TiE Hosts Panel Discussion for Stalwarts of Indian Online Industry

IndiaMART.com founder and CEO, Dinesh Agarwal, Smile Interactive’s Chief Mentor, Mahendra Swarup, Contest2Win founder, Alok Kejriwal and Info Edge Ltd MD & CEO, Mr Sanjeev Bikhchandani – all stalwarts in their field, recently came together on to a common platform – an event organized by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) hosted at the India Habitat Center on 30th January in New Delhi.

The event was attended by a majority of aspiring entrepreneurs, start-up enthusiasts and venture capitalists. Speaking on ‘Surviving and Winning in a Downturn’, a panel discussion, an optimistic Dinesh Agarwal said, “The online business is about serving your customers well, at the right price, and despite all break down. And when the markets are facing mayhem, you must choose to pounce on latent opportunities by realigning your approach and rethinking your strategies.”

Using his vast experience over the past decade, Sanjeev Bikhchandani – known for his famous portal Naukri.com said, “One should assume that there will be no funding and then decide to go ahead with their start-up. Rather than focusing on dream projects, it’s imperative to emphasize on returns in the next quarter or within the current year. If your project does not guarantee returns so early, then one needs to realign the marketing and distribution strategies.”

Hosted by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), the event brought together leaders who have seen the resurgence of the Internet after the dotcom burst and emerged winners; and promising entrepreneurs who believe in the commercial potential of the Internet. Answering a question as to whether a business should opt for online, offline or hybrid model, Mr Agarwal said that it depends entirely upon the type of business model in practice and the strategies in effect at that particular time, considering prevailing market scenario.

Fielding a question as to the right time to start a new venture, an optimistic Mahendra Swarup said that if he could afford to start a company, he would do it now, in the downturn, as it is the best time to go ahead with any new kind of start up.

Dinesh Agarwal added, “Sun Tzu writes in his book The Art of War, ‘when in peace, be at war’. It’s true; recession is really the time when you can gather all the ammunition you will need once things improve”. The technocrat started IndiaMART.com in 1996, survived the dotcom burst in 2001, and is today running India’s largest online B2B marketplace.

Also brought to the table were case studies of companies that stayed afloat during the burst, and what was learnt from their experiences.

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