A torrential downpour of ideas and insights in winter – that could be one way to define my experience at the NASSCOM Product Conclave 2016 held at Bengaluru recently. There were parallel summits on design, sales & marketing, product management, finance technology, deep tech, etc. Obviously, it was impossible to participate in all events and gather insights from eminent speakers. I did what was humanly possible in the two days to collect thoughts and ponder about them later!
To begin with, there is good news for product designers – NASSCOM as the premium association of information technology has taken up the gauntlet to build capacity for product design in India by creating a large recognized community of design professionals. Ravi Gururaj stated the NASSCOM Product Council has partnered with Facebook to ensure that a proper ecosystem is created for nurturing design startups. In this endeavor, a Design4India forum has been established to bring together product design enthusiasts.
Here are some insightful snippets from the NASSCOM Product Conclave 2016 –
Find Needy Niche for Effective Lead Generation
NPC’s Sales & Marketing Summit had a panel discussion on “Effective Lead Generation with optimal costing for customer acquisition”, where Ankush Garg from Pentaur Technology, Garima Rai and Sesha Rao from InsideView Technologies posed interesting questions to ponder –
Have you identified your Needy Niche among your target audience? You need to do that since the old ‘spray & pray’ method of marketing doesn’t work in a cluttered marketplace. So if this particular target segment is the most likely one to buy your product, then have you defined an ideal customer profile?
To identify this Needy Niche target customer, you need to segment your market on geographic, demographic, psychographic, firmographic and situational characteristics. For example, if you have a mobile app for tax filing, then your ideal customer profile could look like this – well-educated professional, working in non-financial services industry, residing in a metro city, having an annual income of INR500,000+, is married and has children, and too busy working schedule to file tax returns.
Insights to Storm the Norm
At the Design Summit, Ranjan Malik and Anisha Motwani from Storm the Norm Ventures presented a session on design & customer experience loaded with insights. According to Ranjan, insights happen at an intersection where diverse fields collide. For example, a fish in a pond will not know the outside world or the outsider’s perspective of its own pond, unless it gets out. But being an amphibious animal a frog can get out of water and see the world outside and return.
Similarly, most ideas that have disrupted a traditional business model have not come from an insider. Sony didn’t invent MP3 music files, Coke didn’t think of energy drinks, Kodak neglected the digital photo revolution, and banks missed micro-credit. An outsider like Mohammed Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist created the micro-credit revolution through his social enterprise Grameen and won the Nobel Peace Prize for it! He realized that women are conscientious in financial issues and will follow good banking practices despite their poverty.
I met with Satyanarayana from the Karnataka Startup Cell, an initiative by the Government of Karnataka Biotechnology & Information Technology Services. It is nice to see some government initiative to further boost the startup culture that is already in place in Bengaluru. Being a pioneer in funding the growth of IT industry through its KITVEN fund, the state government now provides financial support worth INR300 crore in the form of grant/equity through its various funds to startups. Recently, eight Bengaluru-based startups with innovative ideas in the tourism sector won the Hackathon on the World Tourism Day, capturing funds worth up to INR4,000,000 each. Now, applications are invited from startups for the ‘Young Entrepreneurs Start-ups in Soaring Spirits’ forum at the BengaluruITE.biz 2016 trade expo.
Y Combinator startups
There is an enormous market buzz about ‘Y Combinator’ a Silicon Valley-based accelerator program that has produced and supported multiple billion-dollar unicorn startups. There was a panel discussion of leading startup founders who are supported by Y Combinator in India. Harshil Mathur from Razorpay said you don’t need to be a unicorn or a cockroach company to survive and get funding. You need to clarify about your unique business model in the simplest manner without trying to impress. Vidit Aatrey from Meesho stated Y Combinator does both mentoring and funding startups through its large alumni network and even can promote products among large enterprises through its connections.
Y Combinator organizes a Demo Day where a vast number of startups are allowed to present their business plans to 400 odd venture capitalists. Vidit Aatrey felt that startups should not try to pretend to go global, when there is no case. For example, Vidit’s Meesho is a hyper-local website that helps local businesses sell more effectively on social media. Similarly, Cleartax is an income tax filing website that helps people to file their returns easily. There can’t be a simpler one-line explanation than that!