Lateral Sparks, the weekly quiz from YourStory, tests your domain knowledge, business acumen, and lateral thinking skills (see the previous edition here). In this 51st edition of the quiz, we present issues tackled by real-life entrepreneurs in their startup journeys.
What would you do if you were in their shoes? At the end of the quiz, you will find out what the entrepreneurs and innovators themselves actually did. Would you do things differently?
Q1: Tech challenges
The fast-moving tech industry offers numerous opportunities for established firms as well as entrepreneurs. Version control, tech migration, and ensuring cybersecurity are challenges the industry faces. What’s another key challenge, and how can it be addressed?
Q2: Conversations and beyond
Smartphones have emerged as a leading platform for online conversations. A number of approaches have matured for making such conversations more engaging, and extending them beyond mere discussion. What are the new frontiers in this conversational space?
Q3: Buying and selling cars
The domain of buying and selling used cars has a number of challenges at the level of information, quality assurance, and transaction. A digital platform can be deployed here to offer matchmaking services. What other layers and features can improve these processes for buyers and sellers?
Q4: Healthcare solutions
The healthcare sector is ripe for transformation through tech interventions ranging from smart wearables to telemedicine. Access, affordability, and reliability of the products or services are key considerations for healthcare providers. What’s another important success factor here?
Q5: Startups and scale
Product-market fit is an important early step for a startup to find traction and then scale. Many entrepreneurs believe they should first target rapid growth, before stabilising and finding healthy margins. What should founders really focus on while scaling–growth or profitability?
Congratulations on having come this far! But there’s more to come–answers to these five questions (below), as well as links to articles with more details on the entrepreneurs’ solutions. Happy reading, happy learning – and happy creating!
A1: Tech challenges
“The biggest challenge in the IT/ technology industry today is attracting and onboarding quality talent on time,” observes Rajesh Bharatiya, Managing Director, Peoplefy. The Pune-based company is a quality-driven recruitment services provider to MNCs and large Indian firms.
“We have a very strong talent research team of subject matter experts. Through in-depth research, we have a good idea of the talent landscape across various skills, locations, and domains,” he adds. Read more here about the company’s tech professional offerings at the level of directors, VPs, GMs, and mid-level managers, spurred by the digital acceleration during the pandemic.
A2: Conversations and beyond
“When people spend most of their time at home, they spend more time on smartphones and therefore more time on conversations, because there is a lack of physical conversation,” explains Ankit Prasad, Co-founder, Bobble AI.
The company’s Indic keyboard lets users personalise conversations with AI-based recommendations of GIFs and emojis. The next step is conversational commerce, an extension of social commerce. Read more here about the company’s thesis that a lot of intents get generated during online conversations.
A3: Buying and selling cars
“Most people struggle to find the right car. Even if they do, it is hard for them to ascertain if the car is of good quality,” explains Vikram Chopra, Co-founder and CEO of Cars24, an e-commerce platform for pre-owned cars.
The platform aims to offer better experiences to both buyers and sellers. “We aim to create not just satisfaction — but delight — in the process,” he adds. Cars chosen online can be delivered to the home, and taken on test drives for seven days before final purchase. Read more here about how digital platforms can enable marketplace opportunities in underserved domains.
A4: Healthcare solutions
“Healthcare requires you to find ways to cooperate with the rest of the ecosystem. You cannot do it in isolation,” affirms Meena Ganesh, Co-founder, Portea Medical. The Bengaluru-based healthtech startup employs over 4,000 people. It conducts than 150,000 home visits every month in 40+ Indian cities.
It ties up with hospitals and doctors, working in cooperation with them rather than competing with them. Read more here about its wide range of services and equipment for chronic disease management, elder care, and post-operative care.
A5: Startups and scale
“I believe in focusing on both growth and profitability at the same time. If you have got the right model and the right basic unit economics, you can focus on both and the rest falls into place,” explains former Infosys head Nandan Nilekani.
He addressed the Startup Summit 2022 along with a range of industry veterans. “Sustainable growth and profit need to go hand in hand,” affirms Harsh Mariwala, Chairperson of Marico. Read more here on how founders need to focus on growth without loss of business profits.
YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).