Bits to billions: Inspiring entrepreneurial journeys

ICAI Dubai Chapter event celebrates Indian unicorns


A Staff Reporter

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From Left: Rajesh Somani, Bikash Prasad and Harikishan Rankawat at the event. — Supplied photo
From Left: Rajesh Somani, Bikash Prasad and Harikishan Rankawat at the event. — Supplied photo

Published: Sun 29 Oct 2023, 3:34 PM

Last updated: Sun 29 Oct 2023, 3:35 PM

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India - Dubai Chapter organised an event to inspire the entrepreneurial journey of those who seek to pursue entrepreneurship. The event was titled “Bits to Billions” at InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City.

Harikishan Rankawat – Chairman of The ICAI Dubai Chapter, addressed the members by taking them through his personal journey of being an entrepreneur from owning a restaurant to trading to auditing to tax consultancy and newly set up venture on real estate broking in the UAE. Rankawat said that while the US has the largest share of unicorn start-ups, countries like China and India have also produced numerous unicorns. He also mentioned that unicorns are not just about massive valuations, but they are also contributing significantly to job creation. These start-ups have hired thousands of employees, further boosting the economy. These start-ups have given rise to a global ecosystem of investors, accelerators, and support services focused on nurturing start-ups. This ecosystem encourages innovation and entrepreneurship. These unicorn start-ups have engaged lot of Indian chartered accountants as well in this ecosystem as mentors for the start-up founders.

The chief guest for the event was Bikash Prasad, president and group CFO of Olam Agri. He said that the role of a chief financial officer had transitioned to a ‘chief value officer’, supporting the emergence of a unicorn’s success. He added that with such a transition, close to 76 per cent of Indian start-ups had attained unicorn status since 2019. With such effective partnership through chief value officers, India was home to the third highest number of unicorns in the world with many attaining such status at the growth stage.

D. Somdutta Singh, a first-gen serial entrepreneur, angel investor, founder and CEO of Assiduus Global Inc, said that businesses that managed to change lives were the ones which continue to be profitable and successful over decades of their existence. Speaking about her journey through entrepreneurship, she said among the various mantras she believes in, the most important was the ability to let go and be detached when the time is right. This is a step towards progress and learning.

The next unicorn speaker for the evening, Vivek Tiwari - founder & CEO Medika Bazaar, addressed the members on how technology has played a tremendous role in transforming healthcare supply chain and distribution. Tiwari said that the healthcare supply chain was as important as the healthcare itself. Medika Bazaar was inspired by this very statement and is a leading healthcare supply chain solutions provider by leveraging cutting edge technology and innovation to make healthcare more affordable and accessible.

To deliberate and have unicorn founders share their experiences, a panel discussion was held with panelist Amit Chaudhary, co-founder of Lenskart and Niraj Singh, founder & CEO of Spinny. The panel discussion was moderated by Nandi Vardhan Mehta, CFO and IC Member, KAAF Investments LLC. The panel discussion was aimed at having an opportunity to hear the success journey of unicorns and the challenges faced and ideas adopted to achieve the unicorn status.

When asked about what makes one believe that an Indian founder can create history internationally, Chaudhary said that founders are not just valuers or fund raisers. The larger group of founders are consumer problem solvers. Consumer needs was the priority which leads to profitable ventures thus creating trust and wealth in what is being built as a founder. Chaudhary also said that he was interested in enabling a solution to a problem rather than dealing with it through donations or philanthropy. He would prefer to contribute by building a company which enables ways to tackle the problem faced. This is what being a founder means to him.

Singh believed that a standard job alone was not good enough to harness his full potential and energy. He believed that to define the ceiling, entrepreneurship was the answer. Though he failed in his first and second ventures, the third was purely purpose-driven and not just financial or career-centric. This brought about his interest in investment in other start-ups. His experience from evaluating and investing in other start-ups helped him to overcome from his past failures. He also went on to state that from one of his travels abroad in 2018, he realised that in order to transform the Indian society, creating wealth at a mass level was the key.

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