Background And Need

The founding team conceived CDC in 2004 as part of the PanIIT Future of Computing Initiative (Pi-Foci) which was launched at the first PanIIT India Global Convention held in New Delhi under the mentorship of the then President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam and Dr Sanjay Dhande, then Director of IIT Kanpur.

 

The Pi-Foci sessions saw the participation of over 600 eminent IIT alumni. They came from the semiconductors, electronics and high technology sectors from India, USA, Western Europe, Japan, Singapore and China. The sessions clearly outlined the urgent need for a development fund which would help commercialise innovations in the development sector. Such a fund would help those sectors reinvent themselves using emerging tools like smartphones and remote services. These tools would be indispensable to cater cost-effectively to development needs of a rapidly transforming India. The interactions clearly highlighted that the venture capital sector in India was focused on commercial services and the supposedly "manufacturing oriented" banks and other financial institutions lacked appetite for funding opportunities in the development sector where the benefits were captured in the externalities rather than in the financials of the company itself.

It also emerged that there was no national level development fund which was configured to fund highly scalable development projects. The Pi-Foci initiatives continued into the PanIIT Global meet in Mumbai and 2006, Chennai in 2008 and in Delhi in 2010. After carefully incorporating the lessons from previous efforts as Media Lab and India Innovation Fund, CDC Capital was set up to fill an important gap in funding for innovation and development.