End of Ramrajya @ Sify July 28, 2006Posted by rajAT in india, internet, ramrajya, sify.
R Ramaraj quits Sify Limited as its managing director and chief executive in pursuit of other interests.
Indian internet industry watchers would readily agree that Ramaraj is synonymous with Sify. For he is one of Sify’s co-founders and had contributed 10 per cent of the initial capital when it was started in 1995.
“In many ways we laid the path for others to travel. We were the second Indian company to get listed in Nasdaq. The first was Infosys Technologies Limited. After that it was easy for others,” he recalls.
At that time there were no role models for the company to follow. The industry was new and was getting readymade managerial talent to manage the internet business was a challenge.
“We brought in achievers from different fields. They learnt the internet business and built Sify. The work environment was fantastic and the result is the brand you see today,” he adds.
When one looks back the path that Sify has traversed, the IndiaWorld deal in 1999 would be the major milestone. The company acquired 13 websites for a whopping Rs500 crore. With the dotcom industry going bust, the deal didn’t result in any major gains for the company. Till last fiscal, the company’s turnover hadn’t touched the Rs500-crore mark. Besides, many of the IndiaWorld websites do not exist.
In retrospect, was the deal a mistake? Ramaraj says it was not. “If the circumstances are the same, I would do a similar deal again.” According to him, the internet at that time was a new industry and had new metrics that were different from traditional businesses.
People saw what the IndiaWorld promoter,Rajesh Jain got. One should look at what Sify gained.
When we first tapped the market, we raised $75 million by diluting 20 per cent of our equity in 1999. Soon after the deal, we were able to raise $120 million by diluting just 1.5 per cent. The issue proceeds were used to set up infrastructure and expand our business.
The whole interview can be read here.