CVCF 2023: Expert Insights on the Future of Startups and Tomorrow’s Market Trends

CVCF 2023: Expert Insights on the Future of Startups

CVCF 2023 speakers Mr. Rohit Talwar and Dr. Melissa Foo weigh in on turning challenges into opportunities in the fast-evolving world of startups.

In the rapidly evolving world of startups and venture capitalism, every move and decision can have game-changing impacts. Recent years have seen unparalleled challenges facing startups—the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, digitization and the rise of AI and automation, to name a few. Yet, with challenge comes unique opportunity and revolutionary innovation. 

As we look forward to a new horizon of opportunities and navigate the knotty maze of market trends, the Cyberport Venture Capital Forum 2023 emerges as the guiding light for innovators and investors alike. At its helm are eminent voices, including Mr. Rohit Talwar, Global Futurist and CEO of Fast Future, and Dr. Melissa Foo, Head of Sunway iLabs Ventures. Their insights offer a roadmap for startups to pivot challenges into remarkable opportunities.

The accelerated landscape: Opportunities and challenges for contemporary startups 

For Mr. Talwar, the present-day startup scene is characterized by rapid advancements, particularly with technologies like AI dramatically shortening the development timeline. However, with accelerated growth comes an influx of competition, necessitating startups to strategize swiftly and efficiently. As he aptly puts it, “We have to make sure we have a radar looking out to see which emerging developments might create challenges or opportunities for us.” Keeping abreast of market shifts, competitor offerings, tech advancements and regulatory updates is paramount. He emphasizes that, given today’s fast-paced tech evolution, proactive strategies are vital for market entry and customer acquisition. 

Dr. Foo echoes these sentiments but sheds light on the changing venture capital landscape. Post-2021’s over-capitalization, driven by post-pandemic recovery and low-interest rates, there was a noticeable VC funding dip in 2022-23, and startups have had to recalibrate. Yet, the horizon isn’t bleak. There’s an expansive realm of opportunities, especially with AI innovations and the growing emphasis on sustainability. 

“Existing organizations are open to adopting AI to increase the value of their current products or services, reduce costs or increase revenue from their core business and create new businesses and/or sources of revenue,” elaborates Dr. Foo. “In sustainable investments, there is still a lot of room for startups to innovate and improve existing solutions in renewable energy, climate technologies, precision farming for food security, pollution and waste management and the circular economy.” 

Crafting the blueprint for success 

So, how do startups ensure they’re on the winning side of the equation? For Mr. Talwar, the answer lies in holistic growth. Startups need to focus not only on technology but also on honing leadership, fostering collaboration and promoting continuous learning. “Ultimately the difference between winners and losers in the new venture space is always about the key dimensions of managing our people, working effectively with the marketplace and having the right ecosystem of partners and advisors,” he shares. 

An advisory board is invaluable, he asserts. “This is not just about helping to raise funds but also about how to get into the markets that we want to serve and scale.” When seeking advisors, founders must critically consider the kind of advisors they bring on board: Who can introduce us to pivotal networks? Who can guide our financial trajectory? Who can help foster our team’s growth and prosperity?

Dr. Foo brings to the table another vital component of the success blueprint: integrating sustainability into the business. Highlighting a BCG study, she emphasizes that a significant part of our carbon emission problems will be tackled by innovations yet to be mainstream. According to her, substantial investments in novel and early-stage technologies are paramount to meet global net-zero targets and counteract the adverse effects of climate change.

Furthermore, not only does a sustainable approach carve a niche for startups in a saturated market, but it also augments their societal impact. She says, “The market potential for sustainable solutions is large…sustainable practices can also be a differentiator for your startup in a competitive market and can show why your startup matters.”

Advice for budding entrepreneurs seeking funding 

Venturing into entrepreneurship is an exhilarating yet challenging expedition. Dr. Foo and Mr. Talwar, pillars of the startup world, offer sage advice: 

1. Back to basics with Dr. Foo 

While an innovative product or service is essential, its market acceptance is equally crucial when seeking funding. Before making any huge leaps, startups should have a clear, adaptable, durable and forward-looking development plan. “Get the basics right,” emphasizes Dr. Foo, as it’s these foundational elements that make the difference between fleeting and sustainable success.

2. Cultivate relationships 

Both Dr. Foo and Mr. Talwar agree that building early and genuine relationships with potential investors and introducers can set the stage for future collaborations. These engagements foster trust and ensure that both entrepreneurs and investors share an aligned vision and objectives. 

3. Navigate the funding terrain

In a fluctuating funding environment, Dr. Foo advises entrepreneurs to think strategically. Consider smaller, milestone-based funding rounds, diversify funding sources—from revenue and grants to debt and strategic partnerships—and be prepared for potential delays in securing funds.

4. Crafting success with Mr. Talwar

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted. With the overwhelming majority of startups not making the cut, it’s essential to be conscious of the competitive landscape. “For every Amazon or Uber, there are over 10,000 ventures in those market spaces that failed,” Mr. Talwar cautions. It’s not about fearing these odds but understanding them to strategize effectively and put in place the right internal capabilities and external relationships, ensuring that the conditions for future success are in place. 

Grab your golden opportunity at CVCF 2023

With such profound insights already unveiled, the Cyberport Venture Capital Forum 2023 promises a treasure trove of knowledge and networking opportunities for participants. It offers the ideal platform for individuals who are about to embark on their entrepreneurial path or are seeking that extra push. 

And here’s the cherry on top: As a nod to the power and potential of startups, we are offering a special rate for our Full Access Pass. For just HK$300, you get a comprehensive entry into the world of startup innovation. Use the promo code: jumpstart23 and register now to seize the future today!

Registration link: https://bit.ly/46FmGvh 

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Header Image Courtesy of Cyberport Venture Capital Forum

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