The best time to startup is now – Karthik Padmanabhan

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Shorthand notes from Karthik’s visit to 91springboard Gurgaon on 9th June’15 for a Chat with IBM.

[91springboard organized a ‘Chat with IBM’. An highly interactive session with Mr.Karthik Padmanabhan, Executive – Cloud Ecosystem & Developers, IBM Asia Pacific. The session focused on the paradigm shift in the cloud ecosystem followed by an introduction to IBM Bluemix and Q&A.]

What are the things that are changing today’s lives?

  • Shared economy, is rapidly taking off with the emergence of shared services such as car-pooling, housing which empowers individuals as well as corporations.

  • Experiential learning, where people are no longer consumers, instead people search to experience and share things on the spot by using social media.

  • Collaborative working, with the boom of open culture and sharing, innovative concepts such as coworking spaces are promoting collaborative working and have also allowed to build strong interactive communities. By accessing a coworking space one doesn’t has to go through the hassle of wasting time and resources and that is revolutionary!

Karthik also mentioned how important it is to fail as “failing early is better than failing later. Keep the frequency high and don’t delay the process. Fail now. Learn. Iterate and stay agile.” Therefore, to stay agile and bounce back is key!

Sharing his personal experience, from 2007 till 2009 he ran a startup in Bangalore which he shut down due to various challenges. In his opinion, this is the best time to be an entrepreneur. There is no need of signing year long office leases, you don’t need to buy and maintain servers anymore and there are no hefty payment just to obtain licenses of softwares.

Opportunities are growing and walls are being broken down with innovation. He’s very optimistic about

  • Machine Learning -> predictions analytics

  • IoT (Internet of Things) -> it’s going to change the way we collect data and the potential use cases of that data are exciting.

  • Mobility -> Shift from web to mobile. We still have a long way to go.

How are you doing your bit to support the startup ecosystem?

Several programs are run by IBM:

What does the Global Entrepreneur program offer?

Provides the resources and support required to build an enterprise solution and grow a business.

“In addition of the credits offered and exchanged, it is important to think beyond cloud credits and think of differentiators such as enterprise access, POC’s (proof of concept), pitch to the venture capitalist and angel community. There will be office hours and technology mentoring workshops where people from IBM would assist the startups”.

Given your exposure in Asia Pacific, what are the upcoming startup hubs?

“The booming startup hubs are Vietnam, Thailand, Jakarta (Indonesia), (Kuala Lumpur) Malaysia and Manila (Philippines). But I’ll keep Bangalore on top as there is a hacking culture like nowhere else. Delhi too has a big Husting culture.

I’m really excited about India as this country has real problems to solve. For instance Singapore has not much space for innovation as the problems are much lesser. All the needs are answered which does not allow a startup to evolve. On the other hand it is an ideal place to meet angel investors, expand your network and run the startup”.


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