How the Delhi startup ecosystem witnessed a spectacle on July 13th
The capital of India is no stranger to the startup activity and is right up there along with the other startup hubs, Mumbai and Bangalore. NCR (National Capital Region) region is buzzing with startup energy and to fuel this spirit, we went to Delhi on the 13th of July with the fourth edition of TechSparks 2013, India’s largest startup platform for technology product startups.
More than 350 people swarmed the India Habitat Center and we had a healthy mix of entrepreneurs and people wanting to be an entrepreneur in the audience. And they were all treated to a delightful day with immense take aways:
And thus they spake...
TechSparks Delhi had one of the most illustrious speaker lineup in recent times- Deep Kalra, the man behind MakeMyTrip, Amit Ranjan, the person who built SlideShare that was acquired by LinkedIn, and Kavin Bharti Mittal of Bharti Soft Bank, all gave different perspectives to entrepreneurship.
Deep took the audience through ‘his trip’, right from the time he started shopping online to starting up Makemytrip and taking it to an IPO. Amit threw light on how started up SlideShare back in 2006 and grew it to a point when they were acquired by LinkedIn. And Kavin spoke about his experiences of running a mobile company in the UK and then coming to India and starting up Hike.
The speakers were followed by a panel discussion which was moderated by Shradha Sharma and introduced three new people to the panel- Gautam Mago of Sequoia Capital, Vivek Rao from Cisco and Ambarish Gupta, founder of Knowlarity.
The sessions were wound up by the demos of 3 companies that were selected as the City Sparks:
1) Accuster: Founded by Amit Bhatnagar, Accuster is a healthcare startups which has developed a kit (size of a suitcase) wich cam do all the tests (glucose, lipid, blood, etc.) at very reasonable prices ranging from 30 paise to INR 15!
2) Airwoot: A product from memetic Labs, Airwoot is a customer support tool for enterprises to listen to their customers better on social media. Airwoot allows companies and brands to be more prompt and efficient on their customer support via social media.
3) Zoop: An AR app from Gamooz, Zoop can add life to the pictures in newspapers, magazines, books, brochures, etc. It supports 1 million plus trackable images in the cloud.
Some key insights
You don’t need to be perfect, just solve a genuine problem.
Deep, Amit and Ambarish, all touched upon this area by saying that an entrepreneur will be successful if he is solving a genuine problem. Ambarish put it well:
You product need not be the best looking or perfect on launch. If the users need it, they'll find a way to use it. Even before developing, one can go around and just ask if people are willing to buy something like what you're building. Just solve a pain point and traction, funding, etc. will follow.
Hire people smarter than you and think about ESOPs
Hiring is another key area every speaker considered extremely important in building startup. Deep Kalra from his experience of more than a decade of building companies gave some tips on what worked for them-
For me, putting employees over the customers has worked. If your employee is happy, you customer will be happy!
Make sure that as an entrepreneur, you hire people smarter than you.
Amit Ranjan said-
Organizational DNA matter more than ideas, markets and competition.
The other point about hiring and building a culture was about ESOPs (employee stock options). 75% of MakeMyTrip employees had stocks when the company went public! All 45 of Hike's employees have stock options and so was the case with SlideShare. Shradha Sharma while moderating the panel touched upon the importance of this point and how slowly people will start valuing ESOPs much more than how they look at it today. All we need are a couple of huge exits!
Traits of a startup which work in its favour
A starup is nimble, it can adapt to changes very fast. Amit Ranjan applied the Darwin's theory to startups and said that it not usually the strongest startup who'll survive but the one which adapts to change very fast. "Speed now. Scale later," is the mantra for startups and sometimes gives it a edge over much bigger companies because startups can make decisions very quickly. So, use speed as a weapon early on in your startups journey.
Failure risk and ambiguity are very much part of a startup and are terms a early stage comapny deals with on almost a daily basis. But the thrill or kick it gives about building something is immense and also what keeps an entrepreneur going.
And much more...
Yes, it doesn't end here. Apart from all the stimulating discussion and demos, there was ample networking among entrepreneurs, investors, stake holders, etc. and the mouth watering food to top it off with. Delhi was fourth in queue after Kochi, Mumbai and Hyderabad and from here, YourStory heads to Chennai for the 5th city edition!