Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Intellectual Exchanges From Silicon Valley To Delhi

Intellectual Exchanges From Silicon Valley To Delhi

Travis Kalanick, co-founder of Uber, has been a much awaited guest in Delhi. Kalanick met with high-profile politicians and automobile manufacturers during his visit to India. At the TiE Global Summit in Delhi, a full-house audience listened on mesmerised as Kalanick shared his life as an entrepreneur, his failures and other startup ventures.

Deep Kalra, CEO and founder of MakeMyTrip, the host of the “Travis Session”, said, “This was the second time that I was in a discussion with Travis Kalanick. The first time being the Startup India Action Plan launch event. In my opinion there are a couple of key takeaways from the discussion.

“Be pragmatic rather than emotional when it comes to taking important business decisions — for every entrepreneur, the company is akin to one’s own child and thus sometimes and understandably so, it becomes quite difficult to take decisions pragmatically and not emotionally. As Travis mentioned, deciding to merge Uber’s China business with Didi Chuxing was an emotionally tough decision for him but the right one for the company. As an entrepreneur, we must always remember to take decisions objectively, with only one consideration in mind — the wellbeing of the company and your team members.

“Don’t give up too soon — before taking the decision to start out on your own and turning an entrepreneur, remember that you are in it for the long haul. Often, people turn to entrepreneurship with great zeal but decide to give it up once they meet with a few failures. When Travis was working on his second venture, during a period of severe cash crunch, he decided to move back to his parents’ house. It was perhaps a difficult decision. He did have the option to shut it all down and take up a regular job but he decided to stick it out! Entrepreneurs must remember that more than anything else, it is the conviction and belief in one self that matters! You have to have faith in your idea and yourself.”

‘India won’t ever be a Silicon Valley’

Rajendran Dandapani, director of engineering at Zoho, a cloud and SaaS company headquartered in California, famous for bootstrapping ever since its inception around 20 years back, had this to say about making bootstrapping great again: “VCs and investors hate us because we managed to make it without them.” The main takeaway to the seekers of inspiration was that innovation is compulsory, and innovation will come out of compulsion. And when you’re known to be an innovative company reliant on your own funds the money you seek to really boost growth will come calling from hither, thither and every other direction, he said.

Kanwal Rekhi enjoys superstar status among the TiE chartered members. Rekhi co-founded TiE global network and Inventus Capital and is the first Indo-American founder and CEO to take a venture-backed company public on the Nasdaq.

“It’s hard to see the Indian ecosystem ever becoming as big or surpassing Silicon Valley; the success is hard to replicate even within the US. But India doesn’t have to be better or bigger or even like Silicon Valley. We need to focus on fostering more innovation with our ecosystem and in the coming decades. I think India’s startups will be in a good place,” said Rekhi.

Ashok Trivedi, sharing his biggest advice to entrepreneurs from his prolific career, said, “Take a few risks. You can’t achieve large successes without taking some risks.” Trivedi is the co-founder of iGate which was acquired by Capgemini for over $4 billion in 2015.

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