AFTER two unsuccessful attempts at entering the Indian market, the third time could be the charm for software company Elixir Technology, which is making this attempt as a member of a consortium.
The grouping of nine companies, led by electronics distributor Excelpoint Technology and supported by Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG), aims to jointly bid for smart-city projects in India.
The consortium members offer various digital solutions and expertise, from healthcare to cybersecurity. Elixir provides a software platform that integrates these solutions and aggregates their data, so the data can be mined for greater insights.
A company which uses video analytics to detect intruders, for example, can share its data on Elixir's platform to find correlations with data from providers of other solutions, such as those for facial recognition and vehicle tracking.
"The ability to bring all this together as one integrated solution -- that's what Elixir provides," co-founder and chief executive Lau Shih Hor told The Business Times.
Elixir's first foray into the India market was in the late 1990s, when it set up a joint venture with a local company.
However, the foray did not yield sufficient profits as it lacked a "scale of influence", said Lau.
In 2012, Lau tried to enter India again, this time by partnering with a friend's company. This was also unsuccessful: "We just didn't have the big appeal, especially when you look at a smart city where you need that scale," he said.
Yet India remained attractive to Elixir as a site for smart-city projects, due to the market's tech-savviness and need for smarter solutions. "I think it (India) also has the opportunity to leapfrog what other countries are doing. So if it realises what its ambitions are, I think it's a very good ground to go into," Lau said.
He said joining the consortium could finally give Elixir a fruitful entry into the market: "Not only do we have support from Enterprise SG, the key thing is that it has brought in an anchor player, which is Excelpoint."
As the anchor player, Excelpoint had "carefully selected" the consortium members, ensuring that their respective smart-city solutions worked well together, he noted.
And because all consortium members must chip in towards the business development costs in India, "you get those who are a lot more committed", added Lau.
Furthermore, a consortium is more than the sum of its parts, with members coming together "to offer a much better solution than what each one of us can provide individually".
Lau remains aware of the difficulties in entering the Indian market, such as the country's budget and whether it has the long-term political will to sustain these projects.
"I'm not expecting the outcome that they will give me a S$100 million project," he said. "Realistically for one year, two years, we will be thankful enough to get a good project that allows us to set up a foothold over there," he added.
Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.