Techsparks 2013: Innovation and Startups in India

Techsparks 2013: Innovation and Startups in India

by Madanmohan Rao
Research Director, YourStory.in
http://twitter.com/MadanRao
Bangalore; October 5, 2013

Kicking off now in Bangalore: India’s premier startup event, TechSparks 2013! http://TechSparks.in (Twitter hashtag: #tsparks https://twitter.com/search?q=%23tsparks&src=typd&f=realtime)
See my tweetnotes from TechSparks 2012 last year: http://km.techsparks.com/?p=446

I. Shradha Sharma @SharmaShradha: Founder & CEO, YourStory Media

Despite plunging Indian rupee, startups thrive here!
India is a country of storytellers – largest and oldest stories in the world come from here!
Every startup story is unique and powerful, and matters.
Can we create 1.3 billion entrepreneurial stories from India? And from other parts of the world?
India had a pavilion at TechCrunch Disrupt 2013 this year.
We are now on YourStory.in as well as YourStory.com!
We can create the world’s largest storytelling platform for startups in the world, right from here in Bangalore, India
RT @techsparks2013 “Sare Jahan se acha, Hindustan Hamara. We will create the largest storytelling platform in the world” – @sharmashradha
We also have new platforms: HerStory (women entrepreneurs) and SocialStory (social entrepreneurship)
Techsparks annual events – 70 startups showcased so far, 33 have been funded, 2 acquired

II. Abhinav Kumar, guitar in hand, comes on stage to sing the Techsparks Theme Song!
“I’m going to startup, be the king of my life!” “I’m gonna get the crown!” “I’ll kiss the dirt but make it work!”

III. Shailendra Singh, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital India: “Enduring Success”

We look not just for financial success, but enduring success (portfolio: iYogi, JustDial, Xoom, LinkedIn, etc.)
Enduring success is not guaranteed even for large companies. Young companies in 10 years are disrupting Fortune 1000 giants
Enduring success comes from agility, building defensive moats, culture (for scale), perseverance
Perseverance is even more important in India than other countries, pain factors are much more intense at every stage
Moat = superior tech, network effects, brands, user experience, ecosystem, operating model
Case study – Pine Labs (Lokvir Kapoor), founded 1998. Took 15 years to build the moat (payments platform for retailers)
Agility: Knowledge is about the past, learning is about now; iterate and fail fast; evolve; break it even if it works!
Fast learning is more important than deep knowledge, for an entrepreneur
Even if it works, you should break your product – before someone else does!
Agility case study: Druva. 2012 – ranked No.1 by Gartner in its data protection category. Engineer became successful CEO
Culture factors: Time horizon, rethinking ESOP, careers, learning, fun, winning
Husband and wife team created Mu Sigma, now world’s largest decision sciences company
Shailendra shows pic of Mu Sigma founder Dhiraj serving employees lunch in the office in lungi, after puja. Authenticity!
Perseverance: no short cuts, all about integrity, grit, deep commitment, focus, long-term wins
RT @sandeepvarma At Mu Sigma if you ask great questions, you are rewarded
SCIO Health Analytics (Chennai, NY): Dug in during economic crisis, went back to the drawing board and turned around
TechSparks is a good platform for us – we have now invested in a TechSparks 2011 winner! (cloud platform: Idea Device)
Shailendra’s message: Keep trying to get better!

