5 key lessons from TechSparks 2016’s women leaders


Going back to the startup fundamentals of sustaining scale with real numbers and real revenues (and not just valuations), YourStory’s flagship event, TechSparks 2016, put the focus beyond GMV and other top line metrics onto building real businesses, growing real consumers, and having real revenues.

Here are five insights from the women leaders at TechSparks this year:

Identify the talent by polishing the rough diamonds

When it comes to products and building, India has no dearth of talent.

Driving the point home, Harsha Kumar, Lightspeed India Partners Advisors said, “The intellectual horsepower that is needed already exists in India. We just haven’t had too many startups so far in the product space. It will take a while for the raw talent to evolve and to hone their skills and market themselves. Somebody from the Silicon Valley cannot come and teach us anything new. We do have the knowhow right here.”

Raw talent abounds in India; after all, we have a population of over a billion. What startups need is to start polishing these rough diamonds.

Nail the problem

If you can nail a problem that persistently troubles a customer, he/she will be hooked.

Neena Budhiraja, Director of Product Management, Growth at Ola feels that discounts and price cuts are the easiest way to get people to try out a new product. “Unfortunately, that’s the economy we live in. So we often resort to pricing strategies when launching a new product. But the best way to get a user base for something new is if your product is so good, and if you are solving a problem for the customer that is so innately frustrating for him, that he is hooked.”

Impact matters

‎Principal Architect at The Auroma Group, Trupti Doshi has created Sharanam Rural Development Centre — Phase 1, in rural Tamil Nadu. She emphasises that creating a business is equal to creating an impact, and this is an ideology that comes across in her work. So it not just about the money but also creating value through impact.

“We want to set up the business with values where people, the planet, and profit, all three positively get impacted with the business,” she pointed out while speaking at TechSparks.

Hire wisely

Good hiring makes for a good and strong team and a strong team is one of the key ingredients for the success of a startup.

Julie Knight, Vice President, Global Enterprise Marketing, Zendesk emphasised upon the need for companies to leverage the network to find and hire the right kind of people. Julie shares how they keep things fun at work. “Recently, we conducted a treasure hunt game with our team. However, CSR is the most important activity we tap into. Through CSR, we do various activities that help keep the fun part alive amidst employees,” says Julie.

Be open and honest

Ashwini Asokan, Co-founder of MadStreetDen, a Chennai-based startup dealing with artificial intelligence, said it’s important to understand a company’s founding values. “If you are stage-managing communication, people out there can tell. You cannot be one thing internally and another externally; such actions will only lead to gossip.”

So let’s appreciate the talent we have, build great teams, and solve real problems to create an impact — that’s when we are building a startup and a product with value.


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