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Reference no. 811-030-1
Subject category: Entrepreneurship
Published by:
London Business School (2011)
February 2011
Revision date:
16 pages
Data source:
Field research


This is part of a case series. After selling their first venture, Manish Sabharwal and Ashok Reddy were contemplating their next move. The duo had co-founded India Life in 1997 by applying a western model of HR services to the Indian market. This 'concept arbitrage' was a huge success, as their company grew to become a formidable player. In 2001, Hewitt Associates made an offer Sabharwal and Reddy could not refuse and the co-founders agreed to sell. Over the course of late 2001 and 2002, the two long time friends became frustrated with their new lives and began to plot their next move. They were ready for their next challenge and believed they could apply another form of concept arbitrage in India - this time in temporary staffing. A plus was that this venture could 'Contribute toward putting India to work,' as Sabharwal put it. However, there was one problem they could not ignore: elements of the temporary staffing industry broke Indian labour market laws. With the threat of jail time looming over their heads, they wondered if this was the right opportunity.


India; Growth; Opportunity assessment; Developing world
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