IV. Fireside chat: Ambiga Dhiraj, Head of Fulfillment, Mu-Sigma

We started in 2004. Husband was in Booz, deep into analytics
We had no customer for 8 months. The day after Dhiraj had all 4 (!) wisdom teeth pulled out, he got first meeting!
Delivering data/service out of India is not a cost play but innovation play. Learning is d/dt of knowledge! We love equations
We build curiosity in employees. We give award/prize for best question of the month!
Culture should be kept intact as we scale. Monthly retreat to Nandi Halls to discuss values (eg. no ‘sir/madam’ allowed, tough in India!).
Culture: no hierarchy – no ‘sir/madam’ allowed, tough in India!
RT @YourStorydotin “If people don’t ask important questions, answers are irrelevant,” Ambiga @musigmainc
RT @Skanda “Learning over knowing, the mantra for adding more knowledge to your bucket. Key indegrient in Musigma” – Ambika
RT @NidhishAlex Nurturing the culture of curiosity is important in startups- Ambiga cofounder @MuSigmaInc
When customers/directors visit us, we also take them outside the boardroom to the office to meet employees, analysts. Authenticity!
Exposing employees to customers/clients helps them take ownership of their work
RT @mehulved Mu Sigma sent a team of about 20 people to ask questions to Sequoia when the latter was investing in them.
Shailendra: Most of the Mu Sigma team is in India, but their customers are 70+ Fortune 1000 companies, mostly based in the US
Culture: Work-life integration – bring life to work, eg I bring my son to the office on occasion!
Shailendra: Pay attention to these kinds of small details which build a strong culture for the company
Shailendra: Dhiraj, founder of Mu Sigma, is listed in the Fortune Top 100 Under-40 List!
RT @YourStorydotin “Why is there no appraisal but fixed slabs at @MuSigmaInc?” Question to Ambiga Dhiraj from the audience at
Ambiga on performance appraisal: Entry level analysts are hired from campuses in India. We spell out a 3-year package
RT @Skanda_B MuSigma has a sales team with an average age of 22. Exploring new dimensions and thinking sales differently. Kudos!
RT @nabomita_smiles 22 yr olds have better learning curve & is opened to innovation in sales Ambiga Dhiraj, Head of Fulfillment @MuSigmaInc
In India, parents bring Horlicks to students during exams. Very different environment in the West
@nabomita_smiles Middle management is young , hence ease them through a socialist process : 3 years talent view Ambiga Dhiraj, @MuSigmaInc
I published a paper in HBR on the Montessori model and HR philosophy.
RT @shrinathv Mu sigma really seems to be rethinking organizational dynamics from an India perspective. Much needed!

V. Dr. Anu Vaidyanathan, Ultraman Athlete, IP Professor: “Going The Distance – Thoughts From Sports & Entrepreneurship”

My parents are from rural Tamil Nadu. My childhood: “Nature in Nurture.” Passion from sports comes from there, a relationship with nature
Cows on the roads teach more about attitude than anything else!
@dmuraliYS Separate goals from dreams – Anu http://pic.twitter.com/Gyj97iYMlD
My inspiration in life is Kung-fu Panda! How to find inner peace?
@rubiabraun World class event happening here at – super impressive. @YourStorydotin
My biggest dream in life was to become a dancer, but I realised I had two left feet, had to accept that!
Entrepreneurship is about satisfaction, independence, being able to get gifts for your dad!
Real heroism comes from unexpected sources, not just the usual Steve Jobs. Keep your sense open
RT @gouravdhelaria Any pursuit – sports or business has to bring something to your life – Anu Vaidyanathan,
Anu runs through a history of invention and IPR. Tinkerers, inventors, patents and trade
Anu @anuvaidyanathan says IP is a defense mechanism, not offense; tool for arbitrage, valuation for companies
I respect Free Software Foundation and Open Source (not to be confused with free!)
Anu www.patnmarks.com runs through innovation model of Red Hat.
My key message – ‘subtle irreverence.’ Value is a two-way street. You can’t sit in meetings all day, get a sense of perspective
Entrepreneurship is an attitude, not just a goal of a multi-crore blockbuster company
RT @mehulved “As an Endurance Athlete, I can say perseverance pays off”

VI: Fireside chat: Kavin Bharti Mittal, Head of Strategy, New Product Development, Bharti SoftBank

BSB is a JV. Huge opportunities for m-commerce in India, need to bridge offline-online world. Also mobile gaming/entertainment
@Kavinbm @bsbUpdates – Startup has to be insatiably curious, should care about the product, be passionate in the industry
RT @nabomita_smiles Hiring strategies: Top 3 qualities in new hires:curiosity, high learning curve and caring (@Kavinbm)
RT @sandeepvarma Very hard to find product people in India @kavinbm
Social/team dynamics are important. Can you have drinks with your colleagues and work with them till 4 am?
RT @YourStorydotin “The Indian market is very early. Numbers are pegged at >100 million, but frankly India has around 30-40 million net users,” Kavin
You need to have a long-term view of Net/mobile market in India. High demand for rich media eg. our Stickers product
Great Q to How will you give exposure to young entrepreneurs, not just funding/jobs?
Q: Is it difficult to attract talent from overseas to India? A: Yes, Gurgaon lifestyle is very different from Silicon Valley!

