Veteran Silicon Valley Investor Vinod Khosla Bullish on India, Aadhaar & Mobile Health

Vinod Khosla (Image: Wikipedia)
Vinod Khosla (Image: Wikipedia)

Veteran Silicon Valley investor Vinod Khosla on Wednesday painted an optimistic picture on investing in India, even as foreign investors have little faith left in the economy.

“I have N number of reasons to not invest in India if viewed from a short term perspective and N number of reasons to invest if I look at long term,” said Khosla who is in India to review the progress of Khosla Labs, an incubator he recently opened in the country.

A steep fall in the Rupee, volatile stock markets and bad business climate has made investors wary of India, which was until recently perceived as a great economy for the value investor to back.

“Three to five years or even ten years is something an entrepreneur should look and India is an attractive market in that sense,” said Khosla, whose venture firm manages nearly $1.3 bn of investor capital.

He was speaking at an event by India’s software lobby Nasscom which also hosted technocrat Nandan Nilekani last evening.  The former Infosys executive who was tasked by the government to issue a unique online verifiable identity to 1.2 bn Indians under the Aadhaar project, said that Aadhaar technology will be the next big thing in India.

Nilekani said: Today, the GPS economy is nearly about half a trillion dollars and what GPS is to the world now Aadhaar will be in next few years. “We need to make sure the process of transformation is fast enough and does not take a decade or more, as was the case with GPS,” he said.

Over 23 million Aadhaar ids have been linked to bank accounts in India and the number is likely to grow 100 million in coming few months, he added. “Bargaining power which is with the money dispenser right now will shift to beneficiary in future with the Aadhaar as a backbone of the whole transactional system in India,” he said.

Delhi born Khosla said, “Trust is a large source of inefficiency among entrepreneurs and in the surrounding ecosystem and Aadhaar will remove that.”

Both, Khosla and Nilekani were optimistic on how entrepreneurs and startups can come up with different mobile apps based on Aadhaar technology.

Aadhaar cards could be used as a common mode of commercial commerce and peer to peer money transfer in the coming times.

Speaking on the future of Aadhaar cards, Nandan said “60% of Indians do not have a bank account and the reason is lack of identification proof. Aadhaar cards will serve as a common identification like the social security number in the United States.”

Khosla on India Opportunities

Mobile health is something I am bullish about, said Khosla. During the talk, he showed his iPhone loaded with an app capable of monitoring the heart. The iPhone attachment and the app is a product by AliveCor which has raised $ 10.5 million from Khosla ventures. No doctors will be needed in times to come as machines will do better than doctors, he added.

Last year, Khosla hired Srikanth Nadhamuni former UID technology head for his upcoming incubator in Bangalore, Khosla Labs.

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