At a panel discussion during YourStory’s Investor Summit 2021, experts from the investment, innovation, and startup ecosystem came together to discuss how startups can drive growth using technology and innovation.
Mitesh Jain, Country Manager, Akamai Technologies; Siddharth Mehta, Principal, Shell Ventures; and Karan Mohla, Partner, Chiratae Ventures; explained how startups should engage with enterprises, incubators, and accelerators to maximise growth.
Mitesh said: “Startups should ally with enterprises with the same core business because of the mentorship opportunities and the access to product and tech leaders they can provide.”
“At Akamai, we are increasing the scope of our startup cohorts by looking at innovators in a wide range of sectors including ecommerce, IoT, 5G, and more,” he added.
Expanding the scope of business
The panelists then explained how enterprises can bring global expansion to startups and help them look beyond India. “There’s a big market out there and startups need a GTM and product-market fit in place. Some startups are looking for their first customers, and having Shell as a customer can be a big boost to their growth plans,” Siddharth said.
He went on to describe the three D’s of innovation Shell Ventures is seeing, namely Decarbonisation, Digitisation, and Decentralisation.
“We work with a lot of companies looking to replace diesel generators across sectors with sustainable batteries and even move from Li-ion batteries. The broad idea is to decarbonise the energy mix,” he said, adding:
“This can work at decentralised locations featuring solar panels, EV chargers, and battery swapping stations. And we are seeing increasing digitisation and technology being used to optimise such locations.”
Karan then explained that Chiratae’s startup programme is not only about providing startups with access to capital but also to help them work closely with Chiratae’s investment team and corporate partners.
He added that startup funding at an early stage is a means to enable growth. He said:
“In the early days of a startup, growth is a priority. At some point, startups have to consider whether capital is required to sustain growth. Balancing growth vs profitable growth at a unit level is an important perspective to have.”
As the discussion came to an end, Siddharth urged those applying for startup programmes to bring out their company’s key differential during the application process. “Startups should also communicate why they want to be a part of a particular programme,” he said.