Legendary angel investor Esther Dyson, who is also the chairperson of Global Agenda Council on Fostering Entrepreneurship of the World Economic Forum, will visit India’s first telecom incubator Startup Village here on Sunday, throwing up new vistas of opportunity and hope for the budding Kerala firms.
In a vital boost to Startup Village that dreams of transforming Kerala into Silicon Coast, the celebrated investor from Silicon Valley will hold discussions with Startup Villageteam to explore future collaborations and ties with the promising technology enterprises here. She will also share her experiences with the startup entrepreneurs at an interactive session.
Founding chairperson of Internet Cooperation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Esther is widely revered world over for her investment in game-changing start-ups like Flickr and Del.icio.us (later acquired by Yahoo), Brightmail (acquired by Symantec), and Medstry (Microsoft), and Medspace (now part of WebMD).
The visit of Dyson, who is still a board member and active investor in a variety of start-ups that are mostly into online services, healthcare/genetics and space travel, will throw open a whole range of opportunities for the nascent companies of Kerala, said Sanjay Vijayakumar, chairman of Board of Governors, Startup Village.
The 61-year old philanthropist, who sold her company EDventure in 2004 to US-based media company CNET Networks now owned by CBS, was also the founding chairman (from 1998 to 2000) of ICANN, the Los Angeles-headquartered non-profit organisation formed to oversee several internet-related tasks hitherto performed directly on behalf of the US government and other agencies.
“It will be extremely invigorating for our enterprise that a dignitary of her stature would be spending time with us when Startup Vi1llage has quite a few companies that are working for the US markets. It is a great achievement to be on her radar,” he said.
Substantiating the point, Startup Village Chief Executive Officer Sijo Kuruvila George pointed out that ten start-ups are selected for the annual Silicon Valley acceleration programme. “If one of our firms gets into that list, it can benefit us in two ways: give it the potential of being a global company and also give exposure to fellow firms back in India,” he said.
Author-columnist Dyson, who has been a striking presence at the summits of the World Economic Forum in Davos, will also be interacting with the media here. She will, customarily, be planting an evergreen tree at the Startup Village.
During her visit to Kerala, she is also attending a two-day conference on security of internet being held by Amrita University in Kollam from today.
Dyson’s programme comes a fortnight after a much-beneficial visit by Sachin Pilot, Union Minister of State for IT and Communication, on August 4 at Startup Village which also already caught attention far and wide as the platform capable of creating big companies.
Dyson will also hold an interactive session for the technology start-up entrepreneurs.