UP made $9 billion in Silicon Valley deals: state team

Ritu Jha-

Uttar Pradesh has made deals involving more than $9 million in investment after a delegation visited Silicon Valley, according to Suresh Khanna, the finance minister of the Indian state.

The UP Global Investment Summit (UPGIS) was part of the upcoming Global Investors Summit
to be held on January 11 and 12, 2023 in Indore, Uttar Pradesh.

Khanna and his team interacted with the US diaspora, incubator centers, and universities in the San Francisco Bay Area from Dec 14 through 17 and pitched as well as urged them to invest in the state.

The delegation presented a plan for a “new Uttar Pradesh,” aimed at raising the worth of the state’s economy to $1 trillion in five years. It is worth $220 billion today. The event at the Sheraton in Palo Alto, California, was jointly hosted by the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum and the Confederation of Indian Industry in coordination with the Indian consulate in San Francisco.

When indica asked about this long gap since the last visit by a U.P. delegation to the U.S. to woo investors and the timing of this visit to seek investments when the US is on the verge of recession, Khanna responded: “We believe it is better late than never. During the last five years, we have sought Rs 3.5 lakh crore investment ($42 trillion). Now, during the global investors’ summit in January, we seek investments worth Rs 10,000 lakh crore ($121 trillion). We are optimistic, and we want UP to be the best in all sectors.”

On the final day of the trip to northern California, Arvind Kumar, the state’s infrastructure and industrial development commissioner, told indica the team have signed a memorandum of understanding that involved investments to the tune of Rs. 75,000 crore minimum (about $9.6 billion).

Besides, he said the Austin Consulting Group, which has proposed an investment worth $42 billion, sought to set up an education hub in a 5,000-acre area in UP; the first phase would involve an investment of $7 billion. The group was to soon send a team that government officials would direct to three or four short-listed locations.

Texas-based Geothermal is also to invest $100 million in the energy sector, Kumar said.

“So the Rs. 75,000 crores … is on the lower side,” Kumar said.

Other investors lined up are the Center for Design Research, a research center at Stanford University, in Stanford, California, FalconX, and California Life Sciences.

“With FalconX, we have an MoU [to] set up an innovation center in UP,” Kumar said. FalconX is a Silicon Valley technology accelerator that helps global startups with mentorship, investment, and introductions to VCs and customers.

The Saloni Heart Foundation (SHF), founded by Milli and Himanshu Seth are also entering into a partnership with the UP government.

Kumar said that while the team was overwhelmed with the response, “execution depends on both sides – and both parties have to show interest.”

After seeing interest in the semiconductor sector the team, which held one-to-one discussions with companies in the area, are hopeful of positive outcomes.

“For the defense sector, we spoke to manufacturers in New York and London. And we have had very good discussions with companies like Rolls Royce, ADS Group, and others,” Kumar said, adding that the state was also developing a mentorship for startups.
“A lot of mentoring can come from the knowledge base available here in Silicon Valley,” he said. “We are also looking at this aspect during this visit to the U.S.”

“We want to relocate our factory from China to India,” Rose Cheung, president of Radiant Energy, LLC, which focuses on solar energy, told indica. “China has a good source of labor, and India part of BRICS. There are a lot of opportunities. I am looking for subsidies on costs and any assistance… Radiant [in involved in] electricity generation in the U.S. We are looking at all opportunities in India.” Radiant has never invested in India before.

Venture capitalist and former TiE Silicon Valley president Ram Reddy, who was one of the attendees, told indica that while delegates from Indian states keep coming to Silicon Valley, the way the UP team had positioned themselves was smart.

“The policies that they spell out are not anything unique in my opinion but they do have the passion … and everybody spoke really well,” Reddy said.

Deepak Bhagat also pointed to UP’s strategic partnership with IIT-Kanpur and IIT-Varanasi. IIT-Kanpur is helping in work on defense, drone technology, agricultural tech, and artificial and machine intelligence.

Indian Institute of Technology Bay Area Alumni members at the UP Global Investor Summit event at Sheraton in Palo Alto, Calif.

Bhagat, co-founder of IITK Alumni Movement in the US and Co-Founder of IIT Kanpur Foundation said he and others have already started the process of building an IIT alumni team both in the U.S. and in UP, and have approached IIT-Kanpur and the state’s secretaries for partnerships.

“We now have 22 years of leading IITK alumni and raising $35M in the
US for various programs for IIT Kanpur,” said Bhagat, the co-founder of the IITK Alumni Movement in the U.S., and the IIT-Kanpur Foundation.

Vish Mishra, another former TiE Silicon Valley president and IIT-BHU alumnus, who hosted a UP government in 2016, said that while the state had promise, “compared to southern states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana that have attracted IT corporates, UP has to catch up and get to a GDP of one $ 1trillion… I like their ambition and the energy in the room.”

He said that with Mumbai, Chennai, and Hyderabad getting saturated, Indian companies were moving to second-tier cities, such as those in UP. He said UP is less expensive, and the people there are more ambitious now, making it unnecessary for investors to set up offices in Bangalore.

“In India people want to be in their state. They have renowned universities and the good thing is that this is a stable government,” Mishra said.

Ritesh Tandon, president, UPMA (Uttar Pradesh Mandal Of America) who hosted the UP delegation told indica “UPMA will invest $200,000 every year to support educational projects for underprivileged children at Anganwadi and Daycare in Uttar Pradesh.”


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