Little Eye Labs deal a big positive for Indian startups' - GSF's Sawhney

Just days after the news of Facebook acquiring Bangalore-based Little Eye Labs created plenty of buzzes, analysts across the nation are predicting that this might just signal the start of the West taking a serious interest in India. While the team at Little Eye Labs is all set to move to Menlo Park to work with the mobile division of Facebook, what is interesting to look at is the manner in which they were noticed, first within the Indian ecosystem, and eventually by the social-networking giant.

Rajesh Sawhney, founder GSF Accelerator, one of the investors in the startup, says, "For us, personally, the reason why we chose to invest in Little Eye Labs is that of two things. One the team was made up of seasoned industry veterans and second, they have a driving vision of clarity. They knew what they were getting into and they also knew the road they were going to take, to get there."

According to a report by Techcrunch, the deal was estimated to be under $15 million. Little Eye Labs is primarily involved in creating tools that analyze mobile apps. This is of primary importance to app developers and testers as it helps them understand the performance of the app and also the best ways to optimize the performance.

Sawhney says that in the previous year, the entire team of Little Eye Labs had traveled to locations across the US in order to showcase their products. "The team with Little Eye Labs traveled to the US including Silicon Valley to showcase their products. However, Facebook didn't immediately contact them about for the same," Sawhney says. While he is tight-lipped about the exact time Facebook got in touch and the manner in which the deal was finalized, he believes that Little Eye Labs will be instrumental in helping Facebook reach an ultimate goal as far as their mobile division is concerned.

What this means for the team at Little Eye Labs is that their work will be a very specific set in terms of Facebook's strategy to make larger forays into the mobile industry, something it struggled with initially, but seems to be getting better at off late. Sawhney says, "It would be imprudent on my part to comment on the work that they would be doing at Facebook, but I think it would be pretty much the same things that they were doing here in India."

Speaking about the team at Little Eye Labs, Sawhney says there's no substitute for hard work and an understanding of the market, that often comes only with experience. "These (the Little Eye Labs team) are people who have to spend considerable years understanding the software industry, its inherent pitfalls and shortcomings and the manner in which they can be rectified or improved upon. It is important to note that the work that Little Eye Labs has been doing in mobile app testing is very good. The tour to the US which we did last year was important because it also showcased the serious product value of Indian startups."

Is this a signal that the West is looking to India now? Sawhney takes a different take on the question. He says that the West was always curious about the manner in which the Indian software scene was shaping up but now there is a definite shift. "For instance, earlier on it was all about looking at India as a services provider. All the major software players in India were involved in primarily providing services. With the acquisition, however, things are shifting in a different direction. They are now looking to us as product creators."

Perhaps, more importantly, the deal is bound to enthuse the Indian startup ecosystem. "The deal also makes us and Indian startups optimistic - not about just creating a product, but also about becoming the next billion-dollar company that is based out of India," Sawhney concludes on an optimistic note.