Establishing a Profitable Start-up

GREAT LAKES GUEST LECTURE SERIES – Mr APOORV JAIN

VICE PRESIDENT – BUSINESS, URBANCLAP

28th August 2018

“India ranks third amongst the global start-up ecosystem with more than 4,200 new-age companies. We are living in the age of start-ups and the reason behind this is that the youth today has the potential to innovate and the passion of being able to shape their own destiny.” Says Mr Apoorv Jain, VP – Business, UrbanClap, while interacting with Great Lakers.

Mr Apoorv Jain | Vice President Business | UrbanClap

Mr Apoorv Jain: Mr Jain possesses close to 7 years of experience in helping build start-ups both across India and abroad. In his previous work experience, he had worked with brands like Rocket Internet and OfficeYes.com in Operations leadership and P&L leadership roles and served Lazada as Vice President. He has also previously launched Witcraft Marketing Private Limited.

While interacting with Great Lakers, Mr Jain answered some of the most vital questions, aspiring entrepreneurs must ask themselves before embarking upon their entrepreneurial journey.

  1. Why Entrepreneurship?

Mr Jain started the discussion by addressing the most important question – why do people want to become an entrepreneur? “Let’s face it! One of the major motivations for anyone to become a businessman is Money. Maybe not every entrepreneur is in it solely for the financial aspect but finances are a necessary evil.” He added, “Some of you might be in it for the purpose of being in control of your own destiny, but whatever the motivation is, the key is to write down the goal in specific and measurable terms. Goals are always more effective by putting a number on them which can be measured.”

He went on to talk about how budding entrepreneurs are the ones who find themselves leading and not following. Every entrepreneur feels the need to solve a problem and create an impact. The passion with which they drive the solution is what determines the success of the startup. Moving on with examples of successful start-ups, Mr Apoorv explained the 1 by 100 rule, that is, nine out of ten start-ups fail within the first five years of their inception. Out of 100 startups that come into existence, only one makes it to the big picture. “Every day is a success or a failure in the life of an entrepreneur. Intrinsically, not every day in your company can be a success. It is on the days of failure that you need to remind yourself of your goals and missions and stick to them.”

  1. What is the Right Mix of Ingredients for a Perfect Start-up Recipe?

Mr Jain stated that there are a lot of “whats”, “hows”, “whens” and “ifs” that need to be answered before launching an enterprise. If you are an accomplished marketer or a salesperson, you can help the business reach great heights in lesser time. It is beneficial to have a skilled pool of resources within the company, starting with the founding team. Not all successful entrepreneurs have experiences in all business domains, but most of them are true leaders and are passionate about their idea, and that is all that is required.

Another major deciding factor is the investment. Needless to say, this is the tricky part of the journey. To appeal to the investors, you need to sell your idea and to do so you need to believe in your solution to the problem identified. Last but not the least, market trends are vital in deciding the time of the launch. So, one needs to keep following them with an eagle eye.

  1. How to finalize on the idea?

Mr Apoorv answered this question by explaining UrbanClap’s business idea and how it has been able to come up with something that brought a significant change in the way consumers use services and products. He explained, “The start-up should be focused on solving consumers’ problems in an innovative manner. For an entrepreneur to identify a consumer’s problem and solve it, it is necessary to first realize that problem themselves. Either you have experienced the problem in your own life or have seen it in the lives of those around.”

He added, “To act on these ideas and make a decision, you will need to carry out an extensive market research. This helps in understanding the sustainability and longevity of your idea. The millennial generation is growing at an unbelievable pace and the business idea needs to be aligned with the fast-changing technology to stay relevant.”

  1. The Founding Team

“Quality of the founding team is directly proportional to the success and growth of the business. In most cases, the relentless pursuit of the co-founders is what derives the success of a company. There are two categories of people who entrepreneurs choose from, first, the ones they believe are essential for the success of the startup, accounting to their excellent skills and talents and second, the ones without whom they don’t want to continue on their journey of success.”

Mr Jain concluded the interaction on the note that the consumer should always be at the centre of every decision and primary research is very important to ensure customer centricity. Primary research helps in understanding the gaps in the market and in determining the market size. It can also act as an initial motivator to enter into a certain market.