VII. Nick Talbot, Global Design Head, Tata Elxsi: “How Thinking ‘Design’ First Can Help Build Successful Ventures”

Big companies realise that good ideas come from startups, small companies, new entrepreneurs. The bigger the company, the harder it is to innovate
Innovation is about making things better, not just different. For who, and how many?
Borderless innovation – scale; has to be good for everybody
Design = vision + craft + communication + pragmatism
Put anthropology before technology, even in tech firms
See my reviews of innovation and design books at http://yourstory.in/author/madanmohan/ http://YourStory.com
Benchmark your designs with what already exists in the market. Blend tech with design, sometimes you can’t change architecture
RT @NidhishAlex Some entrepreneurs think that design is like sprinkling after cooking is done- Nick Talbot startups
RT @sandeepvarma Design should be humanist
RT @YourStorydotin “Don’t decide your technology platform before you’ve thought through your design,” Nick Talbot at
RT @nabomita_smiles Add an emotional content to the design so that users can connect beyond technology: Nick Talbot
Nick jokes that he is using a http://pic of Priyanka Chopra in his slides without her permission, and hopes he doesn’t get sued! (Anu please note!)
We have a programme called Incub@TE to help small companies start up

VIII. Madan Padaki, Co-Founder and Director, MeritTrac Services: “Building A Global Venture Out Of India”

Nice to see a fellow Madan on stage! ;-)
Madan runs through the ups and downs of his startup over the last 10 years
We did well as an Indian company, not global; need the right DNA to go international
Madan wears many hats, justifies the loss of hair!
Our vision – taking people from villages, assessing + building skills for them to make them employable, find rural opportunities
@madanpadaki shows video of young boy whose mother could not recognise him after his soft skills transformation!
We have coined a term called Rubans – the new rural youth, and bring them job opportunities. “Rubanomics”
RT @ariadon1992 Rubanomics – rural + urban + economics. jus wow :D newconcept revolutioninRubanIndia
RT @nabomita_smiles GuruG is a teacher gamification platform for teachers: Madan Patki
We are connecting Rubanomics to MDGs (reduce rural youth)
We want to create 1,000 RubanHubs in India and other countries, 100 Rubans per hub
We are replicating this India model to Brasil and Colombia also. Leveraging BoP model
When people are hit by the power of what is possible, they become changed individuals
We have roped in angel investors from India, Vietnam, Singapore, US, UK
HHH Services is looking for angel investors who have a local + global perspective
Head Held High www.head-held-high.org is an enterprise which is also social
Hear hear! Madan: Every enterprise has to be global and social at the same time
RT @TechButthead 1) Global Concept, 2) Global Strategy, 3) Global Exposure, 4) Global Structure that gives rise to a 5) Global Product

IX. Panel I: Global Products With Borderless Innovations
Gautam Mago, Principal, Sequoia Capital India.
Kavin Bharti Mittal, Head of Strategy, New Product Development, Bharti SoftBank.
Nick Talbot, Global Design Head, Tata Elxsi.
Pallav Nadhani, Co-Founder and CEO, FusionCharts.
Pravin Srinivasan, VP Sales, Cisco.
Srikanth Karnakota, Country Head, Server & Cloud Business, Microsoft India.
Ravi Gururaj, Chairman & Co-Founder, Frictionless Ventures (Moderator)

