Digital India dinner yields tech policy wins for Team Modi

Qualcomm Incorporated boss Paul Jacobs announces establishment of a $150 million India-specific Venture Fund formed exclusively to fuel innovation and foster promising Indian start-ups.

Updated - November 28, 2021 07:40 am IST

Published - September 27, 2015 01:26 pm IST - San Jose (California)

Among the strategic policy announcements made at the Digital India dinner here in honour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley, Qualcomm Incorporated boss Paul Jacobs announced his company’s support for the Government of India’s Digital India and Make in India agenda by establishing a $150 million India-specific Venture Fund formed exclusively to fuel innovation and foster promising Indian start-ups that were contributing to the mobile and “Internet of everything” ecosystem.

The fund would also provide start-ups with financial, marketing, technology and business support to help propel them forward in the competitive Indian market, Qualcomm officials noted.

Second, Mr. Jacobs introduced a Design in India Initiative and Competition that he said was designed to encourage the creation of a local product design ecosystem and would help make India a hub for design capabilities that drive the manufacturing value chain for 3G/4G smartphones, and tablets.

A critical investment that would accompany these steps would be the creation of a Qualcomm Innovation Lab in Bangalore to provide technical and engineering support to Indian companies, and support multiple Indian mobile device design companies.

If Mr. Jacobs’ announcement came close to stealing the show, Google’s Chennai-born CEO Sundar Pichai was not to be outdone as he promised that next month the Internet search giant would announce a new approach to vernacular language typing.

Mr. Pichai said, “Android is today available in many Indic languages but we know that to push digital literacy forward it is really important for people to be able to type in Indian languages. So next month we will make it possible for people to type in ten Indic languages in India, including the Prime Minister’s mother tongue, Gujarati.”

Further, Mr. Pichai noted, on Sunday he and Mr. Modi would unveil an important announcement regarding bringing connectivity, likely broadband via hotspots, to all railway stations in India.

The two CEOs joined Microsoft head Satya Nadella and new USIBC Chairman John Chambers not only in praising the commitment of Mr. Modi and his government to transforming India’s technological, innovation and entrepreneurship landscapes, but also highlighting numerous ways in which Indians were already tapping into a wealth of opportunities afforded to them owing to Internet access.

Among these, Mr. Nadella said, Microsoft was working on using its technological edge for everything from helping fishermen in Tamil Nadu, to aiding in the delivery of healthcare services and diagnostics in rural India, and even bringing Sesame Street to children via mobiles.

He too had an announcement to throw into the fray, Microsoft’s proposal next week to make available its own cloud services operating out of Indian data centres, which he described as a “key milestone” in the context of Digital India and Make in India.

1 Full text of Narendra Modi's speech at San Jose. >Read more
2 Steve Jobs went to India for inspiration: Apple CEO Tim Cook. >Read more
3 Modi discusses battery technology’s impact on India at Tesla. >Read more
4 Modi promises more accountable and transparent governance. >Read more
5 Top American IT CEOs endorse ‘Digital India’. >Read more
6 Qualcomm announces investment of $150 million in Indian start-ups. >Read more
7 Modi meets Sikh, Gujarati community members in San Jose. >Read more
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