Key takeaways from upGrad's Ronnie Screwvala, Zomato's Deepinder Goyal, Zerodha's Nithin Kamath and more on Day 2 at TechSparks 2021
India’s most influential technology, innovation, and leadership summit TechSparks 2021 returned on Day 2 with a wide range of insightful keynotes, panel discussions, roundtables and masterclasses featuring the likes of Ronnie Screwvala, Chairperson and Co-founder of upGrad; Deepinder Goyal, Co-founder and CEO of ; Nithin Kamath, Founder and CEO of , and more.
The dynamics of fast forward careers, giving back to the ecosystem, driving fintech and wealthtech innovation and other relevant topics were on the agenda for the day.
YourStory heralded an era of symbiosis with the Dutch as TechSparks 2021 featured a specialised Indo-Dutch track for the first time.
The track explored how Indian startups can leverage the Netherlands’ foreign startup-friendly to explore opportunities to scale and expand into the EU, and how Dutch startups, in turn, can make headway into the Indian market.
Here's all of the top action from Day 2 of Techsparks 2021:
From unicorns to decacorns
Founders from Indian unicorns such as, , , , , and came together to decode the way forward for the next crop of billion-dollar phenomenons, explaining that it is important for startups to stay grounded, look at the big picture, and focus on creating value.
Beerud Sheth, Co-founder and CEO, Gupshup, said, “Success is one where preparation meets opportunity.”
He elaborated on how founders will go through numerous experiences, good and bad, and manage things that are in their control while not bothering about external forces.
Collective action for a larger purpose
In March 2020, founders and VCs joined hands to launch Act Against COVID (ACT), a Rs 100 crore grant to power startups building and deploying solutions to combat COVID-19.
Since then, ACT has transformed into a social change movement that aims to bring in innovation and provide support in four key areas — health, education, environment, and gender issues.
At TechSparks 2021 Zomato’s Deepinder Goyal along with Mohit Bhatnagar, Investment Advisor of Sequoia India and along with other ACT leaders — Prashanth Prakash, Partner, Accel Partners; Neetha Joy, Head, Healthcare Initiatives ACT Grants; and Sandeep Singhal, Managing Director, Nexus Venture Partners made the call for Indian startup entrepreneurs to build socially responsible businesses and solutions and products that address societal problems at scale.
Building an investment tech business
While talking about how founders can look at disrupting India's investment tech landscape, Zerodha’s Nithin Kamath cautioned against partaking in the rat race for higher valuations, and said that founders diluting too much of their shareholding is the same as them shorting stocks of their own companies.
He also said that, if he were tasked with building Zerodha today, he would have been “compelled to take the venture capital route, which pushes you for higher growth and higher valuation.”
Right mindset, soft skills to excel
Delivering the keynote on Day 2 of TechSparks 2021, Ronnie Screwvala, Chairperson & Co-founder, upGrad spoke about the “dynamics of fast-forward careers with online learning” and provided key learnings on the workplaces of the future and the skills that people who needed to excel in them would need.
Ronnie said, “If you are not going take relevant risk in every decision you take, you are going to be really left behind," adding that the element of mindset and soft skills are going to make a big difference.
He also highlighted that India's formal education system does not necessarily impart these valuable skills, adding that the key differentiator for many individuals to flourish "tomorrow" will be the number of soft skills they possess.
API banking: Fintech's next big bet
Delivering a keynote on Day 2 of TechSparks 2021, YourStory's flagship startup-tech event, Akash Sinha, CEO and Co-founder,, said:
"What we're witnessing is the complete open-sourcing of financial services through apps, APIs, and analytics. The front office of tomorrow will be apps, the middle office will be API, and the back office will be analytics. All of this is being done by specialists called fintech startups," he said.
"API banking has led to innovation that's lowering the cost in a way that is economical to serve the underserved, unbanked, and offering services better suited to their needs," he added.
Akash Sinha, CEO and Co-founder, Cashfree Payments
Fintech and compliance
At TechSparks 2021, innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors from, , , , , and SAP India came together to unravel how startups can innovate and capture new market opportunities while complying with the law of the land.
Nitya Sharma, Co-founder and CEO, Simpl, said, "Compliance in fintech has become increasingly frictionless and low cost. The exciting thing about technology and the Internet is you can go fast, maybe faster than compliance can keep up, but it's important to never be on the wrong side of the law. Further, companies must also interact with regulators frequently and make the best use of the infrastructure available."
Marten van den Berg, Ambassador, Kingdom of Netherlands to India, Nepal, and Bhutan, delivered the opening keynote of the international startup network track on Day 2, and emphasised the importance of startups leading innovation in the world.
“Both India and the Netherlands are trying to find ways to adopt smart agricultural solutions,” he said, emphasising that climate-smart agriculture was the need of the hour in both countries and the world at large.
“Together, India and the Netherlands work on all kinds of solutions for water treatment, safety, and security,” he added.
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For a line-up of all the action-packed sessions at YourStory's flagship startup-tech conference, check out TechSparks 2021 website.