Start-ups need to reimagine business post-pandemic: Sequoia Capital India

first_imgStarting or managing a business during the COVID-9 pandemic is a challenging task as many companies, including Indonesian and global start-ups, have been pushed to permanent closure. Several unicorns and decacorns have had to lay off employees to streamline business and survive the pandemic’s impacts. The Jakarta Post’s Eisya A. Eloksari interviewed Sequoia Capital India managing director Rajan Anandan via email on June 22 and discussed ways start-ups can survive the hard times, as well as the future potential in the start-up scene in Indonesia and Southeast Asia post-pandemic. Sequoia Capital India manages start-up acceleration program Surge, which trains several Indonesian early-stage startups.Question: How has the pandemic affected Sequoia Capital India’s investment and accelerator program? Metrics are important if a business has already launched but a lot of seed-stage companies’ focus is entirely on the founding team and the size of the market they are addressing as they may not have user or business metrics at the time Surge partners with them.Founder-market fit is important as we want to know which founding team has the unique ability to win in a particular market. On market size, we try to deeply understand whether the market is big enough to build a very large business.For companies that have already launched, Surge looks for early signs of customer love such as through early user feedback, product reviews and customer retention.Surge is currently looking at companies that are building for a post-COVID world such as in e-commerce and the remote work and collaboration sector. We believe they will be resilient in the near to medium term as they will be positively impacted in the long term due to faster digitization.What kind of start-ups do you project will have higher growth and which ones will be impacted negatively by COVID-19?Ed-tech has been one of the industries that has seen a significant change in growth trajectories across the world. Digital health, e-commerce – especially online grocery, online food delivery and cloud food brands, are all examples of this.Industries that are largely offline, dependent on physical proximity or focused on travel, are all adversely affected – and we are already seeing that happening. International travel, hospitality, offline retail, offline events are not going to be the same again for a long time. Startups in these types of industries will all need to find ways to reimagine their businesses.What is your advice to existing start-ups, as well as to those that plan to commence operations, to survive in times of crisis?Throughout history, some of the best companies have been formed during the toughest times. Existing startups should first focus on ensuring they have enough runway to last into the next year. Then, they will need to reimagine all aspects of their business for a post- COVID world. If they get that right, they will come out of this stronger than ever. I believe innovative, lean, agile startups will be built during the next 12-18 months.If a start-up is in a sector that has been deeply impacted, they will need to consider changing many aspects of their business – be it in the way they sell, marketing spending or where they can find new customers. If the start-up has enough runway, it should even consider completely changing its industry of focus. Founders need to deeply think through how the consumer and buying behavior is likely to change because of COVID-19 and evolve accordingly.For those who are planning to start from scratch, make sure that your product or service is a “must-have”— something that is addressing a real problem and one that can be solved at scale for a large segment of the market.How does Sequoia see the start-up potential in Southeast Asia in the coming years?We are seeing a rising interest in entrepreneurship because of success stories of SEA’s start-ups. The first generation of entrepreneurs from unicorns such as Gojek and Tokopedia have paved the way for a new wave of founders who are willing to take risks and are not afraid to chart their own journeys.A decade ago, Southeast Asia did not have any unicorns; today the ecosystem has evolved tremendously and the region now has more than 10 unicorns, including four from Indonesia. The region has also seen exponential growth over the past few years. Today, there is over $6.5 billion invested in SEA by venture capital firms, six-fold the amount in 2015.How has the start-up scene in Indonesia been the past few years and how is the current scene amid the pandemic?Over the last five years, Indonesia has been one of Southeast Asia’s key centers for start-up activity, in terms of the numbers of new start-ups. We see a lot of potential for start-ups that are technology-first, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly accelerating digital transformation.An example of this can be found in Indonesian start-ups in the Surge 03 cohort, such as cloud kitchen Hangry, the popularity of which has soared during the pandemic, as there has been a shift in customer behavior from dine-in to food delivery. This creates demand not only from young people but also the older segment.The fact that the start-up scene has scaled so tremendously in the last few years alone speaks volumes about the technical and entrepreneurial talent in the country.Topics : Even though our current accelerator program, Surge, is being conducted entirely online, the level of engagement we have seen from Surge start-ups has been incredible to witness.The pandemic has not affected the program’s mission to rapidly scale-up participating companies. Even in the current situation, Surge is still actively seeking mission-driven founders from across the region who are going after a large opportunity in their markets.Surge is committed to investing between US$1 million and $2 million in all technology-enabled start-ups, such as in agriculture technology, direct-to-consumer brands, education technology (ed-tech), e-commerce and telemedicine, among other things.What are some of the key metrics Sequoia will be looking at while evaluating which start-up to invest in during this time?last_img read more

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Brazil’s Bolsonaro tests positive for coronavirus, again

first_imgFollowing the latest positive test result, his third since getting infected, Bolsonaro “indefinitely postponed” upcoming trips to the north-eastern states of Piaui and Bahia, his office told AFP.On Sunday, Bolsonaro greeted supporters at his residence, separated by a reflecting pool about two meters wide.He removed his face mask to talk to them and proudly held up a box of hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug he is taking against the infection.Both Bolsonaro and US President Donald Trump, whom he admires, have touted the medication as a treatment for COVID-19, despite scientific evidence it is ineffective against coronavