In the technology industry, we love to have large events which bring together the excitement of innovation, business and customer success. Lavelle Networks turns 4 this year, and it was time to begin our annual show. It was exciting. Actually no, it was exhilarating. Customers, Partners, Investors and our amazing team came together to create NDS, our trademark annual celebration. I’ll explain NDS at the end.
Meanwhile, here is the transcript of my keynote at our company’s first ever NDS. I told the audience a tale of two stories. One story was about a fascinating country whose time has come. The other story is about a brave, new, exciting company which also is racing towards its destiny.
The country is India. The company is Lavelle Networks. I am sure you will say you know both very well, what’s new. Well, there are facts about both which are new, cool, and worth celebrating.
First, about India. Did you know?
- We will be a 10 Trillion Dollar economy by 2030. That puts us in the Top 5 economies in the world.
- Take a look at the projected growth rates for the large world economies – US (2.5%), China (5.3%), EU (1.5%), India (8.5%..!)
- While the US will go from 18 Trillion to 26 Trillion, and China from 11 Trillion to 24 Trillion, India will go from 3 Trillion to 10 Trillion
- In a marked transition from a socialist economy, our subsidy spend is in control, going from 3,01,925 Cr (2014-15) to 3,47,825 Cr (2018), which is an average rate of less than 15%.
- More importantly, it has gone from being 2.4% of our GDP, to 1.8% of our GDP
- Digital banking (Jan Dhan), Digital ID (Aadhar), Networking (Internet & Mobile) means subsidy leakage will be soon a thing of the past
- We produce more Steel, Cement, Two & Four wheelers than most countries in the world.
- We have 1.3 Billion mobile phone subscribers, compared to 200 million in Japan, and 350 million in USA
- We have the strongest agricultural base. We produce nearly every kind of food. We have 46 of the 60 Soil types in the world, and we have all the 15 major climates in the world.
- Our average age by 2020 will be 29 years, compared to China/US 37, and Japan 48
- No story of Digital India is complete without the story of Aadhaar – 65+ Million transactions on Aadhaar every day compared to 12+ Million transactions on much more “touted” Visa or MasterCard networks
- As an emerging economy, with barely 60+ years of freedom from imperialist rule, our problems are hard. But a new generation of technology entrepreneurs are saying it’s possible.
- Startups will lead India into becoming the 10+ Trillion Dollar economy
- We are the 3rd largest startup ecosystem, 26,000+ Startups, 270% growth in 6 years, 130 Bn USD value created already
- The distribution of startups by sector is changing rapidly from just consumer space to almost every space
- 40% of startups are consumer e-commerce, 15% Enterprise technology, 15% Mobile, 7% Education
- Flipkart, Byju’s, Shopclues, Mu Sigma, Inmobi, PayTM, Ola, Oyo, Udaan – All crossed Billions of dollars in valuation.
- Druva, Freshdesk, Tally, Quick heal, Zoho, Capillary, Eka – All strong global enterprise technology growth stories
- Today we have 26 unicorns, 500,000+ people employed (1M+ including Ola, Oyo)
- India is heading to huge digital tsunami. The startup ecosystem is maturing rapidly at a ripe time. We are not at risk of again becoming colonised by data giants. We now can create such technology and stand up to compete against the best. Take a look at the portfolio of our investors – Ideaspring Capital and you will see we are coming for this new world market driven by data.
- In the interest of full disclosure, most of the above I learnt by listening to Shri T.A Mohandas Pai in his speeches at key startup events, including his keynote at “Startup 50” this year.
Now, the second tale. This is about Lavelle, and our 2018 journey.
- Market analysts confirmed that 1 out of every 6 SD-WAN customers in India is connecting using a Lavelle CloudPort, and logging onto a Lavelle CloudStation.
- We grew 3x in customer acquisition, and existing customers expanded on an average 200% YonY
- A stellar NPS score across all customers. Each of our customers is reference able, and we have zero churn from 2016.
- In summer, we were actually the world’s most searched SDN company on SDxCentral, ahead of even a bewildered AT&T.
- We were proud to become one of India’s first ever technology companies to feature in all inaugural market quadrant reports, including Gartner 2018
- One of the world’s largest e-commerce companies, was thrilled to see that we handled their annual blow out sales traffic not for one, but for two straight years in a row.
- We became an investment portfolio of KAAJ Ventures (legendary Internet entrepreneur B.V Jagadeesh), an achievement several others would kill for.
- One cold winter morning, I received text messages from leading analysts, about a Chinese networking firm going IPO and how we should strive for that. Wow, what an honour that people put so much faith in us.
In closing, i recalled a quote from Steve Jobs, someone we all admire so much for making the tech industry so very cool.
“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it. the system is that there is no system. That doesn’t mean we don’t have process. Apple is a very disciplined company, and we have great processes. But that’s not what it’s about. Process makes you more efficient.
But innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realised something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.
And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”
Ok, and finally what is NDS? And why the name.
In India, we lead with our hearts first. Dil Se. Dil To Pagal Hai. Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. Dilwale. Most of us have grown up seeing Rahul & Raj become Raeez and Badshaah. Go, SRK..!
And that’s how Lavelle has built itself so far. All our customers are connected deeply to us, and at every place we won their heart first because of our deep commitment to their challenges, before winning with our technology. So we wanted a name which is very Indian, very us. NDS stands for Networking Dil Se. Translated in English, it points to the fact that computer network’s biggest contribution is actually social. All of us are connected instantly to each other through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp because we have a working Internet. Networking connects us deeply.
There were many great moments on this day; we leave you with the ones which touched our hearts the most – The fireside chat with the customer, the interaction with our partners and the start-up chat with industry stalwarts. That’s NDS 2019 for you – A Tale of Two Stories. I am looking forward to NDS 2020 already.