Gautam/Sequoia: Think global; your Chennai startup can get competitors from Prague and Indonesia the next day.
Pallav: Some Indian customers have told us they would not have bought our product if we were only an Indian company
Kavin: To go global your product has to be phenomenal. Product has to have personality, not just lines of code
Nick: If you benchmark globally, even your products for the local market can be of global quality
Ravi: View from China is different – they are not bothered about the global market, local is big enough for them
Nick: Look how the Koreans operate – they design globally, but launch first in Korea to perfect it
Pravin/Cisco: India adoption is usually mobile-first, even for SaaS products.
Kavin: Products designed in English in India lend themselves well to global; local languages are a different game in Tier 2-3 cities
Kavin: Some needs themselves are both local and global in nature, solving those can help you go global
RT @Skanda_B most products get developed to solve a problem locally @kavinbm. Hike was Developed for India and got a wide acceptance in Germany
Srikanth/Microsoft: Timing is important when you want to decide where/when to take your product global
Gautam/Sequoia: If you serve the tech developer or enterprise market, you can be global from Day One
Gautam/Sequoia: Consumer and SME markets are inherently different across the world
Pallav/Fusion Charts: I’ve interviewed 2,000 people in my life, very few in India have developed open source code to explore themselves
Pallav/Fusion Charts: India is fast adopter, but not yet fast creator or fast contributor (little Indian contribution to open source)
Pallav/Fusion Charts: Need to change Indian educational system also, need to give chance to explore and contribute also, don’t focus just on jobs
RT @ShereenYT Don’t waste your time on just studying. Build something and learn – @pallavn at
Kavin: China has witnessed the Internet revolution much more personally and popularly than India
Gautam/Sequoia: China has 4X economy and 10X tech adoption as compared to India
Nick: Polished products have more longevity. Roadmaps are important. Look at Apple: 5-10 year roadmaps
Nick: Innovation has to be continuous, but not all companies can sustain it in the long run, and successfully
Interesting Q from audience: Let’s not get carried away with going global, let us go to rural India first!
My answer: Even rural can be global, look at Head Held High (@MadanPadaki)
Ravi: Look at Israel, very small market, but great at going global (Startup Nation)
Q: How should meta-search companies scale up easily to other countries?
Pallav/Fusion Charts: Cultural issues in new geographies are design/layout/colour; operational issues are logistics/delays
Pallav/Fusion Charts: Look at cultural affinities of new geographies, eg. not many Indian startups have Russia/Japan playbooks
Pallav/Fusion Charts: We have to train Asian companies even for a $90 SaaS product (DIFM), unlike in the US (DIY)!
Pallav/Fusion Charts: Wedding photo album company – there are variations in simplicity, enhancements between Indian states
Ravi: Every startup I meet says they have a designer shortage. Indian education system needs to gear up
Pallav/Fusion Charts: As a society we need to encourage and reward self-learning, experimentation, exploration
RT @nabomita_smiles: Re-scaling skills using the resources over the internet ,remains need of the hour~ @pallavn
RT @Skanda_B pallav: Today everything can be self learnt. its the responsibility of an individual & institutions as well.
Nick: Need to teach more business and design skills in school. But parents also think design is stupid, the problem is in Indian homes also, they want their kids only to be doctors and engineers
Kavin: Emerging opportunities in India – mobile gaming, payment (but Indian regulations can be stifling)
Nick: Emerging opportunities in India and globally – resource management (energy grids, water, food)
Gautam: Emerging opportunities in India – mobile payments, harnessing enterprise data (social, devices, sensors)
Pravin/Cisco: Emerging opportunities in India: crowdsourcing, e-governance; identifying influencers
Pallav: Emerging opportunities in India – healthcare, gamification, governance (tackling corruption!)
Srikanth/Microsoft: Emerging opportunities in India: re-imagined enterprise apps, seamless integration

X. Gerard Tellis, Professor of Marketing, Director of the Center for Global Innovation, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

How can a startup grow to become successful? How can incumbents remain entrepreneurial?
Incumbent’s curse – failing at the peak of success. Only a culture of unrelenting innovation helps succeed
Success can lead to arrogance, complacency, and lack of further innovation, eg. Intel in mobile, Nokia in smartphones
Intel has 85% of PC market, only 1% of mobile phone market
The biggest enemy is within: your own culture! Larry Page – Google’s biggest competitor/problem is – Google!
Lou Gerstner turned around the culture of innovation at IBM. Culture is the game itself
Embrace risk. Focus on future mass markets. Cannibalise successful products
Risk – innovations have a high failure rate. One out of 3,000 ideas make a successful product.
For 10,000 failed startups there is one successful mega success
FedEx took 4 years and Amazon 5 years to break through into profitability
HP had a tablet in 2005, five years before iPad! They never commercialised it, happy with PCs and printers and laptops
Focus on future mass markets, not just current ones. Niches today will become masses tomorrow
Kodak had the most patents in digital photography, but never transitioned to digital – culture frozen in analog
Cannibalise your current products, nurture/sustain them only for a while, innovate and go beyond
Sony invented the Walkman, overtaken by Apple (terrific graph of market cap lines crossing around 2004-2005)
Former CEO of Sony – “Love affairs with the status quo continued even after the quo lost its status”
Gillette – cannibalised its leading razors each time they were at their peaks
Incentives for enterprise should be about innovation not just loyalty. Need to have weak penalties for failure, strong rewards for success
Silicon Valley has better attitudes towards risk and failure than Japan and Germany. Lenience towards bankruptcies
Thomas Watson: The best way to success is to double your failure rate.
Internal competition – give adventure not just job security to innovators; idea fairs, prototype races; peer judging; crowdsourcing
Empowering innovation champions: freedom to innovate, support/resources, allow bottom-up innovation
Innovation is driven by practices and attitudes in a company
Tellis has authored the book Unrelenting Innovation. See my reviews of innovation books at http://yourstory.in/author/madanmohan/
An honour to meet Gerard Tellis and get a signed copy of his book, Unrelenting Innovation!

