Indian techie Jyoti Bansal sells his company to Cisco for $3.7 billion
The newest in a bulging roster of India-born technology startup czars, Bansal catapulted to stardom in dramatic fashion. Networking giant Cisco snapped up his company at twice the value determined by public markets on the day before his San Francisco-based startup was due to list its shares on the bourses.
"On Thursday, we would have been ringing the bell on Nasdaq, about 40 of our employees were planning to be there, some of them bought expensive suits for the IPO event," says Bansal in a telephonic interview with ET a day after the deal was announced by Cisco.
The offer from Cisco was accepted as it also meant the identity of the nine-year-old startup would be maintained, according to the IIT-Delhi graduate who is all set to turn his attention to mentor and invest in upcoming startups in Silicon Valley and in India.
He is very excited about how the startup scene has emerged in India. "I think the next wave of successful startups in India will be seen among B2B players (business software makers)," says Bansal whose 14 per cent stake in AppDynamics translates into a payout of $525 million. "I am looking forward to mentoring and helping a diverse range of Indian startups," he says.
He has already made a beginning. Bansal played a key part in mentoring and helping Pune-based sales productivity platform Mindtickle raise $12.5 million from Silicon Valley investors in 2015, and is advising them on how to build a scalable sales model for American markets.
"B2B players in India need a lot of experience, in terms of understanding what it takes to sell and market their products on a global level, that's one area I am hoping I can help in," says Bansal, whose nine-year-old startup monitors the performance and availability of applications for cloud computing and in data centres. Apart from Cisco, it counts HBO, Nasdaq, and food company Kraft as customers.
Growing up in Ajmer, Bansal would help his father on weekends run his small business, which sold machinery to farmers.
In 2000, Bansal moved to America with dreams of setting up his own venture. But it took him seven years of working for other startups before he got his employment authorisation document which allowed him to launch a startup on his own.
'10 STEPS AHEAD'
Friends who roomed with him at the IIT-Delhi dorm, nicknamed the 'Tiger Wing', recall a "kind-hearted, jolly and passionate friend". "JKB (Bansal) bought a scooter in 1996, which was used as a public property for errands by many; he never objected," says batchmate Neelam Dwivedi, who is the co-founder of fintech startup Funds Tiger.
It is his ability to think "10 steps ahead" that marks him out, according to Dwivedi. It certainly played a part in the Cisco deal, as Bansal was quick to realise that AppDynamics could become a key pillar in Cisco's transformation to a broader enterprise infrastructure company.
According to Bansal, the deal does not signify a cooling of interest in technology IPOs.
"If it didn't work out, we would still have gone for an IPO, we had very strong interest and were heavily over-subscribed,"
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