Looking at angel investing in tech start-ups: Infosys' Kris Gopalakrishnan

Written by PTI | Bangalore | Updated: Aug 5 2014, 00:51am hrs
Kris GopalakrishnanI'm keen to do things in India, I'm not going anywhere: Kris Gopalakrishnan (Reuters)
IT major Infosys co-founder and Non-Executive Vice Chairman S Gopalakrishnan today said he is looking at angel investing in technology start-ups in his personal capacity after retiring from the board in October.

"I'm looking at that....obviously what I know well is technology, within technology this whole area of digital, marketing, e-retailing seems to be very hot.

"So that's an area where I would look at, and may be some other...," he told reporters in response to a question on whether he is looking at angel investing post retirement.

Speaking on the sidelines of a press conference to announce the CII- 10th India Innovation Summit here, he said: "Yes there is an opportunity to look at products, but the boundary between products and services will get blurred in the future.

"Many of the products probably will be delivered as services, so I wouldn't distinguish between products and services."

"But definitely innovations in the area of IT is what I would focus on," he added.

Kris (as popularly known) along with with N R Narayana Murthy and five others founded Infosys in 1981.

Both Murthy and Gopalakrishnan voluntarily stepped down as Executive Chairman and Executive Vice Chairman, respectively, on June 14, 2014 but the company had said in order to facilitate a smooth transition of responsibilities, they will continue on the Board till October 10, 2014 as the Non-executive Chairman and Non-executive Vice Chairman, respectively.

CII's 10th India Innovation Summit-2014 will be held on August 8 and August 9 in the city with a theme 'Innovation for Inclusive Growth'. Gopalakrishnan, who is the immediate past President of CII, is the Chairman of the summit.

To a question whether a team will be set up or any one from family office will look into such engagements, he said, "that's something I'm debating, I'm still a non executive member of the board at Infosys. So that's some thing I have not looked at."

On looking for overseas options for this, Gopalakrishnan said: "No I have not thought about it, because you have to leverage your network, your connection and these are the two places (Bangalore & Kerala) I know something about... I'm keen to do things in India, I'm not going anywhere."

Asked whether he is contemplating setting up any dedicated fund to invest in startups under his family office, he said "...I may or may not, but a fund is not required for me to invest, I can directly invest. ...whether I need to do it or not I'm looking at it."

Throwing light on his post October plans, he said: "One, I'm part of this team that is setting up the center for brain research at the Indian Institute of Science, this is very close to my heart."

He said "Secondly, I'm involved with innovation, startups, entrepreneurship both here in Bangalore and in Kerala (startup village). I also chair CII's national committee on innovation and entrepreneurship. Through this we want to take this message of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country, including rural areas."

"Third part is other areas of interest like philanthropy, etc, which I'm yet to create concrete plan for. The family trust supports students' through scholarship... I will look at that," he said.

Infosys' newly appointed CEO & MD Vishal Sikka assumed office on August 1, 2014, succeeding S D Shibulal.

On mentoring Infosys, Gopalakrishnan said: "As is always the case if there is request for any help I will provide, because it has made all of us what we are. Certainly if there is a request for help, I will provide."

Responding to a question on Vishal Sikka reaching out to the founders for guidance, he said: "...obviously right, because we are transitioning and obviously he has reached out to the founders, but that's a one time thing; on an ongoing basis it will be based on request."

"I'm very confident about the new leadership, I'm very confident about Vishal Sikka and I expect the company to continue to grow, continue to do well in the future," he said.