Subash Menon and the Vultures

Over the course of 20 years, Subash Menon took the tiny business he founded and turned it into a world-beater, only to loose most of his stake when the company became indebted to so-called ‘vulture funds’. That is the story of Subex and Subash Menon, as told by Forbes India in this article.

Thanks to Sergio Silvestre for sharing the link.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.

2 Comments on "Subash Menon and the Vultures"

  1. Subash is an impressive person, yet I don’t think we need to worry about him.

  2. Eric,

    It’s always interesting to read how general business magazines interpret events in highly specialized markets like telecom.

    The Forbes India article is at least correct in calling the Syndesis acquisition the move Menon most wishes he could take back. However, the article’s claim that Syndesis was in the “service assurance” business is simply untrue. Syndesis was a creature of the provisioning biz (activation, order management, inventory). And Subex retains today at least one valuable asset from the Syndesis line, the network reconciliation product, TrueSource.

    Memories are short. At the time of the Syndesis acquisition, provisioning was considered a hot market. Oracle bought MetaSolv. Amdocs bought Cramer Systems. Telcordia bought Granite Systems. Little did everyone know that the provisioning software business would soon go soft. And no warning given by B/OSS industry analysts [including myself] that the provisioning market would soon run into trouble.

    One implication in the Forbes story I strongly challenge is the idea that India can’t produce strong software companies. About 15% of IBM employees live in India, which means that probably 50% or more of IBM’s code is written in India. Talk about technical excellence!

    And besides Subex, another successful Indian software company is <a href=””>WebNMS</a>, the dominant player in OEM markets for network/element management software – both off-the-shelf and custom.

    One of the sharpest CEOs in telecom software today is Indian-born Atul Jain of TEOCO who I recently interviewed for <a href=””>Black Swan</a>. One thing that probably helps Indian software CEOs is doing a stint in an advanced industrial market like the U.S. and the UK. In addition, marketing and sales experience nicely rounds out a software CEO’s training, I feel.

    The Syndesis over-reach aside, Menon’s long-term success at Subex boldly disproves the “can’t be done because it’s never been done” bias of editors like those at Forbes India. Indian firms and Indian executives are and will continue to succeed in software.

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