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May 22, 2006

A SINE of big things to come?

Businessweek has an article on IIT-Bombay's SINE incubator which helps students, professors, and alumni develop and commercialize their business ideas. Today there are 15 companies at SINE, all of them hoping to become new India's next big phenomenon.

Today there are 15 companies at SINE, all of them hoping to become new India's next big phenomenon. Perhaps the most exciting is called Webaroo. The company offers a service that lets you search for and download Web pages -- with, say, tourist information about London, or the latest news from several different sites -- to your PC, cell phone, or handheld. Then you can quickly access the content without being online.

"We need the best software engineers," says Rakesh Mathur, Webaroo's founder and an IIT-Bombay alumnus and veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur. "Here, we have them." In spades. About 75 of Webaroo's 100 engineers are from the IITs, and all of them work in cramped quarters at SINE.

SINE is also a one-stop shop for venture capitalists looking for smart ideas coming out of India. And contrary to expectation, not all of SINE's companies are software outfits. A professor in earth sciences is building India's first geothermal power plant. A company called FEAST Software is writing programs that allow auto-parts makers to test the endurance of their components. And Eisodus Networks makes a low-cost broadband switch.
Arun Natarajan is the Founder of Venture Intelligence India, which tracks venture capital activity in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.