On February 18th, Google announced that its “growth stage” investment effort, Google Capital, will open its first office outside of the United States in India. Google Capital focuses on investing in technology companies that are in the early or mid-stages of development, and has already invested in a project in India. In early January, it funded CommonFloor, purported to be India’s largest online real estate platform and was Google Capital’s third investment in Asia since it launched last February.
Google Capital is certainly not the only California-based company to put money into India. Broadcom, a leading manufacturer of chips for software communications, has its largest R&D center outside the United States in India. Currently over 1,500 people are employed at Broadcom’s India research facility, focusing on how to modify current and future products for both the Indian market and other emerging economies worldwide. Broadcom has also partnered with Tata Consultancy Services, India’s largest software services firm, to integrate its devices to Tata’s Connected Universe Platform. Vuclip, the world’s largest independent mobile video and media company, opened its first R&D center in India in February 2015. By next year it plans to hire 100 engineers from India to staff the facility, including recent college graduates.
California is not just investing in India, but also seeking to help Indian businesses learn best practices so they, too, can succeed. In early February, the Mayor of Menlo Park, Catherine Carlton, signed an MOU with the city of Kochi in India’s Kerala state to establish a sister city relationship while on a trade mission there. It is the first sister city relationship between Menlo Park and an Indian city. A major port city, Kochi is also the home of Startup Village, India’s first public-private partnership technology business incubator. Since its founding in 2012, Startup Village has helped launch over 800 Indian startups. Mayor Carlton was impressed by these efforts and has extended the invitation for at least 100 technology startups from Kerala to visit Silicon Valley this year.
In 2013, California was the number one US state exporting to India, with computer and electronic products accounting for $624 million worth of the exports. In 2014, India was California’s 9th largest export destination, with total exports from California to India valued at $5.2 billion. November 2014 also saw Bangalore, known as India’s “Silicon Valley,” receive significant investment from US financial corporation Visa, joining IBM and Microsoft in a region that has drawn in a total of $9.3 billion in FDI to India over the past decade.
Sarah Batiuk is the Event Coordinator and a Program Assistant the East-West Center in Washington.