Ram Shriram (Shaerpalo Ventures profile) was in Bangalore for a day. He packed in 2 events at /7’s new campus on Outer Ring Road. At the first event title In Conversation with Ram Shriram – Managing Partner, Sherpalo Ventures organised by iSpirt, he answered queries from scores of entrepreneurs. He wants more higher education institutions to come up, as it is tougher to get into IIT’s than Stanford. He cautioned against copy-cat mentality and app being the core of business, rather than actual revenue-based offering. You may get more details on Techinasia post – When the big daddy of startup investing Ram Shriram talks, you just listen!.I was in the next event – Coffee with Ram Shriram. It was a more intimate setting. First, we were subjected to the mandatory and brief introduction about the company, its value proposition and strengths from a business guy named Brooks (who joined them post their Microsoft Tellme acquisition) and another head of technology. They talked about how /7’s omni-channel approach for retails, backed by big data and prediction to provide a personalised and intuitive experience to the customers. We got a great demo of personalised experience based on web activity and intent. It showed how call center agents will be replaced by voice agents, leading the a lot of self-service by customers. They are coming up with exciting products in partnership with Facebook and Microsoft. If you want to know more about their work with Facebook Messenger, tune in to Facebook Messenger – The Most Disruptive Customer Support Channel Ever? on Dec 3. AS of Dec 23, you can hail Uber using Facebook Messenger in US. Nags, co-founder of /7 introduced Ram. Ram’s monologue was brief, where he touched upon technology evolution and future opportunities. This was followed by an interesting Q&A round. Responding to an audience question about he cherry-picks his angel investments like he did with Google he said – When he put in money, it was just 2 guys with a dream. He made sure that the dream was not short-lived looking at perseverance and talent of founders in addition to the market and incumbents. he used the same criteria, when he invested in /7. He provided clarity on /7’s strategy and projections. /7’s web, chat and voice offerings are disrupting the BPO business of incumbents, like Convergys as well as pure-product offerings, like Genesys, Oracle CRM etc. He also mentioned that they are starting to integrate with COTS (Commercial Off-the shelf) solutions like Dynamics CRM, etc soon for customers like Capital One. Varadh from /7 then shared a thing or 2 about company culture, how they are applying the principles of delightful customer experience to an employee-friendly policies. He stopped short of asking us to check out the careers page of /7’s Innovation Labs (direct link on Jobvite). We then continued the Q&A to the terrace with a great view of 10th floor.
Neelkanth Mishra, a classmate of mine from DPS Bokaro and IIT, Kanpur opines on India’s rural growth story, provides some recipe for betterment as well in an Indian Express article – Rethinking Rural.
Rural roads, cellphones and electrification lead to better
productivity, phone penetration, electricity usage and vehicle ownership
He currently serves as India Equity Strategist for Credit Suisse. I have seen him being quoted in newspapers, TV channels many times earlier, but a great full article.