Key Learnings from #StartupIndia Event, New Delhi, Jan 16th, 2016

“Messed Up -is the term which was used when some started a business back then”. These were the words spoken by Mr. Deep Kalra (founder of MakeMyTrip) at the opening statement of Startup India, they echo the sentiment of many people who dared to venture on their own in the 1990’s and early 2000. I must admit I was one of them when I started my first venture in 1996.

I was very fortunate to get an invite to this prestigious inaugural event which was going to change the future of startups in India and to meet the larger than life figures of who’s who of the startup world in India and the ones who came from abroad.

What I witnessed on Jan 16th at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi cannot be described in words, it has to be felt and seen to be believed. The Prime Minister stated, “vigyan bhavan has been full of people before, but this is the first time that vigyan bhawan has been full of energy.” This was on a Saturday and after 6PM.

Here are my key learnings from this event.
This is the first time I saw Mr Masayoshi Son (CEO of Softbank) in person. He is known as the man who lost $70 billion in a day and came back to conquer the world. His advise to entrepreneurs were to have sound business model,focus on customer acquisition and customer delight and have a road map to gain momentum with an active user base. Like most people he too believes that India is poised to grow and will grow rapidly in the next 10 to 15 years, equally big like China or overtake it.

Adam Newman (CEO- wework) was full of energy and passion and it was contagious. He totally believed in the sense of community, his story was inspiring. Main take aways were

always believe in creating something larger than yourself.

Then followed the story of Uber told by Travis Kalanick himself (CEO – Uber), Uber being the world’s most valuable startup today, he himself is worth over $6 Billion as per forbes. He started Uber to solve a simple problem and with a promise “Any one should be able to get a car in 5 minutes by pressing a button.

Uber CEO Speaking

Uber CEO Speaking

As entrepreneurs we need to ask ourself what are we solving in the larger picture. Is the problem big enough ? is there a need ? will it make life simpler ? it is cost effective and scalable? I loved his presentation slides and the way he told his story. My key learnings from him were identify and solve a simple problem which is large enough and how to present, I would say the art of story telling.

There were other discussions and interactive sessions with govt officials, entrepreneurs who had made it big and a special women entrepreneur session. It was so satisfying to see that women are taking up entrepreneurship in a big way and creating jobs.

Many say that the Indian IT boom and success can be attributed to the fact that there was freedom from the state and there were not many laws creating roadblocks which helped. At 6pm the Prime Minister rolled out the Action plan especially promising that the government will act as a facilitator, enabler and a friend for startups.

By Saurabh Majumdar
May 2024