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April 2012

Breaking News
Accel Partners invests in India hotel software business

Accel Partners has led a $1.2 million investment in Hotelogix, a software provider for the hotel industry based in India. Blume Ventures and Mumbai Angels are co-investors in the deal. Hotelogix is part of HMS Infotech.

BANC3 part of $1.78B U.S. Army contract

BANC3 Inc., New Jersey technology and engineering firm,  has been selected as one of six prime contractors by the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center Night Vision and Electronics Sensors Directorate  to provide engineering support and technology assistance under the Warrior Enabling Broad Sensor support contract.

Blue Jeans Network partners with InterCall

Blue Jeans Network, a provider of interoperable video conferencing services, has partnered with InterCall, a subsidiary of West Corp. and the world's largest conferencing and collaboration services provider, in a deal that will allow InterCall to offer the Blue Jeans service to its customers worldwide, supplementing InterCall’s portfolio of audio and Web conferencing services with Blue Jeans’ video conferencing.

Boston University Indian student found shot dead

Kanagala Seshadri Rao, a 24-year-old graduate student at Boston University, was found dead early Thursday morning on April 19 lying in the street in Allston, a part of Boston, about one mile from campus. According to reports, Rao was shot in the head and leg and was pronounced dead at the scene. The Boston Police Department and the Boston University Police Department are investigating the incident. No arrests have been made in the case and the police have not announced any suspects.

Canaan Partners, Norwest join Khosla Ventures in backing Skybox

Skybox Imaging, a provider of satellite imagery, video, and big data analytics, has raised $70 million in third round financing led by Canaan Partners and Norwest Venture Partners. They join existing investors Khosla Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners, bringing the total amount raised to date to $91 million.

Columbia hosts India Business Conference

Columbia Business School's South Asia Business Association hosted its eighth annual India Business Conference, entitled "India: Maintaining Momentum," on April 14 on the Columbia University campus. The day-long event brought together a host of experts from varied fields to discuss how India can maintain its economic momentum.

Groups say Indian procurement rules will harm economy

Global technology and business groups are warning India that its new restrictive regulations on government-purchased technology could have spillover effects on the country's broader economy and, depending on their application, would be at odds with the nation's World Trade Organization obligations.

MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga elected chairman of U.S.-India Business Council

The U.S.-India Business Council has elected Ajay Banga, president and chief executive officer of MasterCard Worldwide as the organization's next chairman. Banga will replace Harold “Terry” McGraw III, president, chairman, and CEO of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Shufflr launches iPad app

Shufflr has launched its iPad app. Shufflr is a video discovery service that helps consumers discover videos that they would like to watch anytime, anywhere. Shufflr combines social signals with algorithms, creating a “Daily Fix” of videos for a personalized TV like experience to its users.

SolidEnergy wins MIT Accelerate Contest

SolidEnergy, a startup developing a battery technology that will improve the safety and energy density of rechargeable batteries, walked away with $12,000 after beating out 28 teams of semifinalists during the inaugural MIT Accelerate Contest held on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. SolidEnergy won the $10,000 Daniel M. Lewis Grand Prize along with a $2,000 Audience Choice Award.

TriZetto expands into Pune

The TriZetto Group Inc. has opened a second office in Pune, India, to support growth in its business management services for health-care clients. The customized EON Business Park facility can accommodate up to 1,200 associates, and most of TriZetto’s India-based staff will office in the new facility by the end of 2012, the company said.

U.S. Dept. of Energy working on $125M deal with India

Renewable Energy World is reporting that the U.S. Department of Energy is moving toward a $125 million partnership with India that is aiming to increase international biofuels production and support the development of solar technology and energy efficiency.

U.S. Commerce Secretary ends India visit

U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson concluded his five-day business development mission to India with a stop in Mumbai on March 30, the commercial center of India. The visit to Mumbai, focused on promoting tourism for Indian citizens who want to visit America, as well as exploring opportunities for U.S. companies to promote their technologies and services in India’s rapidly expanding infrastructure sector to support job creation in both countries.

