Arka Venture Labs: The Guiding Light for Indian B2b Startups

Radhesh Kanumury, Managing Director, Arka Venture LabsVC funding plays a very important role in the journey of a startup. In the US according to a 2015 joint study done by Stanford University and the University of British Columbia, 42 per cent of all the IPOs since 1974 were Venture backed firms. This signifies the importance of VCs in driving innovation and contributing towards a robust economy. VCs can help startup in the following ways:

a) Providing capital to invest in Product development, R&D, customer acquisition, expansion into new geographies.
b) VCs can act as a sounding board whenever there is a need for advice on crucial decisions. c) Connecting them to the network of VCs who could be Subject matter experts, Investors, Corporates.
c) Connecting them to the network of VCs who could be Subject matter experts, Investors, Corporates.

Role of VC in Economic Growth
In a study done by the Kauffman foundation in 2010, US startups mostly venture backed were responsible for most of the net jobs created in US since 1977. The number signifies the scope of VC backed startups can contribute towards nation building in India as well. According to me, there will be more number of funds opening in India, in the future, which is good for the ecosystem. Many of these funds will have their own differentiators, which could be focus on a specific industry, specific area of technology, experience the VCs bring to the table, the market focus etc.

Shortcomings in the Existing Investing Model

The country's start up ecosystem is in need for more research orientation. Radhesh believes that there is lot of scope for
Indian startups especially in technology space to come with innovations that are driven by patents. There is also scope for startups with a new set of solutions in the middleware space or in cloud and network infrastructure. Only a few B2B startups in the country focuses on global reach in the start which is a big opportunity as these B2B startups can leverage the arbitrage of low cost of developing products in India and then sell it to clients in US and Europe, where the markets are bigger and deeper and also the margins are much higher than India. The probability of a B2B startup getting bigger valuations is higher in the US and lastly the chances of getting acquired are more in the developed markets.

Opportunities Awaiting in the Segment
Radhesh sees a strong opportunities for B2B startups using AI and ML to disrupt the existing industries such as Retail, Healthcare, Legal, BPO, Supply chain and Insurance. For instance, insurance startups are now looking at doing away with manual assessment by assessing damage and estimate claim value based on photos/videos of a car; in healthcare, AI is being used to analyse chest X-rays and blood samples; retailers can see which part of the stores are most visited by applying AI on the camera feeds. There is also great development in Robotics which extensively use AI and ML for solving specific use cases in supply chains, retail, hospitality, concierge.

We should also see solutions in industries like supply chain, manufacturing, healthcare, real estate, and BFSI leveraging the use of IoT, Blockchain and AR/VR to increase efficiencies of businesses, transform business processes and therefore give a new customer experience.

Prior to starting Arka Venture Labs, Radhesh was a Venture Advisor to Blume Ventures, focusing on early stage B2B Startups investments. Entrepreneur Program, for IBM India and South Asia where he exhibited strong leadership in steering the Startup initiative of IBM from scratch to one of the companies to be reckoned by the Startup ecosystem in companies to be reckoned by the Startup ecosystem in India and generating strong revenues for IBM India Cloud business. He has also helped many B2B startups scale in their journey by mentoring them, facilitating access to funds and customers.Radhesh conceptualized and successfully executed IBM India's Startup challenge called `IBM India Smartcamp. 'He has also worked with Large Enterprises in assisting them to identify the next generation innovations through joint Hackathons and Startup challenges. Prior to this role in IBM, he was working as a Software Architect where he was designing Software solutions for Enterprise Clients, ISVs and System Integrators wherein he created many first of its kind solutions and led several key sales wins for IBM.Possessing strong skills in building strategic relationships with partner organizations, Radhesh is a self driven professional ready to take up challenges.