The sudden downpour and traffic snarls did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the entrepreneurs who packed the Tasar and Eri Hall at the Ritz Carlton in Bengaluru on Friday, May 18 for the gathering on ‘Scaling up for a Digital Future' hosted by APC by Schneider Electric and YourStory.
In a packed room of new age entrepreneurs, with businesses that were less than five years old, the event kicked off with a welcome address by Vishal Krishna, Business Editor at YourStory, who welcomed all the guest speakers, panellists, and attendees to an evening of learning, information, and growth hacks. The congregation witnessed high levels of engagement amongst participants and insightful interactions with the senior officials from APC by Schneider Electric and seasoned entrepreneurs from the startup ecosystem.
The welcome address was followed by a keynote address by Tushar Vashisht, Co-founder and CEO of HealthifyMe on ‘The Digital Consumer and How Organisations Should Approach Them’. According to him, businesses should consider themselves on the right path when consumers simply like to engage with them, even if it doesn’t necessarily end as a buy or sell proposition every time. “The user has to find value and like your app. The interaction has to be personalised,” he said. While maintaining that he was not a great believer in growth hacks, he added that it was important to take time to invest in the right team. He said that HealthifyMe’s marketing spend was slashed by, merely getting the right team in place. According to Tushar, the most important thing was ‘glocalisation’ and that localising has helped them gain 50 percent of market share.
The second keynote address by Kashyap Vadapalli, CMO, Pepperfry was on ‘When and How To Scale up in a Digital World’. He said that consumers’ expectations have changed with technological advancements and that social platforms were empowering consumers and driving expectations in a digital world. Speaking about the emerging trends in the digital space, he said, “One of the most exciting trends is the digitisation of local businesses. There are four I’s that drive consumer behaviour – Interaction,Intelligence, Inclusiveness and Instant, which means the consumer has more information about the product than ever before (Intelligence), is adopting trends faster than ever (Instant), that businesses cannot just preach, but must try and solve people’s problems in real time (Interactive), and that they have unprecedented access to more markets both geographical and otherwise (Inclusive).”
As India powers into a digital future, companies like APC by Schneider Electric are playing a critical role in enabling this journey. Speaking at this event, Hariharan Balasubramanian, GM Channels, said, “APC by Schneider Electric is an infrastructure provider and we are helping people by building simple, adaptable, and affordable infrastructure. We want to help these startups that are building our future.” He added that it was important for businesses to build their strategy for edge computing and see if their infrastructure was ready to scale up.
The panel discussion on Scaling Up for a Digital Future was moderated by Vishal Krishna and featured Ashutosh Upadhyay, Head of Programs at Axilor Ventures; Nidhi Mathur, Co-Founder of Niramai; Rashi Gulati Menda, Founder of Zapyle; and Mayank Srivsatava, Country Head, Enterprise Sales, APC by Schneider Electric. The discussion kicked off with the question on whether startups in India were ready to scale up digitally, given the fractured nature of the country’s ecosystem. According to Ashutosh, there were a lot of opportunities in the metros and the deeper India as well. “We are adopting digital-first businesses. If we rewind three years, we were trying to bridge access to services and goods. Now, we are looking at a different set of services and companies like APC by Schneider Electric are talking about Industry 4.0, which is how digitisation of industries will happen. Now we see small standalone businesses with turnovers of Rs 12-15 lakh, trying to provide digital services deeper in India. These businesses don’t have feet on the street or channel partners. They sell via social and the digital frontends of vernacular local media. Internet penetration and GST have made change inevitable,” he said.
Speaking about digital inclusivity, Rashi said, “Today, the economy has moved towards consumption from savings. It all comes down to how you market and a 100 percent of that is happening online for us. What it comes down to, is that we are selling to digital consumers who are online 24*7. These people only get influenced by their peers and whom they look upto. It’s important to make the right pitch on our platform.”
What about the B2B space? How are startups like Niramai that works with detecting breast cancer tumours through temperature, working with doctors and hospitals to go adopt AI and their technology? According to Nidhi, the medical community comes with a lot of experience of older tech and see AI as something that will take their jobs. “We have had to relook at how we use AI. How is AI going to help the women who need screening and how is our technology going to even reach them? The doctors are the people they will go to. So, it became important to be seen not as a competitor but as someone who would help them and scale up through that.”
When asked how APC by Schneider Electric was helping businesses achieve their goal of scaling up, Mayank said, “With technology driving all the businesses of today, storage, transfer and processing of data forms the backbone of any organisation. Taking care of that is where we pitch in. We give you safe, reliable technology for data processing. In fact, we currently have an offer on our IT infrastructure products so that startups can upgrade and improve their Edge IT infrastructure. We also have our own incubation centres where we call startups and invest in them. We get their technology implemented within our setup.”
Looking to the future, he said, “With internet usage growing 30 percent year on year, there is a great business story waiting to be written for both startups and technology providers like APC by Schneider Electric.”
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