Lateral Sparks, the weekly quiz from YourStory, tests your domain knowledge, business acumen, and lateral thinking skills (see the previous edition here). In this 75th edition of the quiz, we present issues tackled by real-life entrepreneurs in their startup journeys.
What would you do if you were in their shoes? At the end of the quiz, you will find out what the entrepreneurs and innovators themselves actually did. Would you do things differently?
Check out YourStory’s Book Review section as well, with takeaways from over 355 titles on creativity and entrepreneurship, and our weekend PhotoSparks section on creativity in the arts.
Q1: Tools for writing
In an increasingly digital age, the art of handwriting seems to be on the decline. There is perhaps not much innovation in the world of pens and pencils either. But one company has discovered new flavours in the pen market. What kind of opportunity do you sniff here?
Q2: Work from home
The pandemic has accelerated awareness and adoption of remote work practices, particularly work from home (WFH). This has helped a number of startups launch and scale fast as well. But speed and remote work also bring in a new set of data and device challenges. How can these be tackled?
Q3: Demographic opportunity
A lot of media attention understandably focuses on the youth dividend, and how their affinity for digital media opens up new market opportunities. But there’s another demographic segment that is often overlooked here. Which is this group, and what opportunities can be tapped?
Q4: Social and economic development
Government and the private sector play a key role in the socio-economic development of a country. Academia and the burgeoning social enterprise movement are also important players in this ecosystem. Who else are key drivers of social empowerment, and what are some of their achievements?
Q5: The need to travel
With the pandemic era hopefully behind us, the travel sector is booming – both business and leisure. But not all aspiring travelers can fund their trips up front, or borrow funds on time. How can their needs be met, and what other opportunities lie here?
Congratulations on having come this far! But there’s more to come – answers to these five questions (below), as well as links to articles with more details on the entrepreneurs’ solutions. Happy reading, happy learning – and happy creating!
A1: Tools for writing
Mumbai-based Submarine Pens offers a range of fragrant pens with flavours like Americano, Cappuccino, Mocha, Espresso, Latte, and Macchiato modes. They give writers the experience of coffee bean aromas while writing.
The founder, Shalin Gandhi has been in the pen business for over 25 years. “With metal pens, the demand is less compared to plastic pens, and so the machinery required is not as vast,” he describes. Read more about this unusual pen market here.
A2: Work from home
“With today’s hybrid employees working from anywhere and using multiple devices, security perimeters can be breached accidentally or deliberately. Ensuring the security of an endpoint device becomes very critical, therefore,” affirms Srihari Thogare, Systems Engineer, Dell Technologies.
“Any startup, as a growing business, is the most vulnerable, as it is operating and scaling in a dynamic environment. Its top priority must always be to secure its data and devices,” adds Sudiip Goswami, Director & GM – Global Alliances, Service Providers & Startups – India, Dell Technologies. Read more here about tackling data challenges in scale-stage startups.
A3: Demographic opportunity
“As the senior population grows further, deepening this pool of talent, we expect more opportunities and increasing investor interest in age-tech,” observes Shripati Acharya, Managing Partner, Prime Venture Partners.
The company has invested in WisdomCircle, which helps find jobs for retirees at firms like Tata Hitachi and Mahindra Group. Read more here about India’s 138 million elderly people, for whom startups are offering solutions in geriatric care, elder-friendly products, counselling, and companionship services.
A4: Social and economic development
“Going beyond the boundaries of revenue villages, non-profits are able to penetrate through to smaller hamlets and tribal communities that are often off-the-grid for the government machinery,” observes Zarina Screwvala, Co-founder of the Swades Foundation, which aims at empowering rural India through a holistic development model.
NGOs and NPOs address the needs of underserved communities by facilitating last-mile delivery of programmes in remote parts of the country. Read more here about the activities of Mann Deshi Foundation (financial literacy), Deshpande Foundation (rural entrepreneurship), and BRAC (social development).
A5: The need to travel
An emerging financial model in the travel sector is TNPL (travel now, pay later). Entrepreneurs Akash Dahiya and Abhilasha Negi Dahiya set up SanKash (‘without cash’) in 2018 to offer such TNPL options, and is a one-stop shop for travel merchants’ financing needs.
“Our completely online journey for borrowers, real-time approval and disbursals, no servicing of loans, and API-first approach enables us to leverage our product quickly to launch online partnerships with the likes of IndiGo, Radisson hotels, Cordelia cruises etc,” Dahiya explains. Read more here about startup opportunities in the experience-based travel sector.
YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).
Edited by Akanksha Sarma