Dell Technologies

Dell Technologies

You will not be a successful company if you do not make technology the core of your strategy: Eric Day of Dell Technologies

StartUpwards, a Dell for Startups and DWEN innovative tech ecosystem meetup, drew a crowd of startup stakeholders and enthusiasts, including technologists, investors, and entrepreneurs.

You will not be a successful company if you do not make technology the core of your strategy: Eric Day of Dell Technologies

Friday August 04, 2023,

5 min Read

India's startup ecosystem has truly flourished in recent years. It is now the world's third largest, and analysts believe it won't be long before India reaches the 100,000 startup milestone. Yet, the ominous fact is that more startups fail than flourish.

Dell Technologies, in collaboration with YourStory, recently organized StartUpwards, a growth and innovation tech ecosystem meetup presented by Dell for Startups and DWEN, to help improve startup success rates, provide founders with inspiration, insights, and connections, and showcase Dell Technologies' various initiatives for the startup ecosystem.

The evening drew an audience of startup ecosystem stakeholders and enthusiasts, including technologists, investors, and entrepreneurs, who gathered to hear firsthand from thought leaders through fireside chats, panel discussions, and finalists' presentations. Erik Day, Senior Vice President, Global Small Business at Dell Technologies; Karthik Venkateswaran, Founder and CEO of Jumbotail; Ayushi Garg, Vice President at 3one4 Capital; Sonia Singh, Founder of Shepays; Gaurav Parchani, Co-founder and CTO of Dozee; and Srihari Palangala, Senior Director and Head of Marketing, APJ Small and Medium Business, Dell Technologies were among those who spoke.

What VCs are looking for in startups in 2023

There is a funding winter, and the number (and size) of deals is down. But is it all gloom and doom for the Indian startup? Garg, who presented the VC ecosystem point of view, thinks not.

As she presented The Pitch Report, Garg stressed that there was a lot to look forward to for startups. Especially those in the early stages of growth, which were still seeing consistent and encouraging funding activity. She also spoke about the decline of FOMO-led deals and the shift from growth to profitability and sustainability. “Valuations are short-term gains but good corporate governance could give startups long-term compounding,” she said.

“Don’t use jargon. Instead, be clear about what you’re building and who you’re building for,” she advised on making investor pitches as she referenced Airbnb and Licious’ single-line pitch.

Growth lessons from India’s leading B2B marketplace - Jumbotail

“Start with the Why,” advised Venkateswaran while he explained that founders needed to answer the questions ‘why you?’ and ‘why now?’ before attempting to scale a startup. He added that sustaining a startup would get incrementally hard if founders didn’t have a solid answer to the two questions.

Ventakeswaran also advised startup founders to ‘be accountable for every paisa.’ He added that cash was king and that startups fail most of the time when they run out of capital. Every other situation is recoverable, he added.

Growing from startup to smart-up

The evening also featured a panel discussion between founders and ecosystem partners on the role of technology in powering growth at scale, with experts from both sides weighing in.

Singh, who also serves as an anchor in communities that help early-stage entrepreneurs acquire the personal and professional skills they need to thrive, presented her thoughts on the tenets of startup brand building.

“Brand building begins by identifying, narrowing down and defining your customer persona,” she said, speaking about how successful startups go beyond audience data and hard numbers, and define who their customers actually are as people–their interests, how they talk, and what they believe in and value.

“When you define your customer personas correctly, you can communicate authentically and inspire action. You can speak to their specific needs and desires and do so in a language familiar to them. This can have a profound impact on your conversion rate,” she added.

Parchani, who helped create India's 1st AI-based contactless remote patient monitoring and early warning system, spoke about how startups can leverage technology as a force multiplier on human capital, and ideas where technology has been the key underpinning of the dramatic increase in productivity.

“Technology is a force multiplier. When you apply it to the right set of people, the right set of ideas, and the right focus, it has the power to multiply the impact exponentially,” he said.

“Even if tech is not your moat, you can leverage it to make things faster, better, improve turnaround time, more cost effectively, which will make your business metrics move in the right direction,” he added.

Palangala focused on how the use of technology was a no-brainer today. “We are investing in partnerships and ecosystems that help entrepreneurs scale. Our aim is to get end-to-end, scalable technology solutions in the hands of growing businesses by providing technology and other resources through our competent taskforce of over 150 small business advisors,” he said.

“Entrepreneurship is part of our DNA at Dell Technologies, and so is collaboration. We urge startups to leverage our small business advisors to grow their businesses more efficiently, safely, and profitably,” he added.

Erik Day, Senior Vice President, Global Small Business at Dell Technologies, and Shradha Sharma from YourStory had a fireside talk to close out the evening. Day discussed how Dell Technologies collaborates with startups to help them grow and scale. The discussion also touched on significant findings from the Dell Women Entrepreneurs Cities Index 2023 and the different venues through which Dell Technologies interacts with startups in India. Emerging technologies with an impact on the startup and innovation scene were also discussed.

“Startups, in my opinion, spend too much time focusing on how to raise capital. They would be more successful if they focused more on their product and how to make their companies happy. That’s one of the things that technology does, “he said, speaking about how technology ensures that startups can efficiently get to more customers in less time and with less money.

“If your idea and the technology behind it is right, the money will follow,” Day said.