Ravi Ranjan, Head of Nasscom 10,000 startups
Mr. Ravi Ranjan was the first speaker among the panelists. He noted that nowadays, students are eager to take risk and are happy to work with startups. He quoted that “Your ability is not restricted to just be a follower, you have to be a leader.” He further stated that there are two questions that stand before us – How startups will help India and how will India change the startup scenario in the world?
Further, he mentioned about the Startup India connect initiative wherein 30 innovative ideas were considered, by Narendra Modi and Jeff Wiener (CEO of LinkedIn. This included investors, entrepreneurs, academicians and students. The state governments have taken note from the Central government and started building start-up policies. He believes that the criteria of top institutes are measured by the number of students who skipped placements and have built startups. He stated healthcare, virtual reality, machine learning, IoT (Internet of Things) as some of the aspects which one should consider while building a start-up.
Mr. Ranjan believes challenges are opportunities and used Ola, Oreo and many others as an example of the same. Entrepreneurship according to him is not only building your own startup, but also includes taking responsibility of a particular vertical, improving it and ultimately improving the start-up. He stated that Google promotes entrepreneurship citing examples of Google Maps, Earth, and Android to name a few. He concluded that one should not depend on a plan B as that takes the focus away from the main plan.
Niraj Taksande, Founder and Director – Entropy Innovations Pvt. Ltd
Mr. Niraj Taksande spoke of the transition in the start-up culture. He believes that competition improves employee capabilities and builds the overall quality of the product.
He believes that Startup India is affected by mindset of the people which might include resistance to Indian products and believes that there is a need to change such a mindset. He emphasized that the government has started initiatives of start-up India to try and streamline their processes. According to him, areas where many startups could be focused are IoT, virtual reality, mobile penetration, smart computing, etc.
He concluded by stating that a person building a start-up should understand basic concepts related to the field and simultaneously work towards bringing a solution to the problem that is faced in the particular domain.
Rohan Patil, Chief Operations Officer- Entropy Innovations Pvt. Ltd
Mr. Rohan Patil began by providing his opinion on the culture of innovation. Innovation is the essence of the start-up culture. In this era, the focus of new entrepreneurs needs to be centered around unexplored areas. Government sectors, logistics, manufacturing, ambience and other services available at the doorstep could be areas to target for further growth in innovation.
Furthermore, he went on to explain entrepreneurship. A proper team co-ordination with each member having a different but complimenting skillset and a qualified mentor are certain pre-requisites for a successful venture. He concluded by adding that product based start-up with an eye towards the long term goal forms the pillar stone to entrepreneurship.
Mr. Sameer Malhotra – CEO, Shriram Automall India Ltd.
Mr. Sameer Malhotra began by giving an example of Karsanbhai Khodidas Patel, Founder of the Nirma Group. He spoke about how Mr. Patel researched the market before creating a soap product called Nirma.
He said that India will be ranked 2 in terms of number of start-ups in the next 2-3 years but female entrepreneurs comprises are only about 10% of the total startups. We should set up a business to not only help for ourselves but also to contribute to the environment around us. He said, “An entrepreneur needs to know – what, when, and where of his product”. Any business would have to be aware of what customers need and what is the right price they are willing to pay by testing the demand in the market.
An investor will expect an individual to be a domain expert if he/she wants to enter a market. One doesn’t always need to have financial projections. Basic understanding as well as experience will be key attributes. Furthermore, he advised students to find their passion and do what they truly believe in.