will be announced this spring.
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