[TechSparks 2020] Put a lot of thinking around consumer empathy, says Amit Somani of Prime Venture Partners

At the 11th edition of TechSparks, Amit Somani, Managing Director of Prime Ventures, talked about building quality products for startups and suggested key design-thinking approaches that can be used for problem-solving.
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Amit Somani’s journey from being an engineer to becoming a product manager and later turning into an investor is full of learnings. 

Speaking at the 11th edition of YourStory’s flagship tech-entrepreneurship summit, TechSparks 2020, Amit Somani, Managing Partner of Prime Venture Partners, emphasised the importance of consumer empathy while developing a product. He said that making the lives of consumers easy needs to be one of the top priorities of any startup. 

Before stepping in as the Managing Director of Prime Ventures, Amit worked with renowned tech companies such as IBM, Google, and MakeMyTrip – where he honed his business acumen and also picked up a lot of design knowledge. Today, he uses all his tech and business prowess to invest in early-stage startups which have high growth potential.   

“A few of the questions I ask before placing my bets on a startup is – Are people engaging with the startup’s product or service? Is there strong retention of its customers? And, what is the frequency or intensity of the usage?” Amit explained in a conversation with YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma.

The answers to these questions mainly lie in the startup’s product and what it offers. Most of the times, it is the product managers who take on this responsibility. Suggesting some tips for them, Amit said that having a curious mind, challenging the status quo, prototyping the product, and obtaining prompt feedback is imperative.

Once the product is launched, its success is ultimately decided by the market and what customers really want. Hence, losing focus on measuring the product-market fit could be perilous.  

Amit Somani, Managing Director of Prime Venture Partners in conversation with YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma at TechSparks 2020

“The best way to measure the product-market fit is to look at the organic demand for the product and keep the marketing efforts out of the picture. If a startup wants to offer a product that customers love, they need to keep iterating till there are repeated users,” Amit said while addressing the virtual audience.

A product manager’s job does not end with gathering product insights and evaluating backlogs or roadmaps. Tracking how users react to the product on every step helps uncover realities about what resonates with your users, and what doesn’t. Amit recommends Hotjar for this purpose. He says the low-cost tool helps analyse how users are visiting a particular website or an app by recording the entire screenplay. 

When it comes to building products for rural India, Amit believes in designing according to the lifestyle, income, and interests of people. 

“A mix of familiarity and novelty is essential while designing products for India. We have to draw inspiration from around the world, but, while customising, the approach has to be local,” he said. 

For more information on TechSparks 2020, check out our TechSparks 2020 website

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TechSparks - YourStory's annual flagship event - has been India's largest and most important technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship summit for over a decade, bringing together entrepreneurs, policymakers, technologists, investors, mentors, and business leaders for stories, conversations, collaborations, and connections that matter. As TechSparks 2020 goes all virtual and global in its 11th edition, we want to thank you for the tremendous support we've received from all of you throughout our journey and give a huge shoutout to our sponsors of TechSparks 2020. 

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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