XI: TechSparks 2013 Startup Pitches!
http://yourstory.in/2013/10/presenting-this-years-tech-30-companies/

Mukund/Mumbai – Heckl, realtime news/analytics: Winner of most innovative award from TechSparks. Heckl was started in 2011, now we have an office in London. @YourStory helped us with meetings, introductions, events, advice. BRAVO!
Mukund: UKTI, @YourStory’s partner for TechSparks, helped us get an office in the UK, + introductions
Shradha Sharma: We had 480 applications this year; shortlisted to 30 (profile, prototypes, testimonials).
18 companies will present today. Jurors: Saumil Majmudar, Pankaj Mishra, Ravi Gururaj, Shailendra Singh, Sanjay Anandram, Gautam, Karti
Pitch 1: Flutura – “Actions, not just insights” www.fluturasolutions.com Decision sciences and analytics
Flutura: We make machines ‘talk.’ Mix of machine data and big data analytics. ‘If you prick us, you get data not blood!’
Flutura: The next India has product innovators, not just generic services. We have been identified by CIO Magazine as a promising startup
Flutura provides realtime solutions for dynamic pricing, energy savings, disaster avoidance
Flutura’s offering – Cerebra Signal Studio (used by GE, PTI, Sodexo)
Flutura: “We thought we are in analytics, but we realised we are in saving lives”
Flutura: We do triangulation across multiple sensors (eg. water, fire, smoke), bring in context
Pitch 2: Airwoot http://airwoot.com Helps brands provide customer support on social media
Airwoot SaaS helps with user tracking, service level monitoring (beyond usual buzz factor uses of social media)
Airwoot @airwoot: We operate at the speed of social, in real time. Our team includes a PhD dropout and math researcher dropout!
Pitch 3: CloudMunch (PaaS) www.cloudmunch.com – “focus on code, cloudmunch on the rest”
CloudMunch: We turn complexity into simplicity. Helps deliver better software, faster and cheaper
CloudMunch: We target startups (scaling), SMEs (customisation), enterprises (standardisation)
Pitch 4: Collaborate Cloud www.collaboratecloud.com Social work management product for better collaboration
Collaborate Cloud: Blends chats, file sharing, online meeting, customised apps for business workflow (employees can create these apps)
Collaborate Cloud: Customers – Titan, Helios. Migrating them away from email and spreadsheets to our apps
Pitch 5: MIBS Mobilistic Innovative Business Solutions www.mibsglobal.com Supply chain management solutions
MIBS: We were chosen by SAP Startup Focus Program. Offered solution for government healthcare provider, within 1 month
Pitch 6: MoeGIS www.moegis.com Health info mapping and tracking for state and local governments in India
MoeGIS: Business model – we get paid by government, NGOs, banks
Pitch 7: TradersCockpit www.traderscockpit.com Equity market screener and analysis tool
TradersCockpit: We have 25,000 users, operational break even; competition: MetaStock, Falcon
TradersCockpit: We want our customers to be our fans, not just be satisfied
Pitch 8: Pervazive http://ecurative.com Curative analytics for telecom network operators
Pervazive founder exited startups in the US and Europe previously.
Pervazive impact: Worm’s eye – helped Mumbai operator reduce costs, time across 9,224 cell sites
RT @Skanda_B Curative anytics is trademarked! They do have a long vision.
Pitch 9: Stelae Technologies www.stelae-technologies.com Automated conversion solution for multiple categories of content
Stelae: Clients – Rolls Royce Aerospace, LexisNexis. Volume base pricing – per page (technical, legal)
Stelae: Investors – Indian Angel Network, Chandu Nair, others from UK/France/Israel
Pitch 10: Eye and Buy www.EyeAndBuy.com Integrated SME business platform to help sales
Eye and Buy: We help SMEs feature on all the major e-commerce sites in India
Eye and Buy: Clients – 3M, Being Human, Nikites, Featherlite chairs. Fees – subscription, per purchase/sale; offline sales
Pitch 11: DeltaX www.deltax.com Digital media platform to buy, optimise & report search
DeltaX: Lots of inefficiencies and wastage due to silos in Internet ad market. Solution: advertising cloud
DeltaX: Our IP – keyword proximity score, algorithmic attribution, global relevance, marginal optimisation
DeltaX: Competition – single point solutions for each of the above (eg. Google’s DoubleClick)
Pitch 12: Cooolio’s Big Toss cricket app. Connecting fans, social outlets, live events. Follow, compete, get rewards
Coolio www.cooolio.com We are expanding to other sports also. Revenues: in-app ads and purchases, brand services
Pitch 13: Brio’s Smart www.smart-platform.com open source app server to develop SaaS products. 6 months old.
Pitch 14: Kallows Engineering www.Kallows.com Healthcare products + apps (ECG). Livestream for telemedicine
Kallows: Adoption – emergency services, states like Goa. Also home visits. Two products in the market already
Pitch 15: GetActive www.getactive.in A fun and easy way to get your health and fitness back on track
GetActive: We create an ecosystem – activity tracker, cloud platform, app. Also compare and compete with buddies; win points/prizes
Pitch 16: Agile CRM www.agilecrm.com SaaS CRM with marketing automation, social suite and web analytics
Pitch 17: LoudCell www.loudcell.com Real-time access to accurate data and MIS reports for managing diesel generators
Pitch 18: Retigence www.retigence.com Retail inventory decision support systems services on cloud, powered by predictive analytics. Powered by SAP HANA
And now a special pitch by another startup, Mad Street Den www.madstreetden.com Artificial intelligence
Top Three picks of Tech 30 2013: Pervazive, Stelae, Flutura; special mention – MoeGIS!