U.S. court stops alleged fake debt calls from India

In response to charges from the Federal Trade Commission, a U.S. district court has halted Tracy, Calif.-based Kirit Patel and two companies he controls and alleges his operation collected phantom payday loan debts that consumers either didn’t owe to the defendants or didn’t owe at all. The scheme involved more than 2.7 million calls to at least 600,000 different phone numbers nationwide, according to the FTC.  In less than two years, the operation fraudulently collected more than $5.2 million from consumers, many of whom were strapped for cash and thought the money they were paying would be applied to loans they owed, according to FTC documents filed with the court.

Borrow it Bindaas chases cost-conscious fashionistas

Weddings are certainly a big event for the happy couple, but they are also fashion important events for all those attending from the wedding party to the guests. While the cost of outfitting for multiple-day weddings and other important social gatherings can skyrocket, the budget conscious have another option in the form of Borrow It Bindaas, a Santa Ana, Calif.-based business started by Riddhi and Siddhi Khara — borrow it and cut the cost. 

Houston franchisees take a big bite of burger concept

Houston business partners Biju George and Brig Agrawal opened their fifth MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes location. George and Agrawal are franchising veterans with 10 years of experience in the industry and, in addition to their MOOYAH restaurants, they own 86 Subways in the Houston area.
According to George and Agrawal, they wanted to build on their Subway success, by franchising with a newer concept and chain. The pair said they plan to expand as rapidly as they can with more MOOYAH locations, depending on real estate availability.

One World Cuisine closing down flagship restaurants Mantra, Café of India

New England Indian restaurant giant One World Cuisine, has closed down one of the oldest Indian eateries in the area, Café of India in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass., and is also shutting down the upscale Mantra in Boston. The company says the moves are part of a new repositioning strategy.

U.S. federal court approves class action lawsuit against Tata

San Francisco U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken issued an order on April 2 moving forward a groundbreaking litigation case against Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. and its parent corporation Tata Sons Ltd., on behalf of its non-U.S. citizen employees who were sent to the United States from India to work in information technology jobs. 

Sub Featured
Are the super rich perverting our constitution in the political process?

The Las Vegas casino Mogul Sheldon Adelson kept the presidential hopes of Newt Gingrich alive since the start of the GOP elections by infusing large sums from his personal wealth to "Winning the Future" — the super Political Action Committee supporting Gingrich in the Republican caucuses and primaries. Similarly, the millionaire Foster Friess of Wyoming is bank­rolling the pro-Rick-Santorum group (Red, White and Blue Fund), while several wealthy individuals are behind "Restore our Future" super PAC in support of Mitt Romney's candidacy.

Arora joins Colgate-Palmolive board

Colgate-Palmolive Co., a publicly traded consumer products company, has elected Nikesh Arora to its board of directors. Arora, 44, brings extensive international leadership experience and strong knowledge of finance and information technology to the Colgate board, the company said. 

Arrow Electronics expands into India

Increasing its support for original equipment manufacturers, Arrow Electronics Inc. is expanding its network of custom computer system integration and fulfillment facilities to seven around the world. Arrow recently added locations in San Paulo, Brazil, and Bangalore, India. 

Bollywood voice blogging goes global with Bubbly app

Bubble Motion has launched its social voice application Bubbly for Android and iPhone. Bubbly has 16 million users of its Bubbly voice blogging service as well as hundreds of Indian celebrities. Early usage of the app has seen incredibly high engagement and social traction, with the majority of users following other users in addition to celebrities, and using the app an average of three times per day, the company said.

BTM Institute and Switzerland's Horasis team up

The Stamford, Conn.-based BTM Institute and Horasis: The Global Visions Community have combined forces to hold summits and organize "knowledge communities" that provide CEOs, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and government officials with best-practices from both developed and emerging markets, the organizations said.

Collective hires Verjee as new CFO

Collective has hired former PayPal executive and eBay North American Marketplaces chief financial officer, Aman Verjee, as the company’s new CFO. As CFO, Verjee joins the senior management team and will oversee the finance and operations teams across its domestic and United Kingdom offices. 

Embassy National Bank CEO writes open letter to President

Mr. President:
  • 10 million new jobs
  • $1 trillion of new investment in American companies
  • 1 million affluent new legal immigrants
We can all agree these three components would provide the kind of jump start our economy desperately needs – and you, Mr. President, can help us get there by focusing attention to a little-known existing federal government program that brings together entrepreneurial investment with legal immigration.

