The coming together of Texas Instruments and the vision of C. Valliappa made it possible for Bangalore to be the IT hub of India. The story of the first multinational IT set up in Bangalore, Karnataka, India & the establishment of software industry in Karnataka described in a nutshell.

First multinational IT set up in Bangalore, Karnataka, India

The phenomenal rise in prominence of the software industry in Karnataka after the first multinational IT set up in Bangalore, Karnataka, India is an essential read because it is interesting as well as intellectually nourishing. From its humble yet ambitious beginning, many factors contributed to shape the growth of software industry in India.

The birth of the industry of Information Technology in India goes back to the establishment of TCS in Mumbai. It is no surprise, what with Mumbai having been the commercial capital of India from the beginning! However, the intriguing part is the final localization of the IT sector in Karnataka.

The tale commences with the first multinational IT set up in Bangalore, Karnataka, India


Circumstances leading to set up of software industry in Karnataka

With the ushering in of the 80s, the world’s quest for a destination was on to accommodate the urgent demand of the bludgeoning IT sector for space with availability of skilled (or at least, trainable) human resource.

The Texas Instruments (TI), under its Chairman Mark Shepherd, was looking at options like China, Philippines, etc. for setting up an overseas development and delivery center. TI zeroed in on India, trying different cities in Maharashtra first and then in Tamil Nadu.

The State Governments of both these states denied permission for multiple reasons. TI then looked at Karnataka and found Bangalore very suitable. However, it needed support of an entity with vision, resourcefulness and integrity.

The vision of C. Valliappa

The success of Texas Instruments in setting base in Bangalore depended on cooperation of the Government, corporate support and infrastructure.

The association of TI with C. Valliappa was a perfect answer for this. With a clear insight, Valliappa realized the prospects of IT in India and the kind of potential it had in contributing to the GDP as well as in creating massive employment. With Valliappa on its side, things started looking up immediately for Texas Instruments and the growth of software industry in India. The then Chief Minister of Karnataka, Gundu Rao, agreed to grant permission to the US firm. TI wanted land near an international airport for obvious reasons. The CM of Karnataka granted it land near the HAL Airport, Bangalore.

Thus, Texas Instruments along with C. Valliappa began writing history. In 1982, Valliappa brought Texas Instruments, and the IT sector along with it, to Bangalore, the IT hub of India, in a bullock cart!


IT revolution arrives to India in a Bullock Cart

Indeed, the dawn of the era of Information Technology in India was spectacular. On that special day, a heavily loaded bullock cart rolled in merrily, pulled by a healthy white bullock. On it, were loaded quite a few wooden crates carrying the future of India.

Texas Instruments had to begin the process by establishing an R&D facility in Bangalore. For this, it required round the clock communication with its base in the US and for that, it needed to set up a private satellite dish. The crates in the above-mentioned bullock cart contained the parts of that satellite.

The journey of C. Valliappa and the growth of software industry in Karnataka had begun. Before long, other MNCs like Verifone, Cisco, Oracle, etc. moved into the same building where the bullock cart had rolled in. Consequently, that building became an IT park – the Valliappa Software Technology Park – in 1996.

Today, it stands proud as Sona Towers!


Reasons that made Bangalore the IT hub

The first multinational IT set up in Bangalore, Karnataka, India and its successful consequences deserve analysis.

“Bangalore stood out in terms of the education environment, proximity to institutions and companies already there… Proved to be a great decision!”

- Srini Rajam, MD India, Texas Instruments (in an interview to Itihasa)

As mentioned above, there can be no doubt that taking Texas Instruments’ cue, many IT MNCs made a beeline to Bangalore. They began forming symbiotic clusters giving birth to IT Parks resulting in transforming the city into “the Silicon Valley”. There are some fundamental factors that allowed Bangalore to sustain this IT flood. Availability of skilled labor & infrastructure, social & political stability, absence of labor conflicts, and extensive encouragement from the State Government – all contributed significantly. Also, the software industry in Karnataka grew because of the innovative inputs from the highly skilled technocrats that the esteemed academic institutions thriving in multitudes in Bangalore created.

“The focus on knowledge accumulation shifts the policy to focus on processes that convert the cluster based ‘production systems’ into ‘innovation systems.” (Mytelka, Farinelli, Pellegrin, 2000-01)


How big is India’s software industry? It’s huge! The Information Technology revolution in India and the resultant IT sector accounted for 8% of India’s GDP in 2020. In 2016-17, Bangalore accounted for 38% of total IT exports from India ($45 billion).

Everything boils down to the vision and efforts of a handful of men for the first international IT set up in Bangalore. Great things often have humble beginnings. Irrespective of the time elapsed, whenever we look back at the marvelous journey of the Indian IT sector, the story will always begin with C. Valliappa bringing hope to India on a bullock cart.