By guest author Tony Scott
Company Introduction and History
I recently interviewed Dr. Anand Deshpande, the founder and CEO of Persistent Systems. Persistent, based in Pune, India, has the tag line “Partners in Innovation.” Persistent believes that its outsourced software product development services allow its customers to minimize time-to-market, improve the quality of their products, reduce the risk of failure during the engineering development process, and improve the predictability and reliability of the engineering process. By outsourcing portions of the development process, Persistent allows customers to focus on their core competencies while helping them to minimize overall product engineering costs.
Persistent went public on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on April 6, 2010. Its offering in the outsourcing world is far more advanced than what most people perceive outsourcing to be about. Persistent provides the potential for companies to focus on their real core competencies and is one of the real opportunities to create value through outsourcing high-level but non-core activities.
Tony: Anand, Persistent has been a great success – can you tell me a bit about how Persistent came to exist?
Anand: Let me start by giving you my background, just to set a context. I earned my undergraduate degree in India in 1984 from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) –Kharagpur, in computer science, and then I did a PhD at Indiana University, Bloomington, in 1989. My area of expertise was object databases.
My first job in the United States was in Palo Alto at Hewlett-Packard. I was part of the database group for the software engineering environments projects. At that time, HP Labs was a pretty big place for database work. We had a fairly large group and were considered one of the top labs in the field. I did an18-month stint there. I was on a practical training visa, and I never filed for an H-1, so I had to go back to India in 1990. I was just trying to just figure out what to do in India, and I started Persistent.
Tony: So you actually started the company immediately after you came back to India?
Anand: Yes, I didn’t work anywhere else. The thing I was thinking about was how to work with the United States and yet still do things from India. My primary objective at that time was to ensure that I was not compromising my resume. That was definitely important to me at that time, so I was trying to look for things to do that would enable me to keep my resume current and valuable. I found a few projects started out from there, mostly in the database world. Because the community of people in the database market is relatively small, I was able to convince some of them that I could work for them from India. That’s basically how I started – I bootstrapped the company in the early days.