Bangalore: Ashok Soota named former chief executive and president of Intelligroup Inc. Vikram Gulati and 10 others as co-founders of Happiest Minds Technologies Pvt. Ltd., the company Soota founded after quitting Mindtree Ltd earlier this year.
Gulati was named chief executive and managing director, Soota said on Monday. Of the 12 co-founders, seven are from Mindtree, two from Wipro Ltd and one from Infosys Ltd.
Happiest Minds will have an initial investment of about Rs200 crore, including money from venture capital (VC) firms and Soota’s personal funds, said the former chairman and co-founder of Mindtree.
Happiest Minds is close to sewing a deal with a VC firm and is in talks with another for investments, said Soota, declining to reveal more on the fund-raising. He recently sold portions of his stake in Mindtree in two tranches for about Rs129 crore.
The new company is being set up at a time of economic turbulence in the two biggest markets for Indian IT services companies—the US and Europe.
“It is still a multi-billion (dollar) market, relationship-driven, where we are looking to take only small bites from the apple,” said Soota. “Most successful companies were launched during recessions, like Microsoft and Apple. Change creates opportunities. And it might be easier to pick up talent when others are slowing down.”
Happiest Minds has already signed up a mobile applications start-up as a client, said Aurobindo Nanda, chief operating officer of the company’s software product engineering business. Nanda was earlier with Aztecsoft, now a part of Mindtree.
Ramakanth Desai, who was senior vice-president of strategic deals and global sales at Wipro Ltd, and Puneet Jetli, former global head of human resources at Mindtree Ltd, were named co-CEOs of the company’s IT services business.
Soota said that while some experiments with the joint-CEO model may have failed, others have succeeded.
Wipro, Research In Motion Ltd, SAP AG, Motorola, Oracle Corp. and Google Inc. have experimented with co-CEO models with mixed results. Only RIM and SAP still continue with the model.
Apart from IT services and software product engineering, Happiest Minds has an infrastructure management and security business as well. It expects IT services to bring in 30% of the revenue and the other two to contribute 25-35% each.
Soota is aiming for Happiest Minds to reach $100 million in revenue in about five years. The company will be listed on stock exchanges in about seven years, Soota said.