It was a day well spent at the Asian Hardware Battlefield. We pitched at an event in Chennai earlier and got shortlisted to present in the India finale in Delhi and that’s where it all started. Around 400 Applications were received, 200+ were shortlisted to pitch and 15 were selected for the finals and we (Team CyberLiver were one of them).
The day started by us landing on time at 9.30 am, the event was delayed and we just hung around networking with other pitchers.
The panel sessions were very useful and here are a few key learnings to take away from it,
Dr Dr. Gang Lu gave an excellent presentation on China and Startups. Some of the key learnings from this presentation were as follows,
Popular Business Models
A popular business model in China was O2O (Online to Offline). An example of this was Uber where the transaction starts online via an app but the service gets delivered in the form of a drive which is offline. A lot of businesses were looking at this models growing popularity.
Small players are not to be ignored and must be taken seriously, there are a lot of examples where small players have acquired larger players, some examples to note were Haier acquiring GE’s consumer business and ninebot acquiring Segaway.
We Chat which is a popular instant messaging platform as we think is apparently insanely popular in China. Their platform based model allows people to pay credit card bills to what not and their goal is to be with users from when they wake up to when they sleep. Looks like whats app has a long way to go!
What Hardware Startups must keep in mind to succeed?
80% of the worlds hardware is manufactured in Shenzhen. The key success for any hardware startup is to be present in the right environment. It is all about having the right eco system around your startup.
By eco system we refer to the most common services that are required for startups to iterate quickly and decide if they want to proceed in a direction. Shenzhen houses several such incubators / accelerators such as Hax.
Long story short, There is no point in starting a hardware startup on the banks of Dal lake when all the action is happening near Gurgaon.
Some great insights were shared by other panel members on this topic relating to India. The founders from Grey Orange who run the entire back end warehouse management for companies like Flipkart mentioned about their experience in growing their hardware startups and the importance of them being present in Gurgaon as opposed to the center of New Delhi.
One of the key design challenges to watch and apply for in India is the Qualcomm Design Challenge in Bangalore for hardware startups.
One of the other important aspects that was shared was that Hardware startups are valued more when there are more experienced people onboard. Because unlike software startups mistakes can be expensive in Hardware. A software bug can be fixed with a quick patch but a hardware bug would have a serious implication and may require a re-call which could be a more expensive affair.
When questioned about advise for scaling hardware startups, the advise was “Try not to get too big too soon, get it right for one market and then scale”.