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Web Summit,2015 - why it’s a must attend for startups

Every business is getting disrupted by high speed Internet connectivity, smart mobile devices at low price points and availabilityof digital infrastructure & computing power on demand (CLOUD). This is amplified by the great demographic condition exist today (1st time in the world millennial are more than baby boomers).

As we enter the age of customer, entrepreneurs are building business around key issues of connecting people, building infrastructure, delivering product & services faster, better, smarter and cheaper.

This year's web summit-2015 gave an insight to how businesses are evolving in Digital economy. The topic of discussion varied from IoT enabling smart city and homes and retail industry, User Experience beyond UI, VR & AR transforming education & training etc to AI and robots enabling advisory and customer service, FinTech 2.0 driving future of banking, compliance in Drone technology etc.

It was also very refreshing to see many VC, angel investors sharing insights on their criteria for investment & Start-up mentors creating a platform for advice.

Here are the key takeaways from the summit:-

How to prepare for scale from startup

It is also important to realize that the Industrial manufacturing process can be very different from what was designed in the lab. So, be agile in thinking but industrialized in execution and worst case scenario be ready to switch business models.

Don’t suffer from a syndrome of "I can do it all", build a great team varied in experience for success.

Company culture & vision is key as startups scale. Its important to communicate and live a shared goal. Don’t be a gossipmonger, be Open and direct. Choose your identity, roles, team rituals and projects to feel proud of what you doing.

Entry barrier to business is reduced through crowd funding. Money is available on demand at every stages starting from working prototypes to high volume production. The advice to entrepreneurs is to use Kick starter funding Incrementally than big bang. Raise fund for prototype, then local business and then for industrialization and expansion.

It take huge effort to do successful PR and Campaigns before the launch and also post sales customer services. So, don’t ignore Sales, marketing and customer services while scaling. Most of the startups ignore those and learn from mistakes. Sometimes it pays off to take a step back and summarize your strategy in a page.

Be prudent in cost, quality and schedule managements. Working capital and inventory are things as business you need to manage properly. Its needless to say VC's don’t like too much cost overrun.

Have the right board members to connect at the director and Cxo Level. Keep regulators informed abt your product roadmap to avoid surprises.

Preparing for IPO is tricky. Venture backed company will have an exit either through sell off or IPO. Its best to go public quickly for investment heavy businesses to raise cash. Before IPO keep your balance sheet and structure clean. Make sure customer is happy and referencing by banks is positive. Make sure to find great people who have done it before & pick us investment bank based on trust. Ensure predictability in your quaterly performance to avoid post IPO meltdown. During the roadshow even if its oversubscribe pls make sure the right people are buying before you are satisfied. Post IPO continue to tell your story to investors, sometimes Post IPO investments are more. Focus on stock price with employee & tie them with the outcome delivered to stay focused on stock. Stockowners will be your owners, so communicate with them openly and transparently. Finally, employees are your assets, make sure to bring them and family into the bell ringing event. It has a far reaching impact which money cant measure.

Startups that caught my attention

  • Connecterra - IoT solution improve productivity of cow to produce more milk. It addresses the 1.3 billion cows productivity improvement market. Cloud based business model & pricing is based on insight as a service.
  • Bizimply- It is a cloud based Online scheduling and attendance that works for for hrly paid employee. It addresses the untapped segment of 300 Mil hourly paid employment market.
  • Bugwolf - Find more software bugs with less time and people. Saas platform which gamifying the testing experience. It addressed the 300 B Usd /year software bug market.
  • Justpark - On demand car parking space. It’s a Uber in car-Parking.
  • Hyperloop - revolution in transportation by creating high speed tubes to transform people between two places.
  • Optoro- Manager return goods across retailers and build an efficient supply chain to connect resellers.
  • Airhelp - Helps your compensate for delayed flights.
  • Typeform - A great form generation survey monkey.
  • SLACK - an alternate to email.

FinTech 2.0 - it's coming faster than you thought

The recent disruption around banking fundamentally addresses 4 basic areas. i.e. Value Transfer (Transferwise, Square, Stripe etc), Value Form & exchange (Bitcoin, Gaelcoin along with value tokens like mobile minutes, Exchange of value being redesigned by internet), Value Management (RoboAdvising with Nutmeg, betterment, Wealthfront etc), Credit risk (better rate, lower margin in credit market - p2p lending, crowd funding, trade finance, mortgage etc)

Lot of disruption is happening in SME lending space post financial crisis for example Kabbagehead teaming up with Santander in UK with shared capital, Alternate Customer profiling, Credit score (machine learning based algorithm).

Mobile wallet is an area of big disruption. With only 10% of the 25 trillion ecommerce market is digital and in that 10% only 1% is done through wallet.

In future world might see a universal currency and money will be cryptographic, central banks will issue digital money, money will be Tractable and smart. 

It was also surprising to see large banks like Santander talked abt fintech of things. Collaboration with fintech will be a norm for large banks in future.  Banks needs to participate in e2e experience and be simple to use, personal and fair interactions. 

Ux/UI - Best UX has no UI

WORLD is realizing that Screen based user experience becoming very cumbersome. Next generation user experience will be driven from back pocket (without having to open your device).

VR & AR for the masses

Line between Digital and physical world is blurring. Apart from obvious gaming use cases, Training and education and field works use cases are becoming popular. Also, its important to realize VR and AR could solved some of the challenges around not everyone can have everything (I.e. need based challenges human society faces).

AI - Next generation customer service

Next generation workforce will have Machine and man working together. AI capabilities (Virtual agent like Ipsoft's Amelia etc) coupled with advancement in robot engineering (relay robot for California hotels, maboo the robot app for medical assistance, Oshbot robot retail assistant in the store) will reimagine the workforce of future.

IoT -Solving the problem at the bottom of the pyramid

Popular usecases like smart homes, smart cities & smart retail experience dominated the discussion. But, the usecases like improving productivity of crops and animals for food also started to surface. This segment going to be the most disrupted in coming years.

Next year the web summit will be in Lisbon, so, see you all there for next iteration of startup economy.

Note: This is my personal view and not the view of the organisation I work for.


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Abhishek Chatterjee

Abhishek Chatterjee

Managing Partner

Gartner Inc.

Member since

16 Dec 2014



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This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Innovation in Financial Services

A discussion of trends in innovation management within financial institutions, and the key processes, technology and cultural shifts driving innovation.

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