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Soota takes along old members for new team

August 30, 2011 12:34 IST

Ashok Soota, co-founder and former chairman of information technology (IT) services company MindTree, on Monday announced the founding team of his new venture, Happiest Minds.

The 12-member team includes seven senior executives of MindTree, including Soota himself, three from Wipro and one from Infosys.

Soota named Vikram Gulati, former chief executive officer (CEO) and president of Intelligroup, as the CEO and managing director (MD).

Gulati would be assisted by Ramakanth Desai and Puneet Jetli, who were appointed as the co-CEOs for the IT services business.

Desai was senior vice-president of strategic deals and global sales at Wipro, while Jetli was heading human resources at MindTree.

Salil Godika, who was heading global strategy and M&A at MindTree, was appointed as the chief strategy and marketing officer, while Dattatri Salagame was named the chief operating officer of the IT services business.

Introducing the team to the media, Soota said the company had already started operation at a 55,000-sq ft facility in Electronic City near here. He said the firm would require an initial investment of about Rs 200 crore (Rs 2 billion).

"We are in discussions with two venture capital firms for raising funds, and have secured the first round of funding. We would go for one more round of funding soon," said Soota. Happiest Minds aims to achieve revenues of $100 million in five years.

He, however, declined to disclose the quantum of funding the company raised in the first round.

"The initial Rs 200 crore (Rs 2 billion) of investment also includes my personal investment," he said. In July, Soota sold around 7.5 per cent in MindTree for Rs 129 crore.

When asked about the role of a new IT service company during a period when the world is facing financial turbulence, Soota said: "Some of the most successful companies in the world were launched at the time of the recession. It might cause some trouble for large and mid-sized players, but it will be an opportunity for us. For example, when large players halt hiring, it offers us an opportunity for finding right talents. We are also having a co-CEO system that is practised in many successful companies."

Happiest Minds has given job offers to 60 persons. Of this, 22 have already joined. The company has also signed a deal with a company for developing mobile applications platforms.

"IT services are a multi-billion dollar business, driven by relationships. With the proliferation of new emerging technologies, the next generation IT services will require an integrated approach to deliver business solutions. We are ready to cater to the changing customer demands," said Vikram Gulati, CEO & MD of Happiest Minds.

Apart from IT services businesses, Happiest Minds will also focus on software product engineering, infrastructure and managed services and security businesses.

The company expects 50 per cent of its revenues to come from IT services business, while the rest would come from software product engineering and other businesses.

Image: Ashok Soota

BS Reporter in Bangalore