Lessons from India’s Up-and-Coming Startups9 months ago Harshita Goel
Mistakes are inevitable in any journey. In the world of business, there are always lessons you wish they taught you in school — whether it’s how to choose the right team or make informed investment calls. So if you’re looking to grow as an entrepreneur, take your cue from these local startups and see how you, too, can emerge as a success story.
It’s not about trends
People in business are obsessed with being the first or the best. As soon as a new trend emerges — whether it be Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, or ecommerce — companies are quick to see how they can jump on the bandwagon. But Anisha Singh, founder of Mydala, urges you to re-shift your focus. “The success of a startup is not a trend, but grit and perseverance,” Singh once said in an interview. “Trends come and go. [Business is] about solving a big problem and it could be just simplifying how something is done.” True enough, Mydala has since emerged as the largest local services marketing platform because of how it connected businesses with relevant target users — a need that had yet to be addressed when e-commerce first entered the Indian market.
Use fear as motivation
The startup environment is a volatile one, and can often be intimidating. How do you compete with companies who have had a head start? According to Deepanshu Khandelwal, this should add fuel to the fire. In a TEDx Talk, the Blue Box Media CEO shared that a bit of fear is healthy — because what else will motivate you to innovate and improve your product? As the editor-in-chief of India’s leading tech innovation platform, Khandelwal is always looking to feature technologies of the future.
Take it slow but steady
When you’re starting out, remember that slow and steady wins the race — and Vipin Sahu made sure to take his time. The director of enterprise software developer Webkul discussed the company’s humble beginnings, saying that despite “a lot of talk about funding, innovation, quick exits, and getting rich,” he and his team were hell-bent on survival, which he touts as the “real innovation.” According to Sahu, “If we had funds and resources at that time, for sure we would have taken the most proven paths at every step.” Indeed, this experience equipped him with lessons that he needed to learn before achieving success. Take top global gaming company Nintendo, for example. Prior to their success, they started out in handmade hanafuda playing cards.
Take advantage of economic conditions
Startups happen because there is a gap in the market that needs to be filled. Using FXCM’s Economic Calendar you can see different events that can affect the global economy — from customer inflation expectations to international political gatherings. These provide insight into how different economies will be performing in the weeks and months ahead, and are crucial to planning and maintaining a successful globally competitive startup. This can also show you how you can make a positive contribution. For Jeethmal Mutha, he saw the lengths that Indian tourists had to go to purchase currency from dealers, who provided fixed rates and offered limited options on USD and Euro. It wasn’t appropriate for the millions of people flying out of India every year, which Times of India claims prompted Mutha to start nafex.com, an online marketplace for travelers to buy foreign currencies.