Elevate 2019: Companies are always bought, not sold, says Vikraman Venu, CEO of IKP

At Elevate Karnataka 2019, Vikraman Venu, CEO of IKP Science Park, asks startups not to focus on revenue but on MVP, saying they should outline their value propositions clearly.

Elevate 2019, the brainchild of the startup cell of the IT & BT Department, Government of Karnataka, kicked off in Bengaluru on Monday, putting the focus on ways to identify and nurture the most innovative startups.

Vikraman Venu, CEO of IKP Science Park, Bengaluru, conducted a session on 'prototype', where he talked about how to reduce the iterations that a startup needs to go through and how to reduce the time for the same.

IKP is a startup incubator across six locations in the country. It helps startups build hardware products in a faster, better, and cheaper way. At present, it claims to have around 108 startups under IKP across Karnataka.

Vikraman said one spends a lot of money and time making hardware products, and there is no product callback, which then costs a lot more money. This is a critical part of hardware, unlike software, he said.

However, it is important to understand that software plays an important role in any hardware product. For example, the Apple iPhone is successful because of App Store.

The need for iterations

Iterations are integral to any product development.

“The more customers you talk to, the more feedback you get. The more iterations you do, the more successful your product will be,” Vikraman said.

He explained that a startup needs to get feedback from potential customers at every stage of development. He added that getting the customer profile right is important. Only if a startup solves a problem effectively will someone pay to buy it. "Every iteration depends on customer feedback. Apple today is considered as one of the extremely iterative companies," Vikraman said.

Hardware is hard

Hardware has no emotions involved in it. It is not just a computer who listens to you.

“But once you come to the physical world, factors such as heat, temperature, and moisture needs to be tested. A lot more testing needs to be done after that,” Vikraman explained.

Stating that revenue was a byproduct of solving a problem, Vikraman asked startups not to focus on revenue but on MVP and outline their value propositions clearly.

“Companies are always bought, not sold. It is only when someone sees potential in a company, they acquire,” Vikraman said.

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)