A Short Guide to the Endless Entrepreneurial Journey

Date:   Wednesday , March 23, 2016

Headquartered in Gurgaon, 1mg.com is a healthcare technology platform that enables the users to compare pharmaceutical products and medicines of different brands, but having the same chemical composition.

What are some of the major startup challenges currently prevailing globally?

Globally, we have seen a great phase for startups with a lot of acceptance and growth being clearly seen. The opportunity is immense, costs of starting up are very low, large markets are accessible to all & technology has made talent & tools also accessible to everyone. This has led to its own challenges - scaling up in an intensely competitive environment, with competition coming from all parts of the world, establishing and maintaining leadership are tougher than ever. Also, the valuations are much higher than public markets, and while that is not a bad thing, the fact is that this would lead to many faster cycles of bubble and correction. A challenge is to ensure discipline and invest when capital is available and tighten the belt when capital is scarce. Disciplined focus is critical for entrepreneurs to succeed over the long term. We are seeing too many overnight heroes, followed by overnight massacres. Being resolute and steady is critical.

How can these challenges be overcome?

Focusing on the basics, building business based on first principles and not getting over excited by the sentiment will definitely be helpful in tackling these challenges. Also, very important to build the business for solving a core problem - trying to build a business to raise money is not going to sustain. Entrepreneurs should also be very careful in choosing the right investor/ partner. It will be a rocky ride and you want partners who you can trust to be by your side for the long term, through thick and thin.

What are some of the crucial elements startup entrepreneurs neglect or are unaware of? How can they be enlightened with the same?

I think many first time entrepreneurs do lose sight of their core value add, and try to modify behavior based on sentiment around them. There is a huge rush to push valuation up, often forgetting the need to build value. Entrepreneurs must be acutely aware of the fact that they will be the last ones to make money - and their venture must make sense in the long run. They have to give returns to investors before their turn comes to monetize, and that would happen only when they create something of value first. Another thing to watch out for is the Terms - too many people get enamored with valuation and end up signing on onerous terms. It is important that entrepreneurs be aware of what the terms mean and focus on the right intent rather than the headline valuation. What every entrepreneur needs is some advisor or friend with whom they can discuss very critical issues - finding that friend/mentor is very hard and important. Most useful mentors are former entrepreneurs who have been through it and are keen to support you

What technology trends do you see emerging in the coming days that will interest you and why?

Fundamental shifts in technology are happening. Hardware and software are going to interplay in much more interesting ways, whether it is called Internet of Things or Artificial Intelligence. Data proliferation is high, and data analysis and actionable insights will cause a level of personalization in every field way more than ever before. I am particularly excited about healthcare, we are going to disrupt an industry that has been sleeping for centuries - and will be massively overhauled in a very short span starting now. The drivers are Data, and Mobile Devices while the levers are personalization, pattern recognition and targeted intervention. We will see existing models broken down completely. Why should a patient be allowed to get sick? Why should a sick patient need to go to the hospital and not the other way? Why should we build capital infrastructure and be limited by physical access? Why should the next treatment be based on; data interpretation seven pattern recognition capacity of a doctor in your neighbourhood and not the collective wisdom of all knowledge across the world. We are going to answer and re-imagine this sector in many fundamental ways.