India still the best place to invest: Vinod Khosla
05 September 2013
Taking a view of the Indian economy that is contrary to that of most international investors, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla , co-founder of Sun Microsystems, on Wednesday said India is the best place in the world in which to invest, particularly in the longer run.
Khosla (58) preferred to take the long term view instead of being swayed by the current negative mood about Asia's third-largest economy.
Khosla, who currently runs the California-based Khosla Ventures, said in a 5-10 year perspective, India scores and he is betting that the healthcare, education and infrastructure sectors in the country will be "great for funding and will see a lot of entrepreneurial activity".
"India is the best destination to be in for the long-term investors," he said. "I will not go to Japan, China or Europe, but countries like India, Brazil and Malaysia. Among these, India scores due to its large population and the need for solutions that will be relevant for millions - not only here but elsewhere."
Khosla said a short-term view would throw up at least 10 reasons for not investing in India, but in three years governance issues will not matter as they do today. "Corruption, bureaucracy, infrastructure problems are there in all emerging economies," Khosla said. "The best way to tackle corruption is to take the human interface out of the system. A combination of Aadhaar and e-governance will be great for the people."
Khosla was speaking on the sidelines of a discussion on IT start-ups organised by industry body Nasscom, in which Nandan Nilekani, chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, also participated.
"Nasscom is talking about funding 10,000 start-ups. You need only 10 great start-ups to propel the venture and start-up ecosystem in India," Khosla said.
At the same time, Khosla emphasised that India needed local solutions. "For instance, healthcare is a very big area and a great opportunity for start-ups. I believe we don't need 80 per cent of the doctors; technologies will take over many of the tasks. But unlike in the US, where quality healthcare is very expensive, in India you need solutions that are affordable and high quality."
To illustrate his point, he showed an ECG application that could be saved on a mobile phone. "With such apps, you won't need a doctor and cardiac patients can check their ECG five times a day."
He said there is room for more accelerator programmes in India, but right mentorship is important. "India surely needs a better accelerator environment. But it is also imperative to see how qualified the mentors in these accelerators are."
Khosla said the Indian information technology services companies have done really well.