Vijay Shekhar Sharma (Image: Amit Verma)
“I never expected India and Bharat coming together so soon,” says Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO, Paytm. Sharma was speaking at the last session of Day 1, at the Nasscom India leadership Forum in Mumbai. The session, titled ‘Aiming beyond the horizon’, had four entrepreneurs on the panel talking about how technology will help reshape our world.
Sharma said that demonetisation was clearly the inflection point for the company, with the company seeing large-scale adoption by people and in places he never expected.
While Sharma’s business decisions have paid off, Srikanth Velamakanni, co-founder and group chief executive and executive vice-chairman at Fractal Analytics says that most human beings are terrible at taking decisions. “We have cognitive biases, we are bad at basic math and probability and thus need help,” he says. That’s where his company steps in. Through its products – Qure.ai which provides deep learning technology to help diagnose disease and recommend personalised treatment plans and Cuddle, an artificial intelligence based personal analyst – Fractal Analytics is aiming for a day when 95 percent decisions are taken based on data and analytics, and just 5 percent will be based on personal experiences.
The third panelist, Amit Jain, president and CEO, Prysm, Inc, adds that with data and analytics also comes collaboration. “10x of digital content is created every five years. Collaboration therefore becomes necessary to process all this content seamlessly. One needs to access multiple programs at the same time and Prysm solves this need,” he says. Essentially, Prysm is a visual collaboration cloud where teams across the globe can create, share and innovate. It is device agnostic. “Serial versus simultaneous use of programs is the key for millennials today,” he adds.
Moving to the fourth panelist – Rahul Narayan, the moderator, Ravi Gururaj, Chair, Nasscom Product Council and CEO, QikPod, says, “Just today, ISRO sent 104 satellites in one go, breaking Russia's record. How soon do you see your robot landing on the moon?”
Rahul Narayan, fleet commander, Team Indus – Axiom Research Labs Pvt Ltd is a part of the only Indian team in the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. They are building a privately funded Spacecraft capable of soft landing on the Moon by 2017. “We made wrong assumptions about the budget and the time required at the start. But we are nearing completion. We have had no revenues for the past six years. But what worked for us is the fact that the core team was clear about the roadmap,” says Narayan.
Narayan adds that it is essential to keep away from ‘pivoting’. “As a start-up entrepreneur, evolution is ripe. You can’t keep your head dug into the sand. But one needs to understand that you can’t re-engineer everything from the start. Reimagine instead of reengineering,” he says with a smile.
Sharma adds that from his interaction with Jack Ma (founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, which is an investor in Paytm), he has learnt that one shouldn’t be shy of entering new categories. “Aggressively entering new categories and building them is what I learnt from Chinese companies,” says Sharma.
The panel concluded on the note that today, India is a market for the world to come.