Sootas Happiest Minds takes off with 12 founders

Written by fe Bureau | Bangalore | Updated: Aug 30 2011, 08:57am hrs
Former MindTree chairman Ashok Soota formally launched his new tech start up Happiest Minds Technologies, with a team of 12 founding members on Monday. The founders of the company come mostly from MindTree and Wipro two firms Soota has worked with before.

Incidentally, even MindTree had a large repertoire of founders, about 10.

Vikaram Gulati, a former Wipro executive and CEO of Intelligroup, has joined Happiest Minds as CEO and MD.

Along with Soota, Gulati is also an investor in the new firm. Soota said that the firm would have an initial investment capital of R200 crore, which would also include VC funding. The firm, he added, will close funding from a VC firm in the next month or so.

Soota had surprised the IT world in January this year by suddenly quitting MindTree, a firm he had co-founded. He held 11% stake in the firm on June 30, he sold half of his holding for about R94 crore and an additional 2% on July 25. The stakes were picked up by Global Technology Ventures, an early investor in MindTree.

Happiest Minds has a joint-CEO model for the IT services business, last tried in the Indian IT industry by Wipro.

Other founders of the firm include Ramakanth Desai, co-CEO, IT services; Puneet Jetli, co-CEO, IT services; Salil Godika, chief strategy and marketing officer; Dattatri Salagame, COO-IT services; Joseph Anantharaju, CEO, software products engineering; Aurobinda Nanda, COO Software products engineering; Prasenjit Saha, CEO, infrastructure management and security; Raja Shanmugam, chief people officer; Raja Sekher, head, engineering and business excellence; and Venkatesh K, finance controller.

Soota said that a large team of founders was required since he is planning to build a large company. It is not large from an executive council perspective. They will all form part of the council, he said. Some market watchers have been cynical of large founding teams because building consensus on issues, going ahead, can become a headache.

Happiest Minds, Soota said, has already won a customer for whom the firm may be developing a platform for mobile applications. The firm has taken up a 55,000 sq ft facility in Electronic City in Bangalore.