Seema Singh

CO-FOUNDER AND EDITOR

Seema has over two decades of experience in journalism. Before starting The Ken, Seema wrote “Myth Breaker: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and the Story of Indian Biotech”, published by HarperCollins in May 2016. Prior to that, she was a senior editor and bureau chief for Bangalore with Forbes India, and before that she wrote for Mint. Seema has written for numerous international publications like IEEE-Spectrum, New Scientist, Cell and Newsweek. Seema is a Knight Science Journalism Fellow from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a MacArthur Foundation Research Grantee.

97 Articles published

Top Comments by Seema Singh

Adar Poonawalla’s bid to vaccinate Serum Institute against all threats

Madhusudan, thanks for reading the story. I am not sure what exactly you expected from the story. We have written many stories on vaccines at The Ken. This one was to place Serum and its current decisions and predicaments in context. As you rightly say, big pharma has shed its vaccine business over the past decade or so. Because most vaccines are paediatric vaccines, they are mostly distributed by public health agencies. Big pharma can't make much money off that given their high cost structures. But Indian vaccine companies have found a niche - to supply to global donor or national health agencies. The demand is stable, guaranteed and no salesforce is required. Retail market is not for Indian companies. Bharat Biotech tried its hand at retail biz with its typhoid vaccine and it had a tough time competing with the MNCs. Serum has built a valuable business which gets 40+% margins. It is well placed to unlock some of the value and use that money to raise its game.

Seema Singh

Do we need a Tiger Global to back India’s deep-tech race, not just the horse?

Thanks, Kishore. Deep tech generally means something proprietary (has monetisable IP), not run of the mill, and solves some wicked problems of the world or of business. People today use off the shelf ML/AI models, build solutions and call it deep tech. That's not really deep tech. Eg, Google's Tensorflow, an open source platform for ML, is deep tech, but using Tensorflow to build something is not considered deep tech. Some may still call it deep tech if the new tech solves some hard-to-crack problems and has a deep impact. And no, deep tech doesn't just mean AI or AR or ICT. It encompasses science-driven technologies in material science, life sciences, biotech, (new diagnostics, reagents, devices), robotics, space...The list is exhaustive :)

Seema Singh

Inside BCG’s long game to defeat McKinsey in India

Thanks, Anish. McKinsey says two consulting entities exist for "taxation" reasons. I don't get that and they did not elaborate on that point. But what still bewilders me is the fact that a so-called Indian entity, meant to record Indian consulting revenues, is incorporated as Inc. In brackets they also call it "India Branch Offices". Which is why in my response to the previous comment (which I figured is from an ex-McKinsey Partner), I said the story "reveals" a lot about the two companies :)

Seema Singh

AWS, Microsoft and the race to turn Big Gov into big business

Saurabh, your concern about not believing some of the unnamed information is valid. You are new to The Ken, but we've been around for more than four years. If we concocted facts, we'd not be here today :) Our opinions are backed by facts and reporting. We don't just state or report facts, but put them in context. So what may seem like opinion, is analysis borne out of reportage. People are increasingly loath to being identified or quoted by name because they fear retribution or repercussion for speaking out.

Seema Singh

Inside BCG’s long game to defeat McKinsey in India

Shailesh, I am sorry to see that you are not seeing the point of the story or the seriousness of the issue. BCG claims it's #1 in an internal announcement. I source its revenue numbers from MCA and ask if they still stand by their claim, they say yes. I source all McKinsey numbers that's possibly available in searchable format on MCA — 3 companies— and challenge them. McKinsey refuses to share revenues of one entity which they say exists because of "taxation issue". It's also named differently for an Indian entity, as Inc. and as "India Branch offices". If the global #1 is cagey about numbers, if the global #2 sticks its neck out and claims it's beaten #1, who will you trust? Triangulating using partner or consultant numbers is not correct because utilisations rates vary. Anyone in the industry will tell you corroborating an MNCs actual revenues when they have half a dozen entity is fraught. Only their accountants know how they count local revenue. With that in mind, I went with BCG's strong claim. To your point that BCG would be twice the size, I did not assume that because I know such companies have wild cards in the form of some entity registered under some rubric. There's nothing sensational about the story. If anything, it reveals so much about the two companies.

Seema Singh

BCG’s playbook to crest the consultancy wave sweeping government

Chakradar, you are perhaps right. Without reforming the bureaucracy and building institutions that allow officers to take bold decisions and not just be a pawn in the hands of politicians, there's no point in wasting more resources. But if there's a political will, even without big bang national level reforms, using the NRLM structure, bright young educated graduates can be hired and trained to execute at the lower level. Something like an apprenticeship program which politician Jairam Ramesh once was a champion of. Problem is, no one has the time or a long term vision. Elections happen every 5 years, right?

Seema Singh

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