Polycom and IvyCamp Encourage Startups to 'Start Small, Think Big'

Polycom co-founder Jeff Rodman shares insights on how he built a $2 billion company with a 95-cent investment

Polycom Inc., the global leader in unified communication and collaboration and IvyCamp, India’s first alumni driven online marketplace for innovation and entrepreneurship, engaged with the founders of over 35 startups at a joint event held in Bangalore.

The event, 'Start Small, Think Big', was held to mark the visit of Jeffrey Rodman, Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist of Polycom to India and was hosted by Vikram Gupta, Founder & Managing Partner, IvyCap Ventures. The event was attended by eminent start up leaders that included K Ganesh, Serial Entrepreneur, Partner - GrowthStory and Chairman - Portea Medical and Priya Mohan, Co-Founder & Director, Vidhyartha.

Driven by factors such as network proliferation and a government with a powerful digital agenda, India has rapidly progressed to become the third largest technology startup hub[1] . Technology is expected to be one of the biggest drivers of growth for the Indian economy, boosted by transformative government initiatives such as Digital India[2] and Startup India[3].

In his address, Mr. Rodman spoke about how established and aspiring entrepreneurs could thrive in a challenging and competitive market, by narrowing focus in concept to stand out from the competition. He pointed out that to leapfrog success for startups, key considerations in development and design should always address the end-user and customer experience. “There are big advantages in starting small and simple – in fact, Polycom's biggest breakthrough happened as a result of a 95-cent book which taught us about “acoustic suspension”. This tiny investment helped conceptualise and build the revolutionary Polycom conference phones which are now used in millions of meeting rooms today.”

Ensuring longevity of startups

Despite being home to over 4,500 startups, the current landscape poses numerous challenges such as lack of mentorship, business uncertainty and increased competition. Factors such as unrealistic valuations and growth targets coupled with uncontrolled hiring targets further add to these challenges.

Mr. Rodman underpinned the necessity for strong collaboration with experts and larger companies in ensuring longevity of startups. “Although there is a wonderful spirit of enterprise and entrepreneurial passion among the millennial generation, there is huge risk attached to startups largely due to lack of market, product, and financial awareness. To keep ideas and business concepts alive, startups should harness the power of collaboration for knowledge transfer and expertise.”

Vikram Gupta added "It’s no secret that entrepreneurs with specific qualities are mostly poised for success; these qualities being hardworking, focused and dedicated, the ability to take risks, seek mentorship and leverage support. Today, with startups being under tremendous pressure to perform, the need of the hour is also an iterative approach to growth that can mean the difference between boom and bust.”

Mr. Gupta also led a panel discussion on the topic in which industry leaders discussed the importance for Indian startups to ‘start small but dream big’. The panel encouraged entrepreneurs to not just focus on something radically new, but on solving a core need or problem for the market, thus creating a culture of iterative improvement.

The joint event was a Polycom and IvyCamp effort to foster the entrepreneurial culture in India.

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