Evangelist at Avantage Global, and Speaker at Convergence 005.
in the emerging economies of Asia-Pacific region?
Gambhir: Some of the
key trends include an increased confidence, entrepreneurs from even more
diverse walks of life with participation from wider age groups (a lot more
folks aspiring to move on with professional careers and corporates
specially angels and superangels being added to the list. So there are a lot
more resources available out there from investment funds, tax incentives,
government grants, corporate accelerators, incubators and hackathons which are promoting
the startup movement. In several markets the maturity from having a cool
startup (for namesake) has evolved to the deeper reasoning of the startup
coming to being.
global startup ecosystem? How important is this region?
Gambhir: APAC is
flourishing with the startup movement. From my recent trips to India,
Singapore and China visiting various startup hubs it was evident how diverse
ecosystems are being curated.
Social & Impact Innovation perspective where we have seen several examples
of reverse innovation and polycentric hubs of large western corporates being
established that are closely working with local/regional startup communities. I
have been involved with setting up some Innovation/Thinking Labs earlier and
the value one can generate with customer intimacy and opportunities to
co-create are immense. Designing for the base of the pyramid to solve the
larger problems has led to a deeper play in Social Entrepreneurship. There
are several learnings from the likes of the ‘Jugaad’ phenomena
and the gigantic size of the potential BRIICA (Brazil, Russia, India,
Indonesia, China & Africa) emerging markets has specially having an
early glimpse from this eye opener book by Jagdish Sheth called CHINDIA
rising and then a more recent one which a friend in China, Duncan Clark
wrote: Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built. Australia is considered
a great test bed and launching pad for Asia to bring quality solutions, I
tell a lot of my startups here to adapt GLocal strategy
(think Global and acting Local) from day 1 and build for not just the
thousands or millions but the billions.
startups to grow the regions’ economy?
Gambhir: Startups are
amongst the top contributor to the economic development and long term
prosperity of future nations. They are the creators of new employment and
shaping the jobs of the future. Key skills such as Data Science which we know
are going to be fundamental need Startups to challenge the traditional models.
Every industry out there is getting disrupted, they are at different
stages of their evolution and it is Startups who have fuelled the new world
order. We are seeing many facets of innovation which are being locally
developed in APAC and then taken to the rest of the world for mass
are driving the consumer revolution globally?
Gambhir: Taking on
key themes and some broad areas – IoT/ Smart Mobility,
Connected Devices, Wearable tech, AR/VR-MR, Big Data Analytics/ Visualisation,
AI & ML are evidently present amongst areas startups are addressing
(these happen to be the areas I focus on). This applied to
verticals/industries ranging from Health/Wellness, Education/Learning,
Fin-tech, Smart Home/Transportation (Smart Cities), etc are bringing about new
paradigms where leapfrogs are rapidly taking integration, deployment and mass
acceptance of these emerging technologies to a new dimension. We are seeing
these technologies as the underlying foundation for highly compelling localised
and hyper-contextual use-cases that are generating tremendous value to end
users. An example we clearly see is the democratisation of platforms
and commoditisation of several hardware elements that have led to v. low
cost Connected Home building blocks such as Google Home.
entrepreneurs across this region?
Gambhir: I think
challenges will include breaking away from traditional business structures
(tearing of some walled gardens as I call it) and legacy systems that
are in place. There are also some mindset issues around risk taking and
attitudinal/cultural barriers that need to be overcome which I think are
transforming rapidly in some cases. The world has been getting flatter by
the day and learnings from Si Valley and other leading startup hubs has
proliferated rapidly. Instead of threats or weaknesses I think the region poses
far more advantages and strengths that need to be leveraged as opportunities to
things that investors look for before investing in startups?
Gambhir: These are
some of the major ones:
/ Team – Capability/Skill-sets
/ Conviction – some of the key traits I talk of below
Advantage / USP-ESP of solution; key differentiation against competitor; key
Size / Addressable base – is there a substantial target; relevance, how deep
are the segments
– how rapidly is the acceptance by B2B, B2C; willingness to
pay; margin and revenue
entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts?
People and Passion are three key Ps of what make a startup in the first place.
These ingredients are the basic essentials and should never be
compromised. I think starting with the strong WHY (the Purpose of being)
and then working on the remainder of the 5Ws (Who, What, Where When, Why) and
the H (How) are key to have clarity on.
my presentation – part of what I teach at some B-schools on entrepreneurship,
innovation & strategy) that constitute key elements what a startup leader
ought to have:
temporary organisation (as per its dictionary definition) that is searching of
the right models to scale up. The initial journey involves a lot of inspiration
(the ideation/gestation phase) whilst perspiration is what takes on the
execution phase. I strongly recommend taking the plunge as it will be
an experience of a Lifetime!!