XII. Panel II. Building A Company From Scratch
Alpesh B. Patel, Dealmaker at UK Trade & Investment and Founding Principal at Praefinium Partners.
Sanjay Anandaram, Venture Partner, Seed Fund
Saumil Majmudar, Co-Founder & MD, EduSports
Srikanth Iyer, CEO, TutorVista & Pearson Education Services
Saju Pillai, Co-Founder, idea Device
Shashank ND, Co-founder, Practo
Pankaj Mishra, National Editor, Mint (Moderator)

Sanjay Anandram: A company lasts only as long as its culture sustains and drives it. Therefore choose the right team
Panel: Find a problem which solves a large pain point. Don’t scale too soon. Evolve your model – but what is the model? That is the challenge
Sanjay Anandram: There are two kinds of culture – equitable v/s superstar driven. Balance needs of individual, founder, company
Alpesh Patel: “Do, delegate, or delete” should become “Delegate, delete or die” – we don’t need dominant personalities
RT @dtbng Delegation is in a important part of the life cycle of your entrepreneurship.
RT @techsparks2013 If you are a single founder, its easy to pivot. Its difficult when there are multiple founders – @saumilmajmudar at .
RT @Skanda_B don’t build in a cave, come out, ask the customers their pain points, talk to them and give out your solutions to your customers
Pankaj/Mint: Should you do your startup part-time? Or ‘screw it and just do it?’
Srikanth: If you don’t take your idea seriously enough, why would an investor take you seriously? Do the startup fulltime
Thoughts on part-time entrepreneurship by Kanth Miriyala and Reethika Sunder: http://yourstory.in/2013/08/book-review-of-entrepreneur-5-pm-to-9-am/
Pankaj/Mint: Who should the founders hire first, after starting up?
Panel: Your friends may not always be the best in the functions for your startup. Be aware of equity issues
Sanjay Anandram: Be careful who you take the money from; they should be able to help you in your next stages
Panel: You focus on building your company – if you are good enough, the investors will find you, that is their job
Pankaj/Mint: How should startups stay ethical, in a corrupt environment like India (and other countries)?
Panel: Don’t sacrifice your brand, name, culture just to pay a bribe for those early deals. Don’t take shortcuts
Alpesh: Big Indian companies like Tata are manufacturing overseas also, not just in India; it’s easier to do business overseas
Pankaj/Mint: How to retain employees in the long run? Beyond ESOPs and free beer
Srikanth: I had to lay off 75% of my employees during the rough patch; re-built the company. Transparency is important. Keep those who see and share your vision
RT @nabomita_smiles Hiring Startegy:Hire people more capable than you & let them execute to a common goal creating engagement & sense of belonging