Author: Anindita Srivastava

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

Telecommunication – Enabling the Fourth Industrial Revolution

GREAT LAKES GUEST LECTURE SERIES – Mr SUNIL SAYAL

CFO REGION INDIA, NOKIA SOLUTIONS & NETWORKS

10th September 2018: Nokia, a brand that has a special place in all our hearts. Growing up, there hardly was any kid or adult in the 90s who didn’t own a Nokia. So, both the Ninjas (PGPM) and the Aztecs (PGDM) 2019 batches were supercharged to welcome Mr Sunil Sayal, CFO Region India, Nokia Solutions and Networks. Mr Sayal took the time out to share his immense experience of the telecom industry and talk about the ongoing fourth industrial revolution.

Mr Sunil Sayal | CFO Region India | Nokia Solutions and Networks

Mr Sayal is a finance professional with close to three decades of experience across both MNCs and Indian Corporate houses. He is a member of ICAI and ICSI and holds commerce and law degrees from Delhi University. He has been working in the Telecommunication Industry for the past two decades with Ericsson in the past & currently with Nokia Solutions and Networks and has witnessed its evolution in India since its infancy to the present era.

Mr Sayal started his talk with the history of past industrial revolutions. Steam engine powered industries and rail-roads had sparked the first industrial revolution, followed by the second revolution energized by electricity. The third spurt of massive productivity gains was triggered by development and advancements in the domain of computing and web-based internet. Mr Sayal believes that the fourth industrial revolution would be empowered by the explosion in digital information, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence, with telecom being its biggest enabler.

He discussed the growth of the telecom industry starting from Analog Voice to current 4G making telecom industry an integral part of everyone’s life. A life without a 4G connection is now not imaginable. Mr Sayal shared interesting facts regarding the contribution of the Telecommunication industry towards the development of India. Having 1146 million subscribers, telecom industry contributes to 6.5% of GDP and has generated over 4 million jobs besides attracting big scale FDI. India and China are currently the #1 consumers in global data traffic. In his words, “We sit on the cusp of a revolution in information”, and the numbers are a definite proof of his statement.

How has Airtel managed to be the #1 company?

Mr Sayal highlighted the factors behind Airtel’s immense success in India. Airtel has been the leader in the telecom industry since its inception and has always enjoyed the biggest pie in the market share. Innovation is one of the biggest factors behind Airtel’s success. To quote him, “Either you innovate or you die out”, and this seems to be the motivation behind Airtel’s mission. Airtel, which had the first mover advantage, capitalized on the opportunities it got and never failed to take the lead in bringing technological changes in its services and quality rather than following the competition. While the strategy of adopting pay-by-capacity and network outsourcing to companies like Nokia and Ericsson has given them the competitive edge in improving the quality and services, having a brilliant brand connect has helped them in establishing the link with high revenue customers.

Why weren’t Vodafone and Idea able to challenge Airtel’s reign?

The two companies which recently merged to become the biggest player in the telecom industry bringing further consolidation in the industry have historically been the second and third biggest companies in the market. The guest discussed the gaps which kind of prevented these two great companies with extremely renowned parentage from challenging Airtel’s reign. Vodafone, which brilliantly established brand connect with its unique advertisements, fell short of providing a better alternative to Airtel’s services. While getting involved in the taxation dispute hurt the company during its early days, being a global company, it was perhaps not so successful when it comes to thinking and executing with local considerations in mind. Idea, too, lagged in establishing a concrete strategy to outsource or insource their networks and were not in a dominating or leading position in the cash-rich telecom circles of the country.

Jio – the disruptor?

The latest entrant in the Industry, Jio, has been able to disrupt the market with its out of the box thinking strategy and huge risk-taking appetite. Jio entered an already saturated market with its ground-breaking innovation and technology and became the first player to launch its services with Pan-India 4G coverage which helped them reach every corner. It launched its services with path-breaking industry-changing cheap tariff plans. While most companies would prefer taking services from well-established brands, Jio took a risk by purchasing the network equipment from a new entrant– Samsung, and invested hugely in R&D from best brains across the globe and provided the best quality services to the consumer. Mr Sayal quoted Mr Ambani, “Data is the new Oil”, which seems like the motivating idea behind Jio’s strategies.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

For his concluding thoughts, My Sayal explained the contours of the upcoming fourth industrial revolution which will be triggered by the introduction of 5G powered IoT. ”5G delivers extreme broadband, ultra-robust, low latency connectivity, and massive networking for the Internet of Things to enable the programmable world, which will transform our individual lives, economy and society”. Enabling the fourth revolution would require enabling massive capacity everywhere through Ultra-broadband, realizing the agility of software-defined business through Cloud and igniting the new businesses of IoT.

This, in his opinion, was the shape of things to come which will guide the future of the global telecommunication industry.

Author: Arpit Gupta

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon