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Morgan Stanley bets on start-ups in India for future collaboration

Debasis Mohapatra/Bengaluru 13 Oct 18 | 11:54 PM

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Deepening its engagement in India, Morgan Stanley is inching towards a strong collaboration with the start-up ecosystem. It is also strengthening its in-house capabilities in new technology areas by adding more engineers to its captive centres in the country. For the first time, the financial services giant conducted its CTO innovation summit out of Bengaluru this week. It has been holding this summit in the Silicon Valley for the last 18 years. 

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The main objective behind this initiative is to connect with emerging start-ups in the country that are working in the domain of artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and machine learning, among others, Bobby Gilja, managing director & chief information officer of corporate and funding technology at Morgan Stanley told Business Standard. 

Given the availability of human resource and high concentration of startups working in the financial services technology domain, Bengaluru has been chosen for the event this year. 

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“We started with an initial list of 120 startups but narrowed it down to 16. We have been present in Bengaluru for the last four years and feel that this is the right time to start connecting with the local startup ecosystem here," Gilja added.

The company has selected start-ups across five streams such as AI and machine learning, automation, data and analytics, fintech and infrastructure for collaboration. 

Morgan Stanley, which had total assets under management (AUM) of $474 billion as on June 30, 2018, is investing heavily in newer technologies for optimal use of resources apart from developing insights for various funding decisions. According to the company, currently its funding decisions are being aided by technology to know the durability and quality of funding. Similarly, machine learning is used for anomaly detection in the surveillance space. Natural language processing (NLP) is enabling the firm to get insights after analysing large amounts of unstructured data.

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The financial services firm said that its Indian centres play an important role in coming up with newer technology-enabled solutions. Morgan Stanley has around 3,000 engineers across its two technology centres in Mumbai and Bengaluru, and the company is looking at stepping up its local hiring further.

“In the last three years, we (our employee count) have grown (at a CAGR) around 15-20 per cent and we expect it to grow at a good pace," said Chakra Mantena, Managing Director and head of technology for Morgan Stanley India. 

While the firm started its operations in Mumbai way back in 2003, its Bengaluru centre came up four years ago. India has emerged as an attractive destination for global in-house centres with many companies setting up such units in the country to drive research and development work in the digital technology space.

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