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Suits & Sayings: Wackiest whispers and murmurs in corporate corridors

ET’s bi-weekly roundup of the wackiest whispers and murmurs in corporate corridors & policy parlours

ET Bureau|
Apr 20, 2015, 04.55 AM IST
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ET’s bi-weekly roundup of the wackiest whispers and murmurs in corporate corridors & policy parlours.
ET’s bi-weekly roundup of the wackiest whispers and murmurs in corporate corridors & policy parlours.
Shaadi Inc

It’s shaadi time in India Inc again. We hear India’s telecom czar Sunil Mittal’s son and entrepreneur Kavin Mittal is close to tying the knot. Mittal Jr is a groom-to-be with an impressive CV – he created AppSpark in 2009 and a year later ‘Foodster’, a food recommendation app, and now he heads Hike, an instant messaging platform that’s a JV between Bharti Enterprises and SoftBank. Another young bizman who little birdies tell us may leave bachelorhood behind is Shashwat Goenka, son of RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group chairman Sanjiv Goenka. Shashwat is CEO of Spencer’s Retail chain. If you are the kind of person who gets invited to this kind of big weddings, get ready.

Do Not Disturb

Remember those pesky calls from phone bankers hawking credit cards, personal loans or insurance policies right when you are in the middle of a crisis situation? We the aam aadmi are all victims of it. But recently a first-time Union Cabinet minister from Maharashtra was also on the receiving end. But guess how he reacted? In a classic case of power and high office going to one’s head, our irritated minister – in the middle of a social do – immediately dialed the bank’s CEO from his other private number and blasted her, demanding immediate action against such misdemeanors. Calm down mantriji, welcome to the real world. But we couldn’t help wondering if only we had such instant redressal mechanisms.

Coffee Deals

If Mumbai’s Powai, home to Mumbai’s IIT is the “Valley” for startups in the city, then the two Starbucks in Bandra Kurla Complex seem surely to be the desi Wall Street equivalent of Del Frisco’s or Harry’s Cafe where these entrepreneurs go to “brew” deals with angels and venture capitalists. The fact these coffee shops are housed in buildings that are teeming with investment banks and PE and VC funds is a double advantage. Anytime you visit them on weekdays, they are teeming with the laidback angels in their sleek seude shoes mingling with bankers in natty suits and grungy entreprenuers making presentations on their smart devices. Borrowing the tagline from a famous coffee chain, a lot can indeed happen over a cup of coffee.

Startup Bang

This may be a startup with a big bang difference. We hear a Bengaluru-based tech czar is all set to make a big play on a new venture on defence technology. Defence is India’s new IT – bizmen think it’s uncool not to have a defence play. So, why not our guys who rode the tech start-up boom and made serious dosh?

Ad House

Jeez! How much cash does Goafest make for its organiser Advertising Agencies Association of India? Ok, so, AAAI says it’s a non-profit and sure, it is. But it’s a non-profit with rivers of cash – that’s how AAAI could buy a nice property in a prime Mumbai location. Guess all those entry fees and delegate fees really add up.

Howzzat!

Venture funds anxious to find favour with entrepreneurs always give the young ‘uns a good time. While some founders take the conventional route by organising gatherings over beer and pizza, one marquee Silicon Valley fund picked four founders and handed them beer, startup talk and, guess what, IPL game tickets too!

PM Tales - 1

Private media are no longer welcome aboard Air India One, the PM’s special aircraft for travelling aboard. But even state media, which is allowed free boarding, hardly gets any time with the PM. A veteran journo from state media was lamenting that on Modi’s foreign visits, the closest media comes to the PM is his Twitter account. Modi, this journo says, has zero interaction with state media, which has to make do with MEA’s spokesperson. He and others fondly recall Vajpayee days – India’s first BJP PM was famously amiable and always good for a quote or two.

PM Tales - 2

There’s one thrilled babu in Delhi - civil aviation secretary V Somasundaran. The babu got a call from none other than the PM when the US aviation watchdog FAA upgraded India’s civil aviation status. The ministry had worked hard on this and the secy apparently got a delightful shock when he heard the PM’s voice on the phone
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