Chennai: Addressing over 1000 entrepreneurs on the fourth day of TiECON Chennai 2020, Maya Hari, Vice-President & Managing Director – Twitter APAC shared her views on the impact of the pandemic on global business and the opportunities that lay ahead for the entrepreneurial community worldwide. Engaging in a deep, insightful fire-side chat with Dharti Desai, Owner, FineVinesnMore & Vice Chair – TiE Women, Maya further spoke about how the pandemic has presented itself as an opportunity for new-age entrepreneurs and leaders to solve real-world problems by leveraging technology.
The fourth day of TiECON Chennai 2020 virtual conference had a series of power-packed sessions addressing key areas of business and its challenges for the benefit of budding entrepreneurs. Keeping in line with this, the fire-side chat between Maya Hari and Dharti Desai on the theme Leadership Trends For the Next Decade: What problems will future entrepreneurs solve? steered into many interesting paths covering a spectrum of topics in connection with the evolving global entrepreneurial ecosystem.
In her conversation, Maya Hari, Twitter APAC said “Every time there has been a major crisis in the world, it has been the reason why people find problems to solve and entrepreneurs, being the best of the breed, are always looking for the real need. I see this crisis as setting up the next decade of change, innovation and problems that people will solve in meaningful ways that adds back to the entrepreneurial community.If I really look at the trends of the future, the problems to be solved are enormous. But what is interesting is, as we think of entrepreneurs and leaders, that each one of these problems also creates unintended consequences that also have to be solved. If you are thinking about digitizing health, you also need to think about ways to protect data and build trust on the back of that. If you are thinking about automation, you need to be able re-skill and reeducate people. These are the exciting opportunities for entrepreneurs and at the same time these are the problems leaders would certainly have to tackle on a daily basis in the future.”
Sharing her forecast on what the future holds for businesses, leaders and entrepreneurs globally, Maya Hari said “Technification of the world is happening and I see three trends that start to lay out over the next decade. First, digitization of the world and in India it has already started. For e-commerce, in the last five years, it has been amazing to see the growth. Beyond the obvious areas, there are so many areas lined up to be solved for like HR tech, people analytics, accounting and even a very important sector like health. Traditionally, it has been hard to take the notion of health and move it entirely to digital. Look at what is happening now with the start of people embracing tele-health and telemedicine. The second trend I’m worried and excited about at the same time is feeding the world. One of the things that has become very clear is, when every country started to say I’m going to secure food supplies for my own citizens, supply chains got disrupted. Suddenly the conversation around the world has changed to we, as a whole world, don’t produce enough food to feed our population. I really see the next decade to be all about solving to feed the world. Whether that is using technology in agriculture or food tech, there are plenty of exciting problems waiting to be solved. The third thing is automation of the world. Admittedly there is a fair amount of automation when it comes to manufacturing. Robotics and autonomous vehicles will really change the world we live in and also technology will change the world of hospitality; things that we have barely scratched the surface.”
Speaking on the rise of purpose-driven entrepreneurship in the new world, Maya Hari in her discussion further spoke about the fundamental changes that COVID-19 has brought into the ecosystem. She further added that, contrary to how entrepreneurs have been classified traditionally, the future is going to be a combination of leaders and innovators with a nose for business opportunity and purpose. She also spoke about the future of leadership in a post-COVID era, stating that transparency and people centricity will be an integral part of future leadership styles.
Covering a spectrum of topics, Maya and Dharti conversed about how COVID-19 has given entrepreneurs an opportunity to increase cross-border connections that has helped strengthen operations. They also discussed about the various emerging entrepreneurs that are using this time as an opportunity to take their businesses global.
Discussing further on the future of women entrepreneurs and their challenges, Maya Hari concluded by saying, “I have seen incredible women entrepreneurs, not just in Chennai but around the world. When they really commit to building solutions [and] building companies, they do incredibly well. I often feel that women stop before they take that plunge and question themselves, stop themselves. I really think we need more women entrepreneurs. Funding is tough for women. One, women have a tough time asking for money and backing it up with the confidence that they so deserve to have. Second, not enough investors are seeking out women. On the flip side, I see this as an opportunity for women to mainstream VCs. As much as we talk about diversity and gender parity in technology companies, I feel gender parity in the VC space will accelerate a change we desire to see with women entrepreneurs. That’s a big wish for me.”
Following this session, the conference also hosted a panel discussion on New Age of Consumerism and Mass Customization by Kamesh Goyal, Chairman – Digit Insurance; and Sujay S, Co-founder & CEO, Zwende. The panel was moderated by Vishesh Rajaram, Managing Partner, Speciale Invest. The day’s conference came to a conclusion with a fire-side chat on SaaS in Asia by Dev Khare, Partner, Lightspeed India Ventures and Priya Rajan, Managing Director, Silicon Valley Bank.