Stanford Alumni Thriving Within India’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Bangalore: The India market is well-positioned to support an accelerated cycle of growth among startups and entrepreneurs, according to panelists taking part in a discussion on ‘Ins and outs of developing business models and entrepreneurial ventures in India’, held at The Hive in Bangalore.
The panel discussion, moderated by Professor Haim Mendelson, The Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Professor of Electronic Business and Commerce, and Management, Stanford Graduate School of Business, brought together some of Stanford University’s brightest India alumni. Dr. Mendelson started off the panel discussion by posing questions to participants on the key issues that inspired them to become entrepreneurs and what their startups focused on.
The driving force for becoming an entrepreneur among the panelists, who represented a range of industry sectors from food-tech to fintech, was a shared view about their interest in identifying a problem they often experienced in a market sector and building out solutions to resolve these pain points. Although the journey now seems less difficult, the panelists had each undergone their fair share of struggles to convince the market on the merits of their products. To get to where they are now, the group stressed the importance of conducting research, personal and professional networking, and the ability to adapt and innovate based on market demands.
Other key takeaways of the panel discussion revolved around how startups could acquire customers (addressing the ‘chicken and egg’ problem) and the need to have a favorable startup ecosystem for entrepreneurs to ideate, launch and innovate.
A common thread that panelists emphasized was that their Stanford education gave them the vision, confidence, and the ability to develop a personal network that are essential characteristics for aspiring business leaders to be successful. Each panelist shared compelling stories of the highs and lows that have come to define the entrepreneurial and intrepreneurial experience.
Professor Mendelson, speaking on the potential of the market said “India has reached a tipping point on the technology front and it is now enjoys the encouragement of government. It’s no wonder U.S. companies from Uber to Amazon, as well as more traditional companies, are gearing up for a major transformational cycle here. This burgeoning ecosystem creates many new opportunities for entrepreneurs”.
The featured panelists represented successful entrepreneurs from diverse sectors: Kishore Acharya, Stanford Ignite – Bangalore ’15, Co-Founder and Director, sCoolMeal Food Ventures Pvt Ltd; Lokesh Bevara, Stanford Ignite – Bangalore ’13, Co-Founder and CEO, SendThruMe; Chaitra Chidanand, Stanford MBA ’07 Co-Founder and President, Simpl; Rajoshi Ghosh, Stanford Ignite – Bangalore ’14, CEO and Founder, Hasura; Madhu Konety, Stanford Sloan/MSx ’06 Founder and CEO, IceCream Labs Inc.
The panel discussion was organized at the backdrop of the ongoing Stanford Ignite-Bangalore, a nine-week, part-time program, designed for aspiring entrepreneurs, innovators and intrepreneurs. Currently in its fifth year in India, the program attracts aspirants from diverse industries, including science, technology, engineering, finance, and law. The program, which runs from January – March 2017, is taught by Stanford professors who teach at the school’s world-renowned MBA program.
More than 1,800 participants have completed the Stanford Ignite program worldwide. In aggregate, they have started more than 100 successful companies since the program was first introduced at Stanford University in 2006.