GE researcher leads super computing program

GE Global Research has been selected by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to participate in an incubator program that will use high-performance computing in an effort to accelerate development of next-generation fuel injectors for GE’s engine fleet. Global Research will collaborate with Arizona State University and Cornell University on this project.

Green card holders and U.S. taxation

This article provides an overview about the connection between immigration and taxes for a lawful permanent resident.

LPRs, popularly known as green-card holders, are typically concerned about how their immigration status will affect their taxes. This concern is particularly important for those that have either newly acquired a green card, have moved abroad for short-term work or have retired to their native country.

Gupta promoted to Shiseido Americas' CFO

Shiseido Americas Corp., the U.S. subsidiary of Tokyo based Shiseido Co. Ltd., has promoted Pankaj Gupta to executive vice president of finance and operations and chief financial officer. Gupta previously served as senior vice president of finance and operations NARS Cosmetics, a division of Shiseido Americas, in New York. 

Hyatt expands in India with Hyderabad hotel

Hyatt Hotels Corp. has opened its first city Park Hyatt hotel in India with the Park Hyatt Hyderabad. The hotel has 185 rooms, 24 suites and 42 fully serviced, luxury apartments, The Residence, with five-star facilities and amenities. Centrally located, the hotel is just 15 minutes from the technology hub of Hi-Tech City and the business district, and 45 minutes from Hyderabad's international airport. 

Indian Consulate, Telugu group helping slain student's family deal with tragedy
While the family and friends of Kanagala Seshadri Rao, a 24-year-old graduate student at Boston University who was found dead on April 19, struggle to come to terms with the tragedy, the Consulate General of India in New York and the Telugu Association of North America have helped the family handle matters in the United States. Rao's body arrived back in India late Tuesday night.
"Rao didn't have any emergency contact detail on his file in the university, so the authorities contacted the Indian Embassy," said Mohan Nannapaneni, executive vice president of the Telugu Association of North America. 

JHM Interstate India to manage Khyber Mountain Resort and Spa

JHM Interstate India has signed a contract to manage the 85-room Khyber Mountain Resort and Spa in Kashmir, India. The all-season resort, located at the foot of the Himalayas, is being developed by Pinnacle Resorts Pvt. Ltd. JHM Interstate India is a joint venture partnership formed in 2008 between Interstate Hotels & Resorts Inc. and JHM Hotels.

Lost your zip? You might be battling chronic fatigue

He was sitting in one corner of the waiting room in my clinic. He barely talked, and avoided eye contact with people around him.

He was 36 years old and had been a construction worker, a housepainter, and an auto-body worker at different times of his life. At 18, he had experienced what sounded like a severe viral illness with high fever, fatigue, severe muscle pain, sweating and headaches. His main complaint today was fatigue, exhaustion and muscle ache.

Magic Carpet Ride

Dover Rug & Home continues decades of retail success
For Dover Rug & Home founder and chief executive officer, Mahmud Jafri, business is always about getting bigger and better. And if you follow his more than 20-year career in the home flooring business, this is pretty obvious as he has consistently expanded the size of his retail locations as business continues to grow and grow. His latest upgrade is to the brand new, 35,000-square-foot Dover Rug & Home store in Natick, Mass.

Mass. company study finds Google Chrome has poorest security

A recent study released by iViZ Security, a testing service for Web applications founded by Bikash Barai and Nilanjan De, reported that, of the major Web browsers, Chrome had the most "critical vulnerabilities" with 152. Mozilla Firefox followed with 68 "critical vulnerabilities," followed by Microsoft Internet Explorer (31) and Apple Safari (29).

Microsoft Live@edu to be used throughout India

All India Council for Technical Education is deploying Microsoft Live@edu over the next three months to more than 10,000 technical colleges and institutes throughout India. The cloud deployment will expand students' access to high-quality technical education and collaboration, the council said.

ModusLink helping TomTom expand to India

ModusLink Global Solutions, which is headquartered in Waltham, Mass., is helping navigation products giant TomTom expand into India with the launch of its newest center in Hyderabad, India. In this location, ModusLink provides warehousing and distribution services, including packaging, assembly and content load for TomTom GPS devices and accessories, as well as managing fulfillment to distribution and retail channels in the local Indian market. 

New book examines dominance of Indian Americans in motel industry
Author, Professor and Smithsonian Institute Curator Pawan Dhingra has written a new book, "Life Behind the Lobby: Indian American Motel Owners and the American Dream," about how Indian Americans have come to own almost half the United States' motels.

