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July 11, 2004

Promod Haque plays traveling salesman for portfolio cos.

At a time when pretty much all VCs in Silicon Valley are pushing their portfolio companies to open R&D centers in India, Promod Haque, Managing Partner at Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), is adopting a different tack. He is encouraging his portfolio companies to view India as not just a low-cost development base, but also as a key market for their wares.

With the Indian telecom services market already the fifth largest in the world and Indian IT services and BPO vendors making a serious mark on the global outsourcing market, Haque wants his portfolio companies to get an early entry into on what promises to be a long-term growth market for technology products. Haque calculates that India's call-center industry alone would be spending $12 billion on telecom equipment over the next four years.

Haque is leveraging the PR value of his recent anointment - by Forbes magazine - as the world's top VC to help his portfolio firm kick-start their sales to Indian companies. After making a scouting trip to India in April, Haque returned in the last week of June with representatives from seven of his portfolio companies in tow, to host seminars - and give an untiring series of interviews to the media - in key Indian cities.