Outsourcing: Nothing to fear but fear itself
November 29, 2004
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
Should we fear outsourcing
or harness it? This Thursday, Lisle Technology Partners CEO Adarsh
Arora steps to the podium at the Chicagoland Entrepreneurship
Center to tell Chicago's emerging technology companies to capitalize
has been a leader in elevating the discussion on the impact of
outsourcing," says President David Weinstein, of the Entrepreneurship
Center. "He woke many people to the realities, and helped
frame the discussion for Chicago's emerging tech firms to embrace
is no run-of-the-mill speaker. He's an accomplished entrepreneur
whose network extends from Silicon Valley to Boston's Route 128
across the globe to Bangalore, India.
plays a pivotal role building products for high tech start-ups.
Lisle Tech takes modest cash fees, and assumes an equity position
with clients. "We really love entrepreneurship," says
Arora. "We have equity in six or seven companies." Arora
expects three will do very well; one has gone bankrupt and the
others are struggling.
to Chicago from New Delhi at age 19 to study computer science
at Northwestern. He earned his Ph.D. in 1978, and joined Bell
Labs, where he became bored and took a leave to teach at IIT.
fun stuff but it just doesn't pay enough," jokes Arora, who
joined Gould Research Center in Rolling Meadows. At Gould, Arora
won a $1 million contract to explore graphic interface technology
for the U.S. Air Force.
was sold in 1986, Arora formed his own company, Vista Technologies
to complete the work. His company built software for the largest
computer-aided design firms in the world.
venture, Beritus Software Services, focused on software maintenance.
He merged Vista into Beritus, and went after the Y2K opportunity.
In July 1997, Montgomery Securities took him public. Arora and
his colleagues started the road show seeking $8 to $10 per share,
and on the day of the offering, investors paid $16 per share.
first trade was $27 a share," says Arora. The market cap
reached $498 million.
At the same
time Beritus was going public, Arora's wife took an expatriate
assignment to set up an R&D center for Motorola in India.
He began commuting between India and the United States, establishing
a research and development center of his own for Beritus in Bangalore.
Y2K phenomenon peaking, Arora left the company in 1998. He experimented
with a $12 million angel fund in Silicon Valley before launching
Lisle Tech here in 1999 with three colleagues from Gould days;
Sowmitri Swamy, a Ph.D. from Brown who taught at the University
of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; David Kopac, a Ph.D. in artificial
intelligence from Northwestern; and David Hurst also a Northwestern
seeing a lot of businesses being formed, but people don't know
how to build successful products," says Arora. They bought
the Bangalore R&D center from Beritus and today they build
products for emerging technology companies here and in India.
tech Pulls RSNA'04
If you work
in a Chicago restaurant this week and business is good, thank
Ellen Barry, CIO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority.
is a key reason the Radiological Society of North America is back
in town at McCormick Place. The show, called RSNA'04, runs through
Friday, and is expected to draw 60,000 visitors to Chicago.
Place is unique in the convention business in providing cutting-edge
technology like our Internet2 connection," says Barry. "Internet2
is a separate connection to a separate network that allows large
volumes of data to move quickly without interference. It's especially
important when demonstrating remote surgical techniques like haptics
which give surgeons thousands of miles away the feel of tissue
or bone," according to Barry.
at Executives' Club
CEO Steve Ballmer comes to town Tuesday to speak at the
Executives' Club of Chicago. Chicago's clearly an important venue
for Microsoft and Ballmer's visit is significant. Microsoft recruits
more engineers from the U. of I. Downstate than any other school.
Microsoft currently employs over 300 at its Wacker Drive offices.
Ballmer's topic: "Beyond information technology, using innovation
to drive your CEO's agenda." Watch for Ballmer to unveil
a major investment in Chicago's civic and quality-of-life infrastructure.
Krauss is a Chicago-based tech writer and consultant.