In an interaction with BW Disrupt team at BW Disrupt 40 Under 40 event, Sudhakar Rao, Director, Branding & Communications at ICFAI Group shared suggestions for the Indian Startup Ecosystem including qualities a startup founder/team should have to run a business successfully. BW Disrupt did this event in association with ICFAI Group at Nasscom headquarter, Noida.
“ICFAI is very happy to be associated with the Business World Disrupt because disrupt is something which will highlight the issues of start-up ecosystems, the larger issues of entrepreneurial ecosystems. As a business school and as a University and being in the higher educational space, ICFAI would like to land some contributions in terms of our own experience of incubating our students, growing a lot of start-ups, mentoring them, nurturing them and as a part of it, creating a new body of knowledge every time. So, we are very happy to be associated with BW Disrupt and congratulations to all the achievers of 40 under 40”, Sudhakar Rao expresses.
Sudhakar Rao, for the Indian Startup Ecosystem suggests-
“We have a couple of suggestions to the start-ups based on observations we have. Firstly, start-ups generally are busy talking to their VCs than to their customers. I wish that they also speak to their customers also because you need to build your customers base first and that is where you build your organization. Secondly, they are obsessive about the technology. Technology is very important and it is the backbone, but if you are too much obsessed with technology and do not worry about branding then there are examples where many companies have failed. I think they should focus, right from the beginning, on the importance and edge that branding would give to give to a growing organization, especially at a start-up stage. So, for example, housing.com is an example of excessive branding. We don’t want that to happen. At the same time, in the year 2005, an organization by name VSAP.com, which is in the personal finance management space, it focused only on technology and did not measure up. Whereas in 2007, Mint.com focused on branding and creative properties offline as well and they connected with the customer. So, they are now doing extremely well, probably one of the top ones in that space. Whereas, VSAP.com has vanished. We have another very interesting example where the brand has differentiated itself by using online, offline and the non-conventional methods of advertising and they have brought it very well to their commerce space, that is jet.com. So, jet.com is an example of right branding, excessive branding is housing.com, under branding is VSAP.com and the most appropriate branding will be mint.com. So, our suggestion to the startup ecosystem is that focus on branding too, apart from romanticizing the technology. And ICFAI would like to commit itself to building, nurturing, incubating, many more start-ups and together, we should have the largest ecosystem of startups in this country, and create more and more environment, more and more new businesses, and the intellectual capital worth that this country can be proud of.”