Why does the Indian ecosystem need Lean startup Principles? Vivek Sagi, Innovacion speaks

25th Jul 2012
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Vivek Sagi

5 months ago, two very smart guys reached out to Vivek Sagi and his partner of Innovacion, Angel Investors with an idea in tariff engineering for the U.S fashion industry. The idea was to provide a cost saving solution for clothing brands using efficient engineering. With two big retailers showing interest in this product, Vivek Sagi almost thought he had hit the nail on the next big idea till he decided to step back and approach the idea using Lean startup principles. Vivek and his partner spent 3 whole days in the Fashion district of New York doing their research, talking to designers and others in the fashion industry. Innovacion realized that the idea was not as big as they had thought. Designers were already aware of the cost effective solution that technology could offer them but the cost difference was marginal.“In 3 weeks time, we had a much better sense of the market and we could decide on the idea and that is the point of the lean startup. It helps you realize that you should pull the plug a lot sooner than waiting for 3 yrs building a product passionately only to find out that your product has no market,” Vivek explains. Having mentored several startups using the Lean startup principles, Vivek will lead a workshop on the A to Z Guide to Build a Lean Startup organized by Innominds to be held onAug 12, 2012 at IIIT, Gachibowli, Hyderabad. Having worked with Innominds for the last 2of the 4 startups Innovacion mentored, Innominds and Innovacion go a long way together as partners.

Why does the Indian startup ecosystem require the Lean startup principles? Well from the talent perspective, Vivek believes Indians have an edge, for the Silicon Valley places a huge emphasis on technical founders. So what are the Indians doing wrong? “I see a huge difference in the market-product fit in India. Most Indian companies are building a product and then see who wants to buy it. Essentially they are skipping 2 two steps. You need to talk to the people who are going to buy and use it. You need to find a customer that is willing to pay for it,” says Vivek

A recent Harvard Business Review says that 9 out of 10 products fail including the big brands. 66%, 2/3rds of all companies end up doing something completely different from what they originally started off with. As for the ones that are successful, only 1/3rd of them stick to their original idea. Rest of the time it changes after market research. Thus waste of time and talent spending months building a product. People end up doing what they are comfortable doing – building product. But the need of the hour is to build market and build customers.

“Most entrepreneurs, even serial entrepreneurs are making this mistake. Tech co-founder is good but most people have not got experience in marketing and sales. Not being able to do their own marketing and sales might be hindering them from building the right company. All most all of them spend most of their time building a product or they made the best product but didn’t want it,” argues Vivek.

Reason enough the focus in his workshop will be on the business model with special emphasis on reducing risk and yet experimenting to get results.

Who can attend this worksop?

According to Vivek, anyone doing a new product inside a big company is also an entrepreneur not essentially someone who is only doing something on his own. So the workshop is open to anybody building in a new product on their own or for another company.

“The most precious commodity is time. 9 out of 10 companies are not going to the market. My highest benefit from Lean startup principles is that it allows me to figure out if any of my ideas are one of the 9 out of 10 in weeks instead of years,” concludes Vivek who is now keen on investing in the retail market in India.

Know more about the program, and learn how to make a lean startup.

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