XIII. Binny Bansal, Co-founder at Flipkart; Lakshmi Potluri, Senior Executive, Shopify India

Shradha Sharma: Flipkart has shown the way for many aspiring startups in India; think big and achieve it
RT @abhisangam crowd roars as the fireside chat starts btwn Binni Bansal flipkart & shradha yourstory, getting younger as da day draws 2a close
Binny/Flipkart @binnybansal: Customer focus/service is key to our success. Luck and timing are also super-important to scale
Ambition is also important. Today we are not afraid of global competition.
I don’t come from a business family, had no idea of business (my partner Sachin does)
We were probably ‘foolish’ in the beginning, didn’t know how hard e-commerce would be in India!
Tough lessons: COD didn’t work well in the beginning; we didn’t know how to sell electronics goods differently from books – but learnt fast
Our evolution – first do something meaningful. Vision will evolve as you get more insights and progress
RT @techsparks2013 You need to learn everyday. The day you stop learning, you stop scaling – @binnybansal of @Flipkart at .
To scale: 1. Hire the right people and delegate to them. 2. Keep adding frameworks for decisions at different levels
3. Communication in the company should be continuous, to inform and align everyone with company direction
Shradha: Tell us about your growing years – beyond shyness to boldness; growth, inspiration, drivers
I am introverted, but shy people can also become entrepreneurs! Played football, basketball – leadership exposure
I was the dumbest basketball player! Love at first sight – computers in 4th standard.
Shradha: How do friends work together as co-founders? We fight all the time!
Sachin was in Amazon and referred me too (got referral bonus!). We left, had debates about what to do next. Good for sharpening vision
Work life balance: my wife helps me with life balance! Work is not seen as ‘work,’ it is passion, you like it, you want to do it
An entrepreneur has the best situation, he is doing what he wants to do. Work is life, can’t really differentiate
We are excited about our new platform, and the potential of mobile Web in India
Tier 2-3 cities will see huge adoption of smartphones. Helpful for e-commerce companies like us
We are not thinking of taking Flipkart global at the moment. Only regrets: always being behind the curve, so much more to do!
When we hire new talent, we want to ensure their lifestyle does not change too much, less disruption
We didn’t do well in online music sales, but pulled the plug within two years. Looking at fashion sector now
Advice – make lots of experiments, mistakes; learn fast and then scale fast (eg. Koramangala trial scaled fast to 20 cities)
Challenge of bad/spam reviews. Tech can help with answers: machine learning and crowdsourcing
Lakshmi Potluri, Senior Executive, Shopify India: We help Indian businesses sell globally online www.shopify.com
Lakshmi/Spotify: Online entrepreneurship is still at the tip of the iceberg phase in India. More room for innovation, eg. logistics in Tier 2-3 cities

XIV. Live performance by Kutle Khan Project http://kutlekhan.com from Rajasthan !!!

Spellbinding exhilarating performance by Kutle Khan Project @kutlekhan – looking forward to playing their music on my radio show! http://RadioWalla.in
RT @hallidude This is the trippiest visualization of DamadamMastkalandar I’ve ever seen! http://pic.twitter.com/CerIup43ku
RT @ash3003 Kudle khan live http://instagram.com/p/fFncuhhMrQ/
RT @farooqarahim Kutle khan awesome performance @YourStorydotin @techsparks2013 http://pic.twitter.com/AeDvmcat5I

@DhruvaKumar @YourStorydotin Today is the second anniversary of Steve Jobs’ death. Happy #tsparks today is an ode to the great man. salute yourstory
Lunchtime chatter: The name for AOL’s mobile content product, Coolage, was chosen thanks to crowdsourcing!
GRACIAS! @olgag Broadcasting & amplifying @Madanrao from Madrid: His compiled tweets: TechSparks 2013 http://tl.gd/mp7d6c
THANKS! @RajeshMTHRG Well done! RT @nabomita_smiles: A standing ovation for the @YourStorydotin team :)
RT @harshamv Yourstory Team http://pic.twitter.com/ssqi4L7dQd
See you all in 2014 at the next TechSparks roadshow and showcase – may a billion entrepreneurs bloom! :-)

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