Porvorim is home to one of Goa’s well-established IT companies, Tangentia India, which was set up in 2005 as the Indian arm of Canada-based Tangentia Inc. VIKANT SAHAY met with Shantanu Paknikar, who has recently been inducted in the company as global chief technology officer and country head for Tangentia India.
HERALD: How did Tangentia pick Goa to set shop in India?
SHANTANU PAKNIKAR: Tangentia was and is the dream of our founder and CEO, Vijay Thomas, who started the company in Toronto way back in 2003. As Tangentia grew in Canada and the USA, Vijay felt the need to have a base in India as well to take advantage of the talent here and leverage the ‘Global delivery model’ that the Indian IT industry had pioneered: delivering to global customers with teams based in India. Having been born and brought up in Goa, Vijay always wanted to setup a business in Goa and contrary to the popular opinion in 2005, he took a chance and set up Tangentia India in Porvorim. We started on the top floor of a house and three years back moved to our own office building.
HERALD: What was been your journey like, and what made you take up the role?
SP: I was born and brought up in Goa and completed my engineering here back in 1996. I moved out in search of opportunities and have spent more than two decades in India’s IT capital, Bangalore. During that time, I was fortunate to be a part of India’s IT boom, gained experience in large IT companies like Wipro as well start-ups like Happiest Minds, and was able to get international exposure with clients in USA, Canada, Europe and other parts of the world. The role with Tangentia gives me an opportunity to leverage my knowledge, exposure and experiences and hopefully contribute back to the IT sector in Goa.
HERALD: How would you rate the new IT Policy of Goa? Do you feel anything else could have been added to it?
SP: The last month has been an exciting one for Goa’s IT sector, especially with the Goa IT day and the release of the Goa IT Policy. Going through the policy, I would overall rate it as very thorough, especially when you see the range of incentives being offered. It is heartening to see the intent and commitment from the government and Tangentia has plans of our own to get more recognition and buzz to the Goa IT brand. We believe that expecting the government to do everything is not right and the industry, academia as well as the public at large will all have to band together to make Goa a preferred IT destination in the world.
HERALD: How is your company unique and what do you offer to Goa?
SP: Tangentia’s uniqueness comes from the concept of being a ‘Global Boutique’ technology consulting firm: working in a few niche areas and at the same time, delivering to global customers. We focus on e-commerce, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Business to Business (B2B) integration, Cloud, Mobile / Web applications, Robotics Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain and related digital technologies. We are a world leader in EDI and B2B integration with our proprietary Tgateway offering in use at 1,000+ customers globally. We have built e-commerce solutions for large retailers in Canada and the USA and have partnered with Canada’s largest bank to help them with a mobile loyalty solution for their customers. In Goa, we offer people the opportunity to work for such global clients, in cutting edge technologies, and help our employees build their skills on par with anywhere else in the country and in the world.
HERALD: Where all are you providing your services and how would you rate the Goa market as compared to others?
SP: We provide our services in markets across Canada, USA, Europe and India. We are looking at Goa as a talent pool to develop niche skills such as RPA, AI and Blockchain and also a place to attract niche talent from across the country. In terms of Goa as a market for our services, we would be keen to contribute our expertise to the Smart City initiatives of the government.We expect an ecosystem to develop here with IT companies potentially offering services to each other. We also believe tourism and hospitality is a high potential sector, especially with providing their customers with cutting edge digital experience.
HERALD: Do you think Goa has the right ecosystem for catering to big ticket IT companies?
SP: The Indian IT sector has thrived on scale – employing more than four million people directly with the big ticket IT companies leading the way. In Goa however, perhaps the ecosystem is more suited to developing a talent pool for niche areas. These could be technology focused such as the focus that Tangentia has around RPA, AI, and Blockchain. This could also be industry sector focused: for example, Goa would be a great place to have a pool of business analysts and domain specialists for the tourism and hospitality sector. The digital nomads program and Start-up Goa initiatives of the Goa Government will also help build the ecosystem here.
HERALD: Goa recently launched its set of schemes for start-ups. How will it help the ecosystem of start-ups here?
SP: The start-up schemes which are a part of the Goa IT policy have the potential to attract Goan diaspora from all over the world to either relocate back to Goa, or at least start getting involved in contributing back to the State. This could be by funding of start-ups through angel investments, by mentoring, by providing access to their network, and so on. In turn, the start-up ecosystem in Goa can take help from the diaspora for business connects and wider reach. The lure of the Goan IT dream is definitely a strong one and I am proof that the wheels have started to turn and I think it’s a matter of time the trickle turns into a flood.