Lateral Sparks, the weekly quiz from YourStory, tests your domain knowledge, business acumen, and lateral thinking skills (see the previous edition here). In this 65th 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 350 titles on creativity and entrepreneurship, and our weekend PhotoSparks section on creativity in the arts.
Q1: The lending opportunity
Traditional lending platforms rely on assessments based on credit bureau and banking transaction data. These may work well in many contexts, but can be hard to scale or roll out rapidly. What’s a good tech-driven solution here?
Q2: Better marketing
Marketers are always looking for better ways to generate effective content, engage with customers, and customise updates for target audiences. How can technology help here, and what are some tools that have emerged in this context?
Q3: Climate change
The looming threat of climate change calls for more reliance on renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and tides. How can sustainable energy be brought into the mobility sector, and how can this be financially supported?
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Q4: Fear of failure
Slogans like ‘Fail fast and fail early’ are easier said than done. Having tactical backup plans is one way of dealing with failure. But the key lies in the mindset – what is a good attitude to have to be able to frame, understand, and cope with failure?
Q5: Is the customer always right?
Much has been said about finding product-market fit through customer journey mapping, empathy, and addressing needs and aspirations. The focus on the ‘voice of the customer’ is key here. But the customer is not always right – how should innovators approach them in this case?
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: The lending opportunity
“To create a process for digitally underwriting subprime customers, I experimented with many ideas like self-psychometrics, machine learning algorithms, and gamification,” explains Sameer Aggarwal, Founder, RevFin.
The startup provides drivers with financing products for different types of electric vehicles (two-wheelers, three-wheelers, fleets), and has already financed over 10,000 EVs in 14 states in India. Read more here about how consumer underwriting and product risks can be overcome with digital identity verification and loan disbursal.
A2: Better marketing
“In digital marketing, Machine Learning caters to the company’s smooth marketing execution in a lot of ways by combining data sources, automating tasks, and by predicting campaign outcomes,” explains Arif Kazi, Founder, Dust Value Media Agency.
“With the help of Artificial Intelligence, generating content automatically, automating chatbot conversations, and customizing news feeds can be simplified,” he adds. Read more about digital tools for marketing here.
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A3: Climate change
“Electric mobility is the panacea for the sustainable transportation needs, there is an urgent need for consistent investments in the sector,” explains Ankit Kedia, Founder, Capital-A. “In order to do so, various services need strengthening; one such service is battery swapping,” adds Ashvin Chadha, Managing Partner, Anicut Capital.
Both firms have invested in EV startup Chargeup. “The vehicle emissions will keep increasing; the only way to reduce and stop that is to have an EV fleet,” affirms Punit Goyal, Co-founder of BluSmart, a startup that leases, owns, and operates EVs.
A4: Fear of failure
“Accepting that one doesn’t know everything, and need not either, is a good beginning to learn from mistakes and failures,” explains Karthik Srinivasan, a marketing and branding expert, who spoke at the DesignUp 2022 conference.
“Being open to being wrong about things is another dimension of that humility,” he adds. Read more here for success tips from this communication consultant, as well trends in the creative industries.
A5: Is the customer always right?
“Listening intently to the customers may often be self-limiting, if not outrightly self-defeating. You must know which customer to listen to, especially if you hear conflicting demands,” cautions Pavan Soni, author of Design Your Thinking.
“Essentially, you listen to your customer intently when you are dealing with existing business models and sustaining (read ‘incrementally better’) technologies,” he adds. Read here about how launching disruptive innovation calls for listening to your internal voice, and not just to current customers.
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).