The Economic Times presents the Delhi-NCR edition of the ground-breaking ET Soonicorns Summit 2023, a venture aimed at delving into the uncharted territories of India's thriving startup landscape. Themed 'Resilience. Reset. Results,' this summit unites visionaries, entrepreneurs, and decision-makers in the tech-startup realm to foster impactful dialogues, forge crucial connections, and ignite collaborative efforts.
The Delhi-NCR edition of the ET Soonicorns Summit 2023 featured an esteemed lineup of speakers, including influential leaders, visionary entrepreneurs, and industry stakeholders, who will illuminate growth opportunities and challenges in the evolving economy, empowering entrepreneurs to navigate transformations and build forward-thinking businesses.
With the theme ‘Resilience. Reset. Results,’ the ET Soonicorns Summit 2023 brought together key stakeholders and decision-makers of the Indian tech startup ecosystem to foster conversations, connections, and collaborations.
In the panel discussion titled ‘Road to startup IPOs: Tracking financial and tech preparedness and strategies for success’ and moderated by Manu Toms, Executive Editor, ETPrime, panellists Rahul Taneja, Partner, LightSpeed India; Sumir Verma, Founder, Merisis Advisors; Jasbir S. Juneja, Partner, RedSeer Consulting; Vinay Bansal, Founder and CEO, Inflection Point Ventures; Akhil Gupta, Founder, NoBroker; and, Sudhir Rao, Senior Partner, Celesta Capital convened to discuss IPO-ready business models. According to a RedSeer report, India has about 100 companies that are either profitable or on their path to it. The ones that are on the path to profitability are expected to get there in about five years.
Commenting on whether the VC approach towards early-stage startups has undergone a shift given the shifting narrative towards profitability and sustainable growth, Rahul Taneja, Partner, LightSpeed India, said, “Over the course of the year, while markets move from one format to another, or one phase to another, I would say at the very essence, early-stage investing is a very simple trade which we often end up complicating. The simplest thing we have to look for is if the startup is building in a very large market and has potentially a very differentiated idea…. I think both investors and founders are much more cognizant of where the private capital markets are today and therefore they pace themselves accordingly.”
Delving into the learnings of the past two years, Sumir Verma, Founder, Merisis Advisors, emphasised that the issue is not about whether a company is profitable or not; in fact, it is only an issue because the market wants profitability. However, the market also wants to see growth. “In the early stages, when the company is raising money, all that matters is growth and getting the product market fit…but when it comes to the public markets they prefer a higher positive weightage to profitability,” added Verma.
Vinay Bansal, Founder and CEO, Inflection Point Ventures, agreed to disagree that the public markets’ demand of a higher level of transparency is what’s reinforcing discipline, with companies exhibiting remarkable improvement in financials and profitability.
Offering a slightly different perspective, he stressed that the higher levels of scrutiny have ushered in a shift in the mindset, with founders now striving to move closer to profitability. However, the real essence lies in the operational discipline and understanding, which enables a startup to transition from an early stage to growth stage, according to Bansal.
Seconding Bansal, Akhil Gupta, Founder of NoBroker, emphasised that slow and steady wins the race; companies with a solid foundation are sustainable in the long run. This is what has also defined the playbook of the real estate unicorn right from the start, to establish the company as a trusted brand in the real estate market.
Moderator: Manu P. Toms, Economic Times Prime
Panelists: Rahul Taneja - Lightspeed India, Sumir Verma - Merisis Advisors, Jasbir S. Juneja - Redseer Strategy Consultants, Vinay Bansal - Inflection Point Ventures, Akhil Gupta, Sudhir Rao - Celesta Capital