"Life Behind the Lobby" is the first, full-length book on this phenomenon with vivid stories and analysis of these immigrants' complicated role in this quintessential American industry, according to Dhingra.

OPIC approves $250M lending for Indian infrastructure

The Overseas Private Investment Corp., the U.S. government's development finance institution, approved $250 million in financing to help India's premier infrastructure lender expand its lending to renewable energy and infrastructure projects, providing much-needed, long-term capital to the country's effort to keep pace with the sectors' massive potential. 

Patel's vSpring Capital joins with Signal Peak Ventures

Signal Peak Ventures and vSpring Capital, two venture capital firms in the Rocky Mountain region, have joined forces. The combined partnership, which will operate under the Signal Peak Ventures name, will continue to manage the existing portfolios of the respective firms and make early-stage investments in the information technology and life sciences sectors within the Rocky Mountain States, the firm said.

Raytheon to build ammunition units for Indian Air Force

The publicly traded Raytheon Co. has started its work on the munitions control units for 126 of the Indian Air Force's Jaguar Darin II attack aircraft. The munitions control units allow the integration of modern weapons on legacy aircraft with minimal to no modifications to aircraft wiring and the flight or stores management software, the company said.

Reliance Communications joins in deal with iBasis

Indian service provider Reliance Communications Ltd. has joined forces with Burlington, Mass.-based iBasis to establish the first Internet protocol eXchange connection in India. According to iBasis, a provider of data services for mobile operators, its IP eXchange network offers an alternative to the public Internet and allows mobile network operators to offer their customers voice-over long term evolution networks, Internet protocol videoconferencing and high definition voice services.

Sharma honored as a top financial advisor
IndUS Business Journal columnist Raj Sharma, a Merrill Lynch managing director of investments and a private wealth advisor for the firm’s private banking and investment group in Boston, has been nationally recognized by the firm’s Private Banking and Investment Group as the top financial advisor in Boston.

TA Associates buys stake in Mumbai's BillDesk

TA Associates, a Boston growth private equity firm, has acquired a minority stake in BillDesk, an Indian online payment services company. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Talking politics with The Indian American Forum for Political Education
The IndUS Business Journal spoke to Ramesh Advani, the president of the Massachusetts chapter of The Indian American Forum for Political Education, about politics and Indian American involvement in the political process. He is also the director of federal grants management in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance. He has previously served as a selectman in Norfolk, Mass., from 2003 to 2009. All told he served the town on various boards and committees for almost 20 years. He was one of the first South Asians to be elected to a political post in New England.

The new economic order: Examing the impending impact on investors

During the coming months, I will share insights in this column to help guide long-term financial strategies. This month's column explores the state of the current global economy, as well as potential investment opportunities in today's global financial market.

The Ritz ups ante in South Asian wedding biz

The Ritz-Carlton Boston Common is relaying on its own South Asian connections to increase efforts in the lucrative South Asian wedding market, in particular on General Manager Rajesh Khubchandani.

TheraBiogen offers Thera Max to fight swine flu outbreak in India

TheraBiogen Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of homeopathic nasal sprays for aiding in the relief of allergies, cold and flu symptoms and migraine headaches, said that the company has contacted India's Minister of Health to offer to donate a quantity of Thera Max Cold and Flu product to aid in the current outbreak of Swine (H1N1) flu in four of India's states.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Professor honored
The Society of Manufacturing Engineers has elected University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Professor Pradeep Rohatgi to the SME Class of Fellows. The citation for this award is for his “world leadership in research, education, institution building, and development of manufacturing technology of cast metal matrix composites which are widely manufactured and used by industry.” This award is given to those who have made outstanding contributions to the manufacturing profession, according to the organization.

Vora receives Illinois Institute of Technology 2012 Alumni Medal

Manu K. Vora has received the 2012 Alumni Medal, awarded to alumni who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to society through service or support and achieve significant personal and professional success from the Illinois Institute of Technology. According to the school, this is the highest honor bestowed by the IIT Alumni Association.

Walmart Women in Factories program in India, Bangladesh

Walmart has launched its Women in Factories program, a five-year initiative that will empower 60,000 women working in factories that supply products to Walmart and other retailers in India, Bangladesh, China and Central America.

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