Cambridge Innovations will have a portfolio of 50 companies over 3 years: Aashish Kalra

Sunanda Jayaseelan Hiral Desai | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on December 16, 2015

AASHISH KALRA, Chairman, Cambridge Technology Enterprises

Cambridge Technology Chairman talks about the company’s growth and investment plans

Cambridge Technology Enterprises is the stock in focus, as it has rallied more than 1,000 per cent over the year. Bloomberg TV India caught up with Cambridge Tech Chairman Aashish Kalra.

You had commented in September/October that you have a two-year business plan. Just detail this for us…

We took over the company on January 1, 2015, and we really felt that there is a big market around cloud and big data and the convergence of that. And, Michael Dell and others have said that this a $1-trillion market and this is going to be transformative, it is going to be disruptive.

And, around it we started to build the business plans, saying we need to get to $2 million a month in revenue on the core business and by March 2016 get to $1 million a month in revenue and build a team to over 500 people. That’s what we have been targeting and, if you look at it, done in the quarters… starting with March and then June. We have essentially grown at 100 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2014 and it is kind of difficult to grow faster than that.

So what we are fixated on is the right kind of revenue making — six verticals and then in each vertical picking a key client that we can work with. These tend to be US-centric clients; these tend to be some of the largest companies in the world. So, if you talk utilities we are working with Schneider Electric, figuring out how to optimise energy. From the way a light turns on in do you make it efficient... to how do you do energy buys across the spectrum, be it gas from Qatar or turn on a power plant.

We are working in life sciences with Hillspect Research on plants and animals, which is what we think will be the next big thing instead of humans and that’s a division of Colgate. And the list goes on.

We are targeting those six verticals. What we have announced today is given that these are all early stage companies that need to focus on cutting edge technology. We want to now start partnering with the best innovators in the world, primarily in the US. So, we have launched a division called Cambridge Innovations, where not only do we fund these start-ups, we also give them a technology platform with which to work. And, we have made three investments already. Our objective is to have a portfolio of 50 companies over three years and 12 companies by March 2017.

As you mentioned, you have launched a new programme and this would be an investment hub for Indian as well as US start-ups. Could you give us details in terms of what are the incremental revenues that you are looking at out of this foray?

We are looking at this with three primary objectives. The first is to train our people in the next set of technologies. Recruiting has been a challenge, we need to hire people who are innovators, who are thinkers, and by having this programme we believe we can get better talent because they are working on the best technologies that are there in the world.

Number two, when we invest in the technology company, we enter into a two-year global technology programme with them so there is a direct revenue impact from those companies to gain this technology because we are servicing them.

Now there are two programmes: there’s an arm’s length investment programme and then there is also an arm’s length programme where we are providing technology services. So, in a sense, we are incubating our own clients.

The third is obviously revenue impact, as we have equity in these companies and when these companies do well and they get to a better Series A, or they sell the company, we have the ability to sell the stock or go for an IPO.

Published on December 16, 2015
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