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BW Businessworld

Young India

The jury for the Young Entrepreneur Summit and Awards 2017 came together to evaluate the best start-ups

The Starbucks and Walmarts of the world were once pop joints struggling to get by. That’s true. Hard work, timing, vision and maybe luck are the ingredients that fuel a disruptive idea and lay grounds for a successful entrepreneurial journey. Having said that, it takes a lot more to keep a business model sustainable in the 21st century.

Celebrating the spirit of entrepreneurship and acknowledging those successful business models amongst the odds already stacked up against them, BW Businessworld is back with the 4th edition of the Young Entrepreneur Summit and Awards 2017. The long and much-awaited awards will be held in Delhi where BW along with Grant Thornton and a high power jury will recognise the winners of the burgeoning startup ecosystem.

India has the third highest count of start-ups in the world, with an average of a 1000 start-ups seeing the light of day every year. However, there are only a few that are able to replicate the success year-on-year with a long-term vision. The jury comprising of the finest minds in the sector came together to evaluate and identify the best of them all.

The jury chaired by Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman, Hero Enterprise included Karan Mohla, Executive Director, IDG Ventures India; Bipin Preet Singh, Founder & CEO, Mobikwik; JPS Chawala, ICAS, Principal Chief Controller of Accounts, Central Board of Excise and Customs, Ministry of Finance; Roshini Sanah Jaiswal, Promoter and Chief Restructuring Officer, Jagatjit Industries; Sudhakar Rao, Director, Branding, ICFAI; Peesh Chopra, Managing Partner, Peesh Venture Capital and Mahendra Swarup, Founder, Venture Gurukool.

In a day long meet, the candidates shortlisted after initial rounds of vetting by Grand Thornton, presented their business models in a 10 minutes presentation to the grand jury with the latter following up with a round of question answers to understand and evaluate the business.  It was indeed a stellar task to review all the 32 startups by the jury. Post the presentations, the jury went into detailed discussion on the merits of all the companies.

“The idea here is to identify start-ups where the founders are driven by passion for their chosen field, the ones who have a differentiated offering, ability to execute their plans and most important able to adapt to the changes as the market disrupts from time to time,” said Munjal. Apart from leadership qualities, Munjal deliberated that the entrepreneur must be able to not just forsee pitfalls, but also willing to take chances, risk and adapt quickly.

A great cohort of entrepreneurs walked into the room ranging from healthcare sector, co-work spaces, B2B commerce, data intelligence, travel, ayurveda, and others. What impressed the jury the most was the energy, enthusiasm and passion the entrepreneurs exuberated. It also provided evidence of the maturating stance of Indian entrepreneurship and the potential to build large companies in sectors other than ecommerce.

“Being an entrepreneur myself for the last 8 years, I was fascinated by the energy brought by these start-ups,” said Singh, who judged the candidates by evaluating their value system solidarity, clarity of revenue model and others.

In a very interesting brainstorming session, the jury raised some important questions regarding the uniqueness of the product that the companies offer which cannot be disrupted by a cheaper revenue model as the price sensitivity holds an important base criteria for a business model.

There are global companies that have similar offering that some of the start-ups have built in India. Therefore, the jury questioned the unique differentiator of such companies for them to be not disrupted, in case those global companies venture into the Indian market. A shining example of that was travel portals or co-work spaces.

For Rao, taking ownership and risk undertaking in terms of alliances, investment, customer acquisitions were the main judgment criteria. This must also be coupled with the profile of the people the founder has hired, not restricted to the top management but the people who run the business. In short, if the rainmakers profile is good, then it becomes easier for the business to become long lasting.

A similar sentiment was echoed by Mohla who deliberated that the entrepreneur must be surrounded by domain experts, bringing expertise, not catered to by the entrepreneur alone.

He further added, “A well rounded team, a non linear business model and technology that allow scaling to happen in a cost effective way are major criteria for judgement. Also, we are looking for business that is difficult to disrupt with large scale innovation models around them which could later become attractive assets for accquisations.”

Building the business with long-term vision is vital. This does not pertain to mere profitability, but also creation of strategic value.

The jury was impressed with the growing innovations and disruptions that the startups were looking at, to keep their models afloat and profitable.

The term profitability might not be in every start-ups books, but the smartness of reaching the break-even in a sustainable fashion is what impressed the jury. While some companies spoke about their expansion plans, Jaiswal was quick to evaluate the technicalities and challenges regarding the same, for companies to not be shooting in the dark.




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