Digital startups will disrupt businesses: Study

According to the findings of a new global study done by Dell Technologies, 78% of businesses believe digital startups will pose a threat to their organization, either now or in the future, while almost half fear that they may become obsolete because of competition from these startups.

"India is considered among the most digitally mature economies today and credit to the Indian government and India Inc. on driving our country's digital transformation agenda," said Alok Ohrie, President & Managing Director, India Commercial, Dell EMC.
“India is considered among the most digitally mature economies today and credit to the Indian government and India Inc. on driving our country’s digital transformation agenda,” said Alok Ohrie, President & Managing Director, India Commercial, Dell EMC.

Further, 73% admitted that digital transformation could be more widespread throughout their organization while over half have experienced significant disruption in their industries over the past three years. The global study was conducted by Vanson Bourne across 4,000 business leaders across 16 countries and 12 industries, 300 from India.

“With a vibrant startup ecosystem, keen government focus on digitally transforming India, and a tech-enabled consumer base, it’s not surprising that Indian enterprises have sensed the urgency to transform digitally. While transformation is not pervasive, it is critical for organizations to follow the leaders and adopt practices that can enable them to ride the wave of the fourth Industrial Revolution. India has high potential to lead the world in digital transformation, and at Dell Technologies we are in a unique position to accelerate this progress,” said Rajesh Janey, president & managing director, India Enterprise, Dell EMC.

Specific to India, another complementary study by Greyhound Research found that nine out of ten companies had experienced disruption while 26% (compared to 48% globally) don’t know what their industry will look like in three years. Most enterprises in India who are digital leaders are being driven to this by customer demands, while 42% are feeling the pressure from their own C-suite. The executives surveyed said the biggest barriers to progress included immature digital culture (33%), and lack of right technologies to work at the speed of business (32%). Nearly half (43%) don’t measure their digital transformation success.

“India is considered among the most digitally mature economies today and credit to the Indian government and India Inc. on driving our country’s digital transformation agenda. Dell Technologies, will collaborate with customers, partners and consumers to drive human progress and create a technology enabled future. With a proactive government, digitally inspired business leaders and an advanced partner ecosystem, India has the required potential to lead the world’s digital transformation journey,” said Alok Ohrie, President & Managing Director, India Commercial, Dell EMC.

Going ahead, 62% companies said that they would be investing 30% of the 2016 IT budget in transformation projects. This would be in areas like converged infrastructure (80%), analytics, big data and data processing (78%), ultra high-performance compute technologies (82%) and next generation mobile apps (76%) in the next 12 months. About 93% are investing in company-wide data-driven decision-making and 88% are focused on equipping themselves with always-connected,sensor-enabled and location-awar technologies.

A large majority – 87%- said that they face an ongoing need to invest in reskilling their internal IT teams, yet only half rated available internal training resources as fair/ average. Less than 10% rated the internal skills for digital transformation as excellent. Most companies are turning to external help to bring about this transformation, with 86% saying that they are working with system integrators, value added resellers, consultants and other partners to help them on their journey. About 66% of respondents felt that partners add value in explaining the offering, while 39% seek external assistance for training.


American-Indian IoT Startup 75F targets 100 Crore In India By 2018-19

Award winning 75F Inc is headquartered in Minneapolis and was launched in 2012 by two entrepreneurs of Indian heritage, Deepinder Singh and Pankaj Chawla (who is an Indian citizen and has been overlooking the R&D centre in Bangalore). The startup builds solutions in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) using Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing specifically for commercial buildings. They launched operations in India in August 2016, and hopes to hit rupees 100 crores in revenue by end of fiscal year 2018-2019.

We speak to the founders trying to reach this hefty goal to find out more:

Launching your business in India, what’s your biggest learning about your Indian clients?

Large or small, the Indian business consumer is looking for efficiency and comfort, power in the palm of his hand, at a cost that is affordable.

Tell us more about 75F and its business

75F creates solutions that harness the power of IoT and cloud computing to predict building needs and manage them proactively, making buildings more energy-efficient, automated, smart and comfortable.

We compete with the likes of Honeywell & Johnson Controls. Nevertheless, has attained significant traction in the US market.

We have recently launched our award winning ‘dynamic air flow balancing’ technology in India also known as ‘The Internet of Air’.

