Former UST Global CEO to launch venture fund to scale up Kerala startups
Riding on a robust entrepreneurial culture in the country, Kerala has the potential to become another Israel, a country having the third most powerful startup ecosystem in the world, Mr. Sajan Pillai, former CEO of IT major UST Global, said here on Monday, even as he offered to launch a venture fund for accomplishing this mission.
“In the next decade I would like to be part of a journey in which I dream of Kerala startup ecosystem becoming the next Israel. With the help of all my associates I would like to achieve this goal. I would like to work with startups, government and mostly private entrepreneurs to accomplish this mission,” he asserted.
Mr. Pillai, who has been selected for the coveted Employees’ Choice Award instituted by the US-based Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites, was interacting with startups at Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), Technopark here.
“There are thousands of seasoned executives from Kerala, who have not got a chance to contribute to the state’s startup ecosystem. Why can’t we assemble them to harness the strength to build a startup ecosystem here?” queried Mr. Pillai, whose exceptional vision and expertise played a stellar role in UST Global’s phenomenal strides.
Revealing his plans in association with KSUM, he said: “In the first week of September, we will launch a venture fund to scale up startups in Kerala. Apart from extending them support, the idea is to assemble senior level executives of Kerala and they will be directly on the board of the startups. We are going to create a relationship with the government to get an impetus to the drive. We will create a window to Israel and increase access to technology.”
“We can help your dream to grow a little faster and reach a little higher.”
Later, in a freewheeling chat with startup leaders, Mr. Pillai said Kerala has the most robust entrepreneurial culture in the country. He also urged them to start everything with customer in mind.
“Startups should have a customer intimacy and they must understand the nuances of problems. You have to meet the customer and you have to know where they come from,” he said, adding: “The customer is the essence of growth.”
Mr Dr M. Ayyappan, Former CMD, HLL was also present during the interaction.
Kerala-born Pillai ranks 56th among the 100 CEOs selected for the award, announced by Glassdoor at Mill Valley, California. He shares the honour with Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Google’s Sundar Pichai, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook and LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner.
The awardees for 2019 include CEOs of top companies cutting across diverse sectors spread across North America and parts of Europe.