‘Silicon Valley firms resemble Redwood trees, Indian companies are Banyans’

Having a great relationship with customers, building a quality team and not diverting from the company's core business are some of the ingredients to build successful global companies, according to the top Silicon Valley and Indian entrepreneurs.

Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur and venture capitalist Vinod Dham, also known as the father of the Pentium chip, said that he had built a new chip at one of his ventures Silicon Spice that could support Voice Over the Internet Protocol.

It was actually his customer Cisco Systems which not only became a strategic investor in Silicon Spice but also helped him to sell the venture to American fabless semiconductor company Broadcom for $1.2 billion (Rs8,139 crore).

“Early stage customer is a great teacher. It is very powerful to make the right product,” said Mr.Dham at the Startup India event. Varsha Rao, head of global operations at AirBnB, an online service which allows people to rent out rooms in their homes said they not only focused on building the product but also got close to their community in order to grow organically. “You rather have hundred customers that like you than millions of them (that may not like you),” said Ms. Rao.

Venktesh Shukla, president of entrepreneur network TiE in the Silicon Valley was of the view that global companies have discipline to refuse to do other things which are not core of the company. However in India, companies try to do everything.

“Silicon Valley companies tend to be like Redwood Trees which are lean and long. Companies here in India are like Banyan trees,” said Mr.Shukla.

He also said that startups in Israel have been successful, because they do not have a domestic market which is a blessing in disguise, because they start to think globally from day one.

Having a quality team is also very important to succeed and innovate. And it is not economics that keeps people together but the culture.

“I never felt economic incentive can retain people, as long as you make them feel the same level of passion, you will not loose them,” said Kunal Bahl, chief executive of online retailer Snapdeal that competes with rivals like Flipkart and Amazon.

However, one of the biggest challenges in the country is the availability of skilled manpower and having not enough infrastructure compared to other Western countries, said Bhavish Aggarwal, chief executive and cofounder of home-grown taxi aggregator, Ola Cabs that competes with Uber. He said Ola has thousands of drivers on its platform and he want to have millions of them to create new jobs.

“It helps you scale up faster. We need to impart them right skills,” said Mr.Aggarwal.

Dilip Chabria, cofounder at Bengaluru-based Team Indus, a startup which is developing a robot that can safely land on the surface of the Moon, said that his team had no background in aerospace. But their motto 'aspire, believe and create' helped them win against all the odds and build credibility. Team Indus is the only Indian firm able to participate in Google Lunar XPrize competition. It has to launch a robot that can land on the surface of the moon, travel over the lunar surface, and send images and data back.

“Make sure you have a dream and ensure you follow it,” said Mr.Chabria.

One of the biggest challenges in the country is the availability of

skilled manpower