India’s dotcom revolution

by May 24, 2022 0 comments

Edited excerpts from an exhaustive video interview with Rajesh Jain, Founder & MD, Netcore Cloud & Founder, IndiaWorld Communications

“I had started IndiaWorld Communications, India’s first Internet portal in March 1995, even before commercial Internet was available in India in August. It was initially focused on NRIs. It came from my stay in the US when I realized the challenges for people to get information about India. At that time when we had to upload data to our servers in the US, we had to make international calls, sometimes almost Rs 100 a minute. It would still take an extraordinary amount of time. This was before VSNL launched dial-up services in India.

Is this a new TV channel?

When we spoke to one of India’s leading media organizations, to tell them why they should have a website to allow them to reach Indians globally, the first question I got was: Is this a new TV channel? Because no one knew about it. So, I started doing seminars: How to make money on the Internet. It was a very exciting time because I had the sense that this would be big. The Internet had this promise that this was something new. This was a great bridge. In my original business plan, I called it: An Electronic Information Marketplace.

Then we decided to do website development. The first two websites we launched were O&M the ad agency and Boyden the executive search firm. Later in the year, we got a very big order from Kotak. In the early days, the websites were primarily targeted at NRIs. The first few websites we did really set the trend and were later involved with 200 corporate websites. They were very big innovations at that time. A couple of years later I created verticals:,,, and, which really became very popular. Then the Indian traffic also started going up. But dial-up services were very expensive in the early days. For five years my wife and I essentially ran it 24X7. If a server went down, I would have to go to VSNL where we were doing hosting, in the middle of the night because nobody else could do it.

The $115 million deal

In 1998-99 there were a lot of portals being launched and investments started happening because the Internet dotcom had become the next big thing globally and people expected that to happen in India also. In October 1999, we got offers from two companies at the same time. The first was US company which owned The second was Satyam Infoway (later called Sify), which had just done an IPO. That was a great event in India, the first Indian Internet company to go in for an IPO, and that too on Nasdaq. Their stocks were rising rapidly. After negotiations, our initial valuation of $40 million went to $115 million. That was Rs 499 crore and we were a Rs 3 crore revenue company. Six months later the dot-com crash started happening. But still, after that, a lot of people told me that the deal was a turning point in their lives. While at that time there were problems like connectivity, the promise was there. A lot of companies started at that time, in the 1999-2000 period, all built for the Internet.”

These are excerpts from a video chat with Editor Sunil Rajguru and part of our PCQuest 35 Years Series on the Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow of Technology.

Check out the complete interview…


No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.