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Don't try to conquer the world as Indian customers think differently: Sabeer Bhatia to Indian entrepreneurs

Bhatia said Indian startups have a cost efficiency economics while US startups are focused on what saves them time

Hotmail founder and investor Sabeer Bhatia

Hotmail founder and investor Sabeer Bhatia (flie photo). 

New Delhi: Indian entrepreneurs should not try to conquer the whole world because they have cracked a cost-efficiency-based business model for Indian customers which is different from the way the rest of the world thinks, according to Hotmail founder and investor Sabeer Bhatia.

Bhatia was in the city for the launch of a free online Artificial Intelligence (AI) and inquiry-based course in entrepreneurship on his short-form app Show Reel, in collaboration with Jamia Millia Islamia. "It all comes down to learning how to walk before you can run. Simply said…don't try to conquer the whole world because you've conquered India… the way people in India think is different from the way the rest of the world thinks," Bhatia told PTI on the sidelines of the collaboration announcement.

Bhatia said Indian startups have a cost efficiency economics while US startups are focused on what saves them time. He stood by his former statement that Indian startups are copying western business models. "A lot of the startups here are copying western business models and I don't think it's even right for India because western business models are … because (of) a shortage of human capital there. There is no shortage of human capital in India.".

He cited the delivery model, which Bhatia said was present even decades back when people could get groceries delivered at home with a phone call. He added that he never knew edtech as a sector existed, and "didn't know what BYJU'S is solving". Announcing the funding for 1,00,000 entrepreneurs through Show Reel's collaboration with universities like JMI, the move is seen as a pivot towards entrepreneurial learning. Bhatia agrees that the video resume pitch of the Silicon Valley-based platform launched in 2021 was an "HR nightmare" while refuting any comparisons with other Indian short-form apps like Moj and Josh.

"Surely it was never about competing with TikTok or Moj or those are all entertainment apps. From the very beginning, we wanted to do something that was in the professional space." "So yes, initially it was for recording video resumes of people. But in that market, I found that people did not record resumes on their own because they wanted to see some light at the end of the tunnel. So, I tried to contact some companies and see if we could put the jobs on our platform and that became an HR nightmare. So then, from there, I transitioned over to entrepreneurship," Bhatia said.

Speaking on a Shark Tank-like concept, "Dolphin tank …is a concept in my head, but we are working towards creating a competitor to Shark Tank. Refusing to disclose financial details, he said, "In the next three months, we will come out with … details of how that show will help teach entrepreneurs…to create businesses of their own in an online show. On generative technologies, Bhatia said it is going to change every aspect of human life.

"Only because imagine you have an assistant who has the knowledge of the internet at all times with you, (but) it doesn't have critical thinking skills," he said, added that the train for AI has left the station, and one can choose to either "jump on the bandwagon or...stay on the sidelines. On the launch of the course on the app, Jamia Millia Islamia Vice Chancellor Najma Akhtar said, "Sabeer Bhatia has led India's tech revolution, and we are proud to partner with ShowReel and work with him to create a revolution in the education industry."

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