Naidu to bring Bill Gates to Vizag
Shortly after the great state of Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated into Telangana State and Andhra Pradesh, the government of Andhra Pradesh, under the dynamic leadership of Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu, decided to make Visakhapatnam the hub for financial technology.
There were several reasons for that, but the most important one probably was the acceptance of the reality that the legacy information technology (IT) business, which depended on labour arbitrage to help Indian IT companies, was losing traction. The labour arbitrage model was profitable because Indian IT companies could offer their services to clients in the west at a fraction of the cost of their own IT service providers. The system worked for more than 20 years, but it was losing its sheen because of increasing automation, which eliminated the need to hire scores of engineers in India to provide routine software development and software support services.
Correctly reading the writing on the wall, the Naidu government decided to focus its energies on creating a fintech hub in the port city. Vizag already had a modest presence in the IT space, so it made sense to focus on setting up the ecosystem for a “Fintech Valley” there.
What is fintech? It is information technology that exists to make financial services more adaptable, scalable and user-friendly. The ecosystem at “Fintech Valley Vizag” is nurturing towards startups which can bring cutting-edge technologies blockchain using data analytics to the financial services industry, and the customer at large.
“Global financial services companies, government and academia come together in this valley to build capacity, infrastructure, market access, connectivity, funding channels, and incentive mechanisms to achieve unmatched business goals and successes. Start-ups, financial institutions, technology vendors, incubators/accelerators/innovation labs, and investors simultaneously contribute to and thrive in this ecosystem at the speed of business,”according to the mission statement of Fintech Valley Vizag.
Which brings us to the ongoing Hackathon at Fintech Valley Vizag. Organised by HackerEarth, hackathon invites companies to come up with disruptive technologies. Winners will get a chance to work with the Andhra Pradesh government to get market access through proof of concept. The winner in each category – banks, insurance, capital markets and NBFCs – can win a cash award of Rs. 3 lakh.
Simultaneously, the Andhra Pradesh government is organising, in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry, a three-day agricultural hackathon that was inaugurated by Mr. Naidu on November 15.
The highlight of the agricultural hackathon would be the presence of Bill Gates, the co-founder and chairman of software giant Microsoft. Mr. Gates will be addressing the valedictory ceremony of the hackathon. The participants include 500 farmers from Andhra Pradesh and other states, and 250 students from various universities. The hackathon played host to over 300 delegates from all over the world.
It is expected that Mr. Naidu will be spending some quality time with Mr. Gates. The two men go a long way back, to a time when Mr. Naidu persuaded Mr. Gates to set up the Microsoft India Development Centre in Hyderabad. The MIDC is one of the biggest software development centres of Microsoft outside the United States.