There will not be dearth in investment in startups, but it is important how entrepreneurs channel them into productivity, says Sushma Rajagopalan of ITC Infotech
Startups at their development stage need a strong ecosystem to foster innovation and should be backed by incubators, investors and various service providers. Speaking at the sixth edition of TechSparks in Bengaluru on Friday, Sushma Rajagopalan, MD & CEO, ITC Infotech, says, “If we look back by 20-25 years to see how we got into the IT services, you can understand it was because of the talent pool in India. And if the same talent pool is leveraged, we can build a strong ecosystem and fuel global innovation.”
Disruption is happening everywhere
With fabulous statistics like 2.67 billion Internet users and four billion YouTube downloads everyday, one can only imagine the kind of disruption happening in today’s world. Landline phones took 17 years to reach one million users whereas WhatsApp did it in less than a year.
Sushma notes, “People are getting connected increasingly and once you get connected you are able to reimagine and reinvent the way you buy, sell and communicate. I communicate with my parents on Facebook; they are 80 years of age and able to do it. So I expect the world to adopt technology and simultaneously change everything. Disruption is nothing but changing your basic organisational principle on how we relate, engage, lead, reinvent and reimagine.”
The beauty of disruption is that it shrinks the distance between people, heightens efficiency and gives new experiences. Sushma emphasises that be it Ola, Uber or Yellow Pages, it was the active role of the entrepreneurs and their innovations that led to attaining goals. The onus lies in this millennial workforce, 70 per cent of which wants to start up something one their own.
Fuelling the spirit of entrepreneurship among workers
ITC Infotech has thousands of employees. The company has vowed to motivate its employees to start their own ventures by fuelling the spirit of entrepreneurship among its workers. Today, almost every large organisation has the luxury to invest and provide mentorship to startups.
According to Sushma, in the near future, there will not be any dearth of capital for the startup fraternity, as venture capitalists and angel investors are likely to pour money into startups, overshadowing the private equity funds.
However, Sushma also puts emphasis on the fact that an alarming number of companies will not get funded because the world needs something more than the money. There is a holistic need to create a muscular ecosystem to back the startup fraternity. The number of hackathons will rise in the near future but the concern lies in leveraging them productively.
“Here on at ITC Infotech, we will pick six to eight ideas at every hackathon. We will not invest money but we will empower them on how to take their ideas to the market. Historically, large corporates have invented or brought start ups. The three things important for an ecosystem are absolute clarity among the creators, ability to convert idea into marketable proposition and the building of a strong sales channel,” adds Sushma.
A big shoutout to TechSparks 2015 sponsors – Sequoia Capital, ICICI Bank, Money on Mobile, Microsoft, Signal Hill, IBM Bluemix, PwC, Atom Tech, Teamchat, Govt. of Karnataka, Intel, Rabbler, Dailyhunt, Reverie, Loginext and PayUBiz; Partners – Duff&Phelps, Taxmantra, Dineout, Exotel, 360ride, Yoga Bar, Chai Point, GWC; and our Media Partners – TV9, Fortune India, RedFM and Deccan Herald.
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