'First 10 people in startup determine whether it will succeed or not': key takeaways from TechSparks Delhi


TechSparks city meet-ups are nothing less than a treat for the entrepreneurial community in Delhi (NCR), as they bring insights from real experiences and highlight the journey of early to mid-stage startups. The half-day event kicked off at IIT, Delhi in the second half of the bright and sunny Saturday with participation of around 200 people. Unlike last year we experimented with the TechSparks city meetups format with focus on two-way conversation with speaker-audience rather than usual one-way format.

The meetup began with an audience introduction followed by the first talk—'Building Real Tech for Bharat'—by Varun Khurana, co-founder and CEO, Crofarm.

Crofarm essentially bridges gap between farm and retailers (offline and online both) leveraging technology in existing conventional supply chain. Varun said,

My stint at Grofers helped me understand the inefficiencies that lie in the existing supply chain. This made me and Prashant Tandon to think of using technology to bring farm and retail closer.

He cautions budding entrepreneurs not to pay much attention about armchair critics while ideating their product. “People told us that farmers aren’t tech-friendly. However, when we began primary research we found that they frequently use WhatsApp and exchange videos and pictures often. That was a huge bolster to our confidence as we wanted to have a hold on real time of produce,” added Varun. He suggests that one should do primary or grass-root research to evaluate market opportunity and challenges to understand pros and cons of the problem.

Answering a query from audience about challenges in the existing supply chain, Varun explained,

Unlike local mandi traders we directly partner with farmers and helps them curtail transit time significantly. With current supply chain, produce spends too much time in transit because of multiple loading/unloading that cause wastage, and with several intermediaries involved a lot of money ends up going to entities that don't add much value.

On the importance of superior consumer experience, Sahil Singh, Strategic Sales Lead, Zendesk India pointed out that startups must explore various avenues to retain acquired consumers. “Happy customers aren’t only frequent users of your product/service but they also become brand ambassadors in their reach. Unresponsive customer service not only leads consumer loss but also does negative branding for the company. The responsiveness of your business depends on the service you are giving your customers,” says Sahil.

Last-mile commute is highly disorganised in India and daily office-goers struggle immensely to reach office in the millennium city. To ease last-mile commute, Deepanshu and Amit Singh thought of launching shuttle services. “We launched Shuttl’s website in record two days,” he reminisced. He urged startups not to waste much time in the ideation phase. He added,

Don’t waste much time in launching multiple features at one go. Try pushing the minimum viable product (MVP) to users and accumulate feedback/suggestions from early adopters. Early feedback helps you integrate meaningful features.

On Shuttl’s vision for the long haul, Deepanshu said, “Commute in buses are considered uncool and we strive to change this by offering efficient and affordable shuttle services.”

Deepanshu Tapan Pandita and Abhishek Poddar of HyperTrcak took to the stage to share their journey so far with Delhi based HyperTrack, which provides businesses a ‘track and trace’ service for their local deliveries. Throwing light on the importance of early team members to the success of any startup, Tapan said,

When you are in a startup, the first 10 people will determine whether the company will succeed or not.

Startups present at TechSparks Delhi included Vidooly, imeyou, Waayo, Dobble -- along with a number of aspiring student entrepreneurs. At the end of his talk, Tapan concluded, “It’s important to have go-getters who look to maze through challenges and come up with solutions rather than lamenting over problems.”

A big shoutout to all our sponsors - ZendeskAxis BankSequoia Capital India Advisors , Digital OceanMicrosoftAWSAkamaiTargetVerisignKerala Startup MissionBrand Launch CentreTork and Blink.