'Those who survived 2016 are the ones to watch out for in 2017'
What is the passing of time? What is time itself? Does it have a beginning or an end? Enquiry into the timelessness of time has consumed scientists, artists, writers, and thinkers through the ages.
Most would agree that its essence is captured in the act of moving forward and never backward. But mankind, for its convenience, contained time in a calendar year so that it could mark its passing and look out for the time that is about to come.
JRR Tolkien wrote in ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’: “I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
YourStory reached out to some of the movers and shakers in the startup ecosystem to find out what they have done with the time given to them in 2016, the lessons they learnt in the past months, and what they hope to do with the ‘new time’ that will be given in 2017.
Kunal Bahl, Co-founder & CEO, Snapdeal
The euphoria of the past months has settled down. Everyone will focus on execution and will be cerebral about it. We learnt many lessons as a company. I will leave it at that. We are taking all good memories from 2016 to 2017.
My daughter Tameira is turning one on December 31. Every day, she is becoming more and more active and naughty. Every day, I learn a new facet new about her -- she is reacting more and more. In 2017, it will be interesting to see her evolve more. She would start walking and talking. I very much look forward to seeing her grow in 2017.
Ashish Hemrajani, Founder & CEO, Book My Show
“Right now, it’s good to be a part of the great pause as it will make the entire ecosystem more healthy. It felt like there was too much steam that has now been let off and things are expected to calm down. There were times when too much money in the system led to indigestion and killed the spirit of innovation.
2016 was as a great time to identify new talent and consider new opportunities that could have high potential in the future. This pull back has made people become more efficient and only focus on relevant things that needed to be done. It has also made business metrics catch up with valuations, which wasn’t the case until some time ago.
People will definitely be wiser in 2017. Those who have survived 2016, and are battle hardened will be definitely the ones to look forward to.
Padmasree Warrior, CEO NextEV, US
It was a year of acknowledging that there is a serious lack of women in the technology space. I hope that 2017 will see startups created by women taking the limelight. 2016 was an amazing year for me. I left a big job to do a startup, it has been lot of fun.
In 2017, I hope to show the world some of our products.
Naveen Tewari, Co-founder & CEO, InMobi
2016 has been an interesting fun ride. This could very well be the early signs of a maturing adtech industry. We developed, deconstructed, and discovered several solutions and offerings this year. We tackled different markets this year with better precision, be it geographically or strategically. This year was all about execution and we’ve built up our fort in several markets overseas. As years pass by, one single epiphany keeps recurring - the value of people who care about your work and the importance of loyalty. I have never been more proud of Team InMobi for the effort they put in this year. The wins the company faced is all because of them.
I don’t believe in resolutions. I do have some goals I aim to achieve in the next year. As a team, we would like to eliminate at least one friction point in the ad tech industry with our services, be it existing ones or something that we need to come up with. On a personal level, I would like to spend quality time with family and be able to do more adventurous things.
Sujayath Ali, Co-founder & CEO, Voonik
It was a year of learning for me – we became a company from a startup over this year. I have learnt to run a matured company compared to how I ran a startup the previous year. We went from being an underdog to becoming a leader in unbranded fashion this year. I am learning a lot from Raghu who joined us from Amazon in terms of financial and operational efficiency. I had to unlearn a lot of things on how I was running Voonik before.
Our focus will be on growth and profitability. By the end of 2017, we should be profitable.
Peyush Bansal, Founder and CEO, Lenskart
2016 was a great year for us. We scaled up the team, and understood scale at a different level. There was a lot of focus on customer services, that was my pilot project for the year. I love it so much that it is going to be the focus for many years to come.
I want to focus on understanding our customers better and matching every person's need and find the sweet balance.
Swati Bhargava Co-Founder, CashKaro
As a company, we’ll endeavor to make 2017 the year of cashback! Personally, I believe that each one of us owe it to ourselves to live life to its utmost potential and this year is going to be all about exploring that potential. I am reminded of Rabindranath Tagore’s quote:
“Spring has passed, Summer has gone. Winter is here...and the song I meant to sing remains unsung. For I have spent my best years stringing and unstringing my instrument.”
I want 2017 to be a year of no regrets, where I’m not just busy with small things, but one where we create something meaningful.
Rohan Bhargava, Co-founder, CashKaro
Given funding challenges in 2016, most Indian e-commerce retailers embraced performance-based affiliate marketing channels like CashKaro more than ever before, which was an indirect boon for our business. In fact, CashKaro evolved as a company from a cashback only site to a one-stop destination for all online savings. We also got Mr. Ratan Tata on board as an investor and most importantly as an advisor which catapulted the credibility of the company forward amongst our stakeholders. 2016 taught us to have continued focus on innovation which led us to create two firsts in market products, which we are excited to launch in early 2017.
We will endeavor to make 2017 the year of cashback! My wife Swati says I should resolve to spend more time with family this year, so I guess that’s one to aim for also.
Sachin Bansal – Executive Chairman and Co-founder Flipkart
2016 was a time for reflection. We streamlined a lot of our processes. We are becoming a more mature company. The business health has improved a lot. Personally, it was a year of transition. I am now settled in that role and the next year I look to take that forward.
I am looking forward to expand the market towards the lower and middle-income users. We still have to tap that market. I am hoping that some of the stuff that we do, like lowering the cost of the supply chain, bringing more efficient supply chain models, and helping the lower income users with better selection, is something I am looking forward to.
Bhavish Aggarwal – Co-founder and CEO Ola
This was a very good year for me. I think people in the ecosystem looked into their business and improved the experiences and unit economics. It was the year when the ecosystem found its true footing. I think that trend will continue in the next year.
I feel the ecosystem will focus on major bets and innovations. We have been innovating continuously this year -- Ola Play, Ola Select, Ola Share Pass -- and will continue to do so next year too.
Anu Acharya, CEO MapMyGenome
Overall, it has been a good year. We launched new products, expanded outside India, and raised funding. Hopefully, we will be able to do better next year. However, the past few days post the demonetisation move have been wrought with confusion. Business has seen some slowdown as a result, with people focusing on the immediate.
I plan to ‘remonetise’ my days by living healthy.
Hari Menon – Co-founder and CEO BigBasket
2016 was extremely stressful. It was the year we were expanding like crazy. It was the year we started ‘Express’, and we expanded across cities as we were focussed on expanding our footprint. The year was, therefore, personally very stressful.
I am hoping in 2017, I can sing more and watch more cricket as this year we were focussed on consolidation and making sure that all that expansion we did works.
Nitin Kamath, CEO Zerodha
Never take any shortcut while building a product. It can end up being a technical debt. Repercussion can slow down the entire business.
2016 has seen quite a big tick up. We have added more clients in the last 12 months as compared to the first 60 months. We have also more than doubled on the value of stocks holdings, which is quite exciting considering we were able to scale up on a largish base.
All the startups we are working with have also seen a positive trend in growth.
Personal resolution is to drop my body fat to under 10 percent. While, as a business we should continue doing what we are doing.