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All the action on Day 1 of TechSparks Mumbai

FMCG doyen Harsh Mariwala prides himself on being a big believer in innovation. Ronnie Screwvala emphasised the necessity for frugal innovation rather than excessive funding in the edtech sector. KreditBee’s instant credit platform services 400 million customers.

All the action on Day 1 of TechSparks Mumbai

Friday March 01, 2024 , 5 min Read

Hello,

TechSparks Mumbai opened to a packed audience!

From AI and edtech to gaming, from insights on building legacy brands to being resilient in the face of turbulent times, and more—the first day of YourStory’s flagship event set the agenda for The Great Indian Techade.

Sagar Daryani of Wow! Momo Foods shared his tips on building an iconic homegrown brand. Ace cricketer and commentator Dinesh Karthik joined us to talk about his journey, comeback in the 2022 World Cup, and reinventing himself outside sports.

Also, Games24x7 founders rooted for user safety and playing responsibly but also cautioned against overregulation of online gaming

The day came to a close with a fireside chat with Gaurav Munjal, Co-founder and CEO of Unacademy, who gave us a peek into his entrepreneurial journey.

You can catch all the action from TechSparks Mumbai here.

But Day 2 is promising to be just as exciting. We have Dilip Asbe from NPCI, author Divya Prakash Dubey, content creators Abhiraj Rajadhyaksha and Niyati Mavinkurve of Abhi and Niyu-fame, and the formidable Shark Anupam Mittal, among many others taking the stage.

Tune in for the grand finale tomorrow!

Moving on. SoftBank has reduced its stake in beleaguered Paytm parent One97 Communications to 2.83% from the earlier 5.01%. The Japanese investment bank held an 18.5% stake in Paytm before its IPO in 2021.

Lastly, here’s how Burkina Faso keeps its schools cool in harsh summer temperatures.

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Harsh Mariwala on building a resilient business
  • Ronnie Screwvala's lessons from BYJU'S crisis
  • How KreditBee won ‘middle India’

Here’s your trivia for today: Which is the oldest running factual space series? 


TechSparks

Harsh Mariwala on building a resilient business

FMCG doyen Harsh Mariwala, who carved Marico out of his family oil business in 1990 and grew it into a Rs 68,000-crore conglomerate, prides himself on being a big believer in innovation. He notes that the defensive FMCG sector has been threatened by emerging D2C brands.

“We don't want the FMCG mindset to displace the D2C mindset, which is very different. But I don't believe in very, very long periods of burning money [either],” the Marico Chairman shared at TechSparks 2024 Mumbai.

Powering ahead:

  • Marico has looked at buying D2C brands for two main reasons—minimising threats of competition and finding opportunities for growth and scaling.
  • “From doing things to getting things done, to infusion, an entrepreneur must know when to leave hands at the right time from the business,” said Mariwala.
  • Sharrp Ventures, the family investment office of Mariwala, has generated 5X returns on its investments, including in startups.
Techsparks Marico


Funding Alert

Startup: IntrCity

Amount: Rs 37 Cr

Round: Equity

Startup: Silence Laboratories

Amount: $4.1M

Round: Equity

Startup: Zvolve

Amount: Rs 16 Cr

Round: Equity


TechSparks

Ronnie Screwvala’s lessons from BYJU'S crisis

Serial entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala, known for his candour, has been an outspoken critic of BYJU'S and its founder Byju Raveendran. At TechSparks Mumbai, he emphasised the necessity for frugal innovation rather than excessive funding in the edtech sector.

“Frugal doesn’t mean no money. When you are with low resources, that’s when innovation comes in,” the upGrad Co-founder and Chairperson noted.

Navigating entrepreneurship:

  • “No amount of funding can actually build a solid business if you don’t set out to build a business... That penny has to drop with everyone,” Screwvala said.
  • He emphasised that entrepreneurship is now aspirational due to evangelisation by the government and policymakers, adding that global competition will keep entrepreneurs on their toes.
  • “You can have the highest level of expectations but you can't have the highest level of entitlement,” he remarked while talking about how founders face failures
Ronnie Screwvala


TechSparks

How KreditBee won 'middle India'

KreditBee, one of the key players in India’s unsecured digital lending space, had to battle through challenging events, from the COVID-19 outbreak to the RBI’s continued clampdown on unsecured digital lenders. Despite the hard times, the growing appetite for small-ticket loans, especially in middle India, has ensured that KreditBee not only thrived but also survived.

“The ultimate goal of middle India is to own a house. We have been a part of that journey, and that's why we see a lot of customer loyalty and stickiness,” Madhusudan Ekambaram, Co-founder and CEO, KreditBee, shared at TechSparks Mumbai.

Formalising credit:

  • “The middle class’ idea of raising money is generally from friends and family or money lenders. KreditBee is trying to formalise the process of securing loans,” Ekambaram said.
  • The KreditBee chief underscored the importance of establishing a robust and sustainable loan portfolio during economic upswings to withstand downward cycles.
  • KreditBee’s instant credit platform services 400 million customers, 77% of whom hail from India's small towns and includes people who don't have a credit score.
KreditBee


News & updates

  • Growth: India's economy grew at its fastest pace in one-and-half years, 8.4% in the October-December quarter, led by strong manufacturing and construction activity and bolstering Prime Minister Narendra Modi's economic record just months before a national election.
  • New plans: The G20 group of the world’s most powerful countries is exploring plans for a global minimum tax on the world’s 3,000 billionaires, aiming to end a “race to the bottom” that has enabled the super-rich to pay less than the rest of the population.
  • Revive: It’s been 22 years since Venus Williams founded her interior design firm V Starr Interiors, and now she is entering the Gen AI space with a new platform called Palazzo, which creates design ideas to help inspire people looking to revive their space.


Which is the oldest running factual space series? 

Answer: The Sky At Night. The BBC TV factual space series first premiered on April 24, 1957, and has been running since. 


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