Leveraging IoT design philosophy and the power of cloud computing, this technology will achieve what was once thought to be only theoretically possible. That is continuous commissioning or perfect air balancing while driving energy efficiency.

Is 75F coming to India as the second market directly after USA? Or is it
present in other countries already? And why India?

Yes, 75F came to India directly after the USA, setting up its first international office in Bengaluru.

India was the choice of expansion because our R&D team is already present in India – they help develop faster-time-to market solutions and the HVAC solutions designed for India can easily be replicated for the Asian region. In addition, India is a promising market with 10-12% CAGR, so India was a natural first market to expand to.

What is the market size for commercial IoT in US vs. India?

In our area of expertise we estimate the market for intelligent commercial buildings in the US to be approximately 5 billion dollars and in India to be approximately 1 billion dollars.

What are the future plans of 75F in India?

We plan to establish ourselves in a few verticals, for example, IT/ITeS, healthcare and hospitality, in about 4 major metros, in the next 2-3 years.

In addition, new building deployments represent an enormous opportunity with Indian economy appearing to be robust for the medium term growth. And much larger than that are the existing buildings, given that our solution is retrofit-friendly.

There are a few new companies in this sector and all of them only mention Honeywell as a competitor. Could you share your honest opinion on who can become the market leader for commercial IoT automation in India?

While there are many players in the building controls sector, there really are none that provide the entire solution – from HVAC airflow management to building automation, sensors and controls, to big data analytics. No other player in the market offers predictive, proactive controls that are truly based on cloud-computing and IoT. Others use legacy on-premise server architecture with the inherent costs, complexity, maintenance issues and limited life.


Shared Workspaces Hit the Indian Startup Scene

Every weekend, the partiers flood into a New Delhi restaurant and dance club called Social, a three-story destination on the edge of Hauz Khas Village, one of the city’s most popular nightlife neighbourhoods.

After nightfall, the bar is busy and the dance floor is full. The lines regularly stretch out into the street. The dancing goes on until 1am.

But just a few hours later, the watering hole will be clean, the tables will be cleared of silverware and plates and the nightclub will have been transformed into a cozy office where no one gets fired for drinking at work.

Everyone shares desks at Social: photographers, designers, journalists, software programmers. They bounce ideas off one another, hire one another and collaborate to expand their businesses. Everyone is either a freelancer or working for a small startup.

As India emerges as one of the biggest markets in the world for tech-based startups, workspaces are transforming from traditional and hierarchical to relaxed and bar-like.

“It’s the millennial personality,” says 29-year-old Dinsa Sachan, a freelance journalist who works out of Social. “People don’t want to bow down to random bosses in their offices. They are seeking more meaningful work. So, I think co-working spaces are like a melting pot for individuals like these.”

The first co-working offices began springing up in India about three years ago. Today, there are at least a dozen in New Delhi – though Social is the only one that also functions as a restaurant – with similar numbers in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, where most Indian startups are based.

With more than 4,200 new technology companies, mostly phone apps or websites, by the end of last year, India now has the third-largest startup industry in the world, behind the United States and United Kingdom, according to The National Association of Software and Services Companies, or Nasscom, an Indian industry research company.

Foreign-based investors are opening their coffers, and now comprise most of the money being pumped into Indian startups, Nasscom says. Funding for Indian startups is growing at more than 125 percent a year, with an additional $700 million (roughly Rs. 4,680 crores) estimated to be invested before February 2017, according to a 2016 report by InnoVen Capital, an Asian venture capital firm.

Riyaaz Amlani, the owner of Social and a powerful force in the changing Indian restaurant scene, said he noticed a demand for cheap office space in prime New Delhi locations and decided on a fluid concept for his restaurants. There are now 14 Social outlets across India, all of them also co-working spaces.

“Increasingly, offices started becoming more like cafes, right? Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter,” the 41-year-old says. “If you get into a traditional office environment, you know, it’s all very cut-and-dried. It’s all very hierarchical. Your importance is measured by the amount of square-foot” your office has.

The co-working spaces are also very young places.Most Indian startups are created by people under age 28 who often cannot afford skyrocketing rents in big-city office districts.

Membership fees at most Indian shared offices are usually less than $100 (roughly Rs. 6,700) per month. They also come with free access to networking events, investors’ conferences and even parties. At Social, members also get lockers, free internet and can redeem their monthly fees for food and drinks.

Rishi Jalan, a 25-year-old who started a sports management company for student athletes two years ago, said the free flow of ideas and inspiration is one of the top reasons people choose to work at a shared office space.

“I know so many of my friends who actually went to a co-working space and found their co-founders,” says the Cornell University graduate. “Everyone, I feel, in these kind of co-working spaces in Delhi, is a guy who’s motivated. Firstly, because you have to do that if you’re an entrepreneur. And secondly, they’re all ready to share their ideas.”

Like Jalan, many young Indians are moving away from traditional low-paying, entry-level jobs and want to do something of their own.

“In my day, we didn’t have this opportunity available to us,” says Amlani, the Social owner. “Our heroes were rebels and rock-and-rollers, and the millennials’ heroes are people like Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk, and people who want to change the world with an app,” he said. “They’re blazing their own trail. And that’s amazing. And we’re just happy to facilitate it in a very small way.”


Niche startups on the rise, aiming at gaining investors across India

HYDERABAD: As the startup revolution is maturing and graduating to the next level, niche startups are on the rise and are gaining popularity across India.

Right from startups which use music therapy to de-stress and companies which sell sex toys to those providing surgeries to uninsured patients and services to sports lovers, niche startups are not just increasing in number but also in popularity, thus scripting many success stories.

“Most of the people love music and can also have a desire to sing or play an instrument. But today’s fast paced life and their inhibitions do not allow them to do it. For all those who provide drums and other instruments and conduct sessions, where participants have to play the instruments. These sessions are not just about enjoying music but will help in de-stressing, for which most prefer,” said Varun Venkit, a drums player, facilitator and music composer who co-founded Taal Inc.

Though Taal Inc started in Pune six years ago with two friends, now it conducts drum sessions all over India and it is a popular startup which corporates and individuals opt for both entertainment and also for stress relief activities. Taal Inc also conducted a drums session with underprivileged children in Mumbai, in which Michele Obama participated during her visit to India earlier.

Though started by one or a small number of passionate individuals, startups in the niche segment are quickly scaling up like Taal Inc and proving their impact, thus not just bettering the success ratio but also attracting mentors and investors.

“I saw many patients not opting for surgeries fearing the steep cost, which is sad. More than 65 per cent of people in India cannot afford surgeries or do not have insurance. To help them, I started a startup, leaving job as a surgeon in a leading hospital. Though I started out alone, we have 12 employees now and we will scale up as need rises,” said Dr Nirajan Ravuri CEO of Caremotto from Hyderabad, which facilitates surgeries for the uninsured.

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Don’t just start up- please take time out to sort out the right problem

Every day, we hear new startup stories, some are inspiring, some are disappointing and some just don’t make any sense, neither in terms of the usefulness of the product, nor in terms of being a worthwhile investment opportunity.

It is a great thing to start up, and we must give it a try, but what is more important to note is that most of the ideas these days seem to not be in sync with what is required on a long term basis, or what our country really needs. In the excitement and eagerness to start something new, startups have forgotten some basic rules of the game, and hence do not seem to be aiming at bigger goals.

E-commerce Websites
Do we need another one? Are any of them actually making money? If we review the financials that are on the MCA portal, available on paying a simple fee of Rs 100, we can see that these balance sheets are definitely not showing any profits, and are bleeding investor money. Now, the positive impact of these websites is the opening up of a whole new online marketplace and related ecosystems, the fact we can order almost anything online and get it delivered in a couple of hours is super convenient for some. However, most of these e-commerce companies have realised the importance of investing in the backend support and related activities, which, to my mind, makes for a much more profitable venture. Thus, we often see these e-commerce ventures scouting for companies providing innovative warehousing and logistics solutions.

The startup ecosystem can get better only if more startups focus on improving the ecosystem at each and every step- that will eventually improve the online experience. So instead of focusing on another online portal, startups should focus on related activities, related problems that are currently a hindrance to the success of the online shopping world, and work out a solution to resolve them in the best and the most efficient manner.

This is another hot topic in the startup and investor circle. However, I think this segment is doomed to failure since startups are trying to make this work without actually thinking about the underlying dynamics of the sector. Many startups in this sector have closed or are about to.

Why is this so? Because they are not really focusing on resolving issues in the present ecosystem required to make this work. Startups need to find solutions to first enable an ecosystem to develop; home chefs, professional chefs, delivery people, kitchen equipment, delivery vehicles, quality control, food labs and test labs- there are many variables involved in this business, and many areas for potential success. A startup in this sector can be profitable only when the startups start focusing on infrastructure first. Startups should also make the apps and the enabling technology, but it is also important for them to introduce the government to new infrastructure developments, support new ideas for employment and address a wider issue so that it can benefit the apps and technology that will support it.
Taxi Aggregation
As far as this sector goes, we can only see a fight between two rivals with foreign funding trying to capture market share and disrupt the field. The good thing with this sector is that people found a reliable, fast and cheap mode of transport, and drivers found a higher standard of living; but what’s next?
Startups need to look into the adequate training of drivers. What about car servicing for such drivers? What about car loans? What about social profiling, and driver behaviour mapping? There are various related portions available to explore, and building a startup to help in the evolution of this sector can be meaningful and relevant.
The only way India will start competing with the world, especially the USA, is by focusing on R&D. Apps will always depend on Apple, Google and Microsoft; no matter how good your app is, the bigger chunk of profit will always go to these companies. Unless we start ideating on a bigger scale and support large R&D projects, it will be difficult to achieve bigger dreams.

A startup needs to focus on ingenious ways to resolve our country’s problems, starting with fixing roads faster and making them more durable, and enabling every house to generate its own power and utilise resources efficiently. New and innovative housing and building material will enable the government to achieve its ambition of providing shelter to all; ingenious ways for revolutionising agriculture and related technology uses, and community building will enable self-sufficiency; e-schools will ensure that education reaches every village.

We just do not need another temporary viral idea; we need a good reliable efficient solution to each and every problem faced by our country, because every successful solution gets recognised and rewarded. The day every startup works on resolving India’s problems will be the day the Startup India project will succeed and India will get its successful entrepreneurs.

So don’t just start up, please take time out to sort out the right problem.


Data: Solo Startups do Better Globally

The common perception is that a startup benefits from having at least two founders. A single geeky founder may ignore the business side, while one who’s good with business may tend to miss the importance of technology. So a combination of the two is often seen as ideal.

But that’s just a perception. CrunchBase, the online startup database, finds that single-founder companies do at least as good as, if not better than, multi-founder ones.
Of 7,348 global startups that have raised more than $10 million each in funding, 46% were ventures started by single entrepreneurs, says the San Francisco-based research firm. About 32% had two founders. The average number of founders in these successful startups is 1.8. CrunchBase also find that of the 6,191 ventures that secured some sort of an exit -through mergers and acquisitions, or sales -more than 50% were companies with a single founder. TOI could not obtain a large sample for In dia. Of the top ten funded startups in the country, startup analytics firm Tracxn found that three companies -Paytm, Hike and Ibibo -have a single founder.

Five companies, including Flipkart, Snapdeal and Ola, have two founders each, and only two have three founders or more.
Some might explain the difference between the global and Indian environments to the greater maturity of startups in places like Silicon Valley. Many who start up in mature locations may be doing their second or third venture and so have good insights into both business and technology. Perhaps the ecosystem itself ingrains the two aspects into entrepreneurs.

“The confidence that single-founder companies (in India) can scale has come only recently,” says Karthik Reddy, managing partner at Blume Ventures, a venture fund which invests in earlystage startups. He says Blume has struggled with single founders. “It’s not just us. The company faces the same question for the next funding round they raise. That’s why we look for a strong founder with a broader team,” he says. Norwest Venture Partners, which has invested in two-founder ventures like Quikr, BlueJeans and Pepperfry, says it’s difficult to generalize. “Google, Apple, Microsoft were all built by companies with two founders. In India, Infosys was built by many founders. Many may raise funding but if you want a resounding success, you need more than one founder. In a single-founder company, the whole burden falls on one person,” says Mohan Kumar, executive director at NVP India.

He notes that the chances of companies with two or more founders doing well increase when the startup goes through a rough patch. That worked well for Bengaluru-based self-rental car service Zoomcar, which was started by the American duo Greg Moran and David Back. Early last year, Back decided to leave the company for personal reasons and Moran was left holding the reins.

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