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Business Briefs: Follow the Money

Girish Mathrubootham
  • United States

    Freshdesk Raises $5 Million

    Freshdesk, which markets social customer service software enabling companies to support customers through e-mail, phone and social networks like Facebook and Twitter, has raised $5 million in financing led by Tiger Global Management, with participation by previous investor Accel Partners. “We have been impressed by the Freshdesk team’s ability to identify what customers really want in their help desk, and quickly roll out these capabilities into the product,” said Shekhar Kirani at Accel Partners. Added Freshdesk CEO Girish Mathrubootham, “Businesses need an affordable solution to get closer to their customers and engage with them across mobile, social and traditional channels simultaneously. And our mission is to give them just that.”

    Progress Software Makes Cuts

    Bedford, Mass.-based Progress Software Corp. plans to trim about 10-15 percent of its 1,744 employees and drop 10 products to cut costs and fight a board challenge by a major shareholder. The move comes five months after Progress named Jay Bhatt chief executive. Bhatt said he is moving the company’s focus to cloud-computing applications leased over the Web. “The board and I are confident that Progress has the right DNA, scale and experience to make this transformation successful for the benefit of all stakeholders,” he said. Activist hedge fund Starboard Value L.P., which owns 5.2 percent of Progress, has challenged the current board by nominating three candidates to replace board members Ram Gupta, Michael Mark and David Krall. Starboard complains that fiscal first-quarter earnings at Progress fell 64 percent from last year to $7.5 million.

    Forus Health Gets $5M

    Bangalore-based medical technology firm Forus Health Pvt. Ltd. has closed series “A” funds of $5 million from Accel Partners and IDG Ventures India. The company’s product, 3nethra, is a portable, low cost, non-mydriatic, non-invasive pre-screening ophthalmology solution to detect cataracts, glaucoma and other eye problems. Forus also plans to develop more medical technologies to address healthcare delivery. Forus is headed by CTO and president Shyam Vasudeva Rao and CEO K. Chandrasekhar. Rao was director of technology for Philips Healthcare at the Phillips Innovation Center in Bangalore. Chandrasekhar was director of strategy at NXP Semiconductors. “Endorsement and motivation by ophthalmic community and the larger medical fraternity around the world and specially India has encouraged us to further our mission,” Chandrasekhar said.

    Wipro Acquires Aussie Firm

    India’s Wipro Ltd. has agreed to acquire Australia-based Promax Applications Group, a data analytics firm engaged in trade promotion planning and management, for (Australian) $35 million (U.S. $36.46 million). “The acquisition of Promax Applications Group will strengthen Wipro’s positioning and capability in management, analytics & optimization of trade promotions, and further extends our leadership in analytics and information management services,” said K.R Sanjiv, senior VP and global head, analytics and information management, Wipro.

    Baddi Hosts General Cable Hub

    Highland, Ky.-based General Cable Corp., a maker and seller of copper, aluminum and fiber optic wire/cable products, has built a manufacturing plant in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh. Himachal Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal inaugurated the plant with more than 200 dignitaries attending. Sandeep Sood, country head, India operations, at General Cable, said, “By designing ‘green’ from the ground up, we have seen immediate benefits in operating costs.” At installed capacity, the facility will generate annual revenues between $100 million and $120 million.

    Pinkberry Yogurt in India

    Los Angeles, Calif.-based Yogurt retailer Pinkberry, which was launched in 2005 in West Hollywood, Calif., has formed a partnership with Mumbai-based JSM Corp., a multi-unit restaurant and casual dining development firm, to introduce Pinkberry yogurt in India. “Critical to opening in India was to find a local partner who shared our values and was singularly focused on exceeding customer expectations day in and day out,” said Pinkberry CEO Ron Graves.

    Altran Expands in India

    France-based engineering consulting firm Altran plans to expand Indian operations to a 2,000 workforce in the next two years. Altran India CEO Sanjay Kumar said, “We are working with some of the top European aerospace companies in India. Our objective is to ensure that we serve both Indian as well as international partners from this geography.” Altran group CTO Michel Bailly added that the company is looking to acquire Indian companies in the sector. “…We are conducting discussions with several key players, we expect to announce these acquisitions as soon as we complete the due diligence process.”

    Mera Gao on MIT Top 10

    Mera Gao Power of Reusa, India, is one of the “10 emerging technologies with the greatest potential to transform our world,” according to an annual survey in MIT’s Technology Review. Mera Gao has developed solar microgrids, a “low-cost village-scale solar-powered grid that can power lights and charge cell phones,” the magazine said in its May/June issue.

    Trelleborg Adds Bangalore Hub

    Sweden-based global industrial group Trelleborg has opened a new facility in Bangalore making and supplying sealing solutions for airplanes, off-highway equipment, trucks and passenger cars. The company currently has three facilities in India, in Bangalore and Noida that make hydraulic and pneumatic sealing systems for fluid power, automotive and aerospace markets. Trellegorg also has a center of excellence for engineering and design in Ahmedabad.

    Anite Upgrades Testing Lab

    Fleet, England-based wireless device testing technology firm Anite has moved to new offices in Bangalore. Mike Bonin, managing director, Anite handset testing unit, said, “Anite is proud to be part of India's development as a global center of innovation and expertise in mobile technologies.”

    Kang & Lee Makes #1 Again

    Advertising Age has again ranked New York-based Kang & Lee Advertising the number one Asian multicultural agency in the U.S. in the magazine’s 68th annual agency report. “Once again, we would like to thank Advertising Age for its recognition of our role in bringing corporate attention to Asian multicultural consumers,” said K&L Advertising president Cynthia Park.


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