The TiE Global Summit kick-started today at Taj Palace hotel, New Delhi. This summit, in corporation with leading agencies of the Government of India, 20+ TiE chapters from India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and Dubai, and global venture capital funds happens to be one of the largest conferences for entrepreneurs anywhere in the world.
The day commenced with the inaugural keynote by ride-hailing app, Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, along with Deep Kalra, Founder and Group CEO of MakeMyTrip.com.
It was 40 minutes of insightful thoughts on entrepreneurship, obstacles and laughter. The idea of Uber was germinated on one cold evening in Paris – there has been ups and downs, but today the company is worth billions – courtesy – Travis’ sheer determination to solve the unsolvable problems.
According to Travis, “The core of Uber lies in the fact that one citizen is giving a ride to another.” He proves how one simple idea can impact lives of so many people around the world. It was only yesterday that Uber launched self-driven cars in San Francisco. When a young entrepreneur from the crowd asked him, “When would you launch self-driven cars in Delhi?” Travis jokingly said, “It will take a lot of determination and inculcation of artificial intelligence to make this happen on Delhi roads.”
Travis is a computer engineer by degree. Prior to launching Uber, he co-founded Scour Inc. and the peer-to-peer file sharing company, Red Swoosh. He has seen hardships in scaling up ideas and he has seen his companies shutting shop, but he never gave up. “We watched our company get sold at a bankruptcy court. For the first four years of my second startup, I didn’t pay myself, and I moved back with my parents. You have to like the hard stuff when you are an entrepreneur. You have to prove that you can get through to it. There will be times when your friends and family will stop believing in your dreams; but you cannot afford to give up your dreams,” said Travis.
When a startup founder from the crowd asked Travis, what should he do if he is facing serious cash-crunch, and as a result he is unable to pay his employees, Travis answered, “Get some cash my friend. Stretch as much as you can, but in the end if you cannot pay your team, they will not stick around. Many-a-times I have been asked, when should one move on (shut their business), and I always say, do it when you are literally staring at the prospect of doing some serious emotional or physical damage to yourself. That is the time to stop.”
Having said that, Travis is all about optimism. His sense of humor was infectious. He is a die-hard fan of Candy Crush, and is currently hooked on to Planet vs. Zombies.
On questioning about his plans to move to India, Travis jokingly said, “If I am looking for an Indian citizenship, I better love Hindi weddings. Hindi weddings are so customer-centric; the bride and the groom do the hard work while others get to make merry.”
The session concluded with several photographs of Travis from his childhood days.