N. Shridhar on Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem @ Tie chapter Midwest
Chicago on 15th September 2016
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank the Consul General and Tie Chapter Midwest, & Bala Palamadai for giving this opportunity to share my thoughts on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Innovation and experimentation used to be a frowned word essentially because of “resistance to change” – today it is the most important thing a business can do to stay. Today it is the most important buzz word for tech businesses, whose leaders are keeping their ears attached to the ground in order to seek out new ideas, from start-ups & incubators or other left-field channels, listening for whispers which may disrupt their industry.
In a world of rapid technological advancements, where every human being is expected to be connected to the internet within the next decade, and global population is expected to touch 10 billion by 2050, the urge to innovate – and not be left behind- has never been stronger.
I believe that having the agility to evolve, as well as collective learning and collaboration, are the best ways to achieve these goals. Working with start-ups who are typically on the cusp of how to create value from technology, puts you at the heart of what’s the latest in tech innovation.
Eric Ries’s the Lean Start-up is the gospel in the tech start-up world. It suggests that companies should set very simple goals, but with short time periods, and build on top. You should fail fast and move on, and launch fast and get your product out in the market in order to be competitive. If it is a success, you can take data from customers and markets and develop the product, by adding new feature, much like app do with software updates.
Now in the context of emerging economies, India put itself on the world map by becoming a technology hub in 20th century, but the play in the 21st century is much bigger and larger, and more exciting!
India has this unique opportunity to now transform itself from a technology capital into an innovation and entrepreneurship capital of the world, and for this India has its human capital and the demographic bonanza to thank! UN estimates that by 2020, 45 % of India’s 1 billion population will be below the age of 25. Wow. This nexus of forces created by – untapped knowledge capital resident in the young aspiring minds coupled with improved availability of internet connectivity and technology strength- provides the catalyst required to fan the flames of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
The one thing we Indians know fully well from the recently concluded Olympic Performance, it’s not just raw talent, but the raw talent has to be channelized, nurtured and honed through Institutional support (from coaches, mentors, organizations (capital) to turn this raw talent into a unique differentiated strength for the world to see.
The same is true for businesses as well… To nurture the entrepreneurial spirit and to help entrepreneurs build sustainable & scalable business models, we need an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem: - thus was born the idea of Pegasus and what Pegasus aims to be.
While I will get to the charter and mission, but this is how my idea for Pegasus got shaped. We all have our phases in life: - education, work, money and then returning back to society before retiring. While working as a Director with Coca Cola in India, I used to visit number of villages as we had a program called “Chaufulla” an enacting of skit for the benefit of villagers on a moving truck. During one of my visit, I made a donation to build toilets to improve the sanitation needs for women and young kids. It was meant to be free, no charge for usage. Went back fulfilling my altruistic need of giving and slept off peacefully for that day having done my bit. But after a couple of years, I found it was in shambles. I got an NGO and a Contractor and rebuild it and made the patrons pay a meager sum of Rs.3 /- and 5/ for the use of the facility >> Voila “it worked” So I learnt the easiest thing to do is to write a check but doesn’t serve anybody till we get the desired outcome. The other thing was “Nothing given free is valued” … I was yearning to make a Societal impact.
Having helped a number of organizations to grow their net worth and I will admit in the process making the rich Richer, I decided to focus on helping the aspiring, young Indians to create a value enterprise.
At Pegasus, we believe in nurturing innovation through curating, mentoring and providing the capital for socially responsible endeavors (making direct & indirect social benefits while generating an adequate financial returns). WE provide Strategy, business acceleration, mentoring and advisory services and work actively every step of the way alongside with our investee company in line with our philosophy of “Make it Happen” for the entrepreneurs. Pegasus India Evolving Opportunities Fund, is SEBI approved Category VC of 150 + green shoe of 150 crores. ($ 50 million), The fund focuses on Socially Responsible Investments in
· Financial Inclusion (example of KSFI)
· Education (example of Sun Kids)
· HealthCare (Way to Health & Samskrut)
Lastly what I have learnt over years leading and managing large organizations, the best way to create the future you aspire for is by simply creating it.
I hope the ecosystem helps young India to capture and make inroads into its next frontier – that of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Give your ideas the wings it needs to take off on a flight “Think Pegasus”