Friday, March 22, 2002

A Sweet and Spicy Enticement

Not left to just airports these days, security x-ray machines and people-scanners are popping up in many places. For instance my trip to Quantum Venture Partners’ and British Consul-General Sir Thomas Harris’ cocktail reception on Friday, March 22nd began with a scan through security before the elevator quietly took me up to the British Consulate on the 9th floor. I was greeted warmly by Quantum Ventures’ Liliana Galeano and immediately ran into one of Silicon Alley’s great business women, Accents by Allison’s Tery Spataro ( The spacious carpeted room was filled with a strong contingent of Indian men and women who would throughout the evening make their way unabashedly to the Indian-food feast that was prepared by Parlin, NJ-based Chingari, a fine Indian cuisine company. The first chap we ran into on our way over to investigate the mouth-watering foods was the bubbly Narayana Raorampilla. Venture capitalist, attorney and actor, Mr. Raorampilla told us about his recent TV commercial work with actor Kevin Bacon, which apparently aired during the Superbowl.

Laurus’ J. Christopher Botero, Bounty Venture Group’s MD Kevin Pollack and I had extensive chats about projects they’re working on. Quantum Venture Partners’ Raj Pamnani brought me up to speed on a number of his firm’s investments and their alliance with the British Consulate. Because of their connections with many major firms in the UK, like British Telecom, they can help their network of CEOs set up business in England.

Sir Thomas Harris and the consulate also made sure people were aware of just how much they want to help you. There were “Invest UK” brochures touting investment opportunities in chemical, e-business, nanotechnology and other leading edge industries to provide background and contact information.

Pace University professor of Finance and Associate Director for the Center for Applied Research of the Lubin School of Business Surendra Kaushik is also helping out people interested in business. But his interest is in educating women in India for careers. He explained to me how in 1999 he founded the Mrs. Helena Kaushik Women’s College in Rajasthan, India. Named after his wife the school is to help for young women in India to achieve excellence in all their endeavors and be visionary and effective leaders in their chosen fields. Currently degrees in the liberal arts are available and they will be offering a masters program and courses of study in chemistry, math and biology this coming year. The first class will be graduating this spring! For more information on this very worthwhile endeavor, you can check out and the non-profit organization associated with it:

Y|Interact’s Ahmed Yearwood was enthusiastic as we chatted about his business and J.P. Morgan Securities analysts Brian Field and Timothy Milton were giving Ms. Spataro and me their take on the evening. Some things are better left unsaid, but suffice it to say it was a lively discussion and Tery educated the two chaps on the importance of quality website integration and design. Speaking of great web design,’s CEO Dietmar Petutschnig called me over and we had a chance to catch up as well. He’s been busy with lots of fashion-week related work and things are going so well (47% growth) that they’re going to be hiring a project manager.

Well now, with people like Raj and the British Consulate helping companies expand and with some Silicon Alley companies hiring, I’d say things are starting to look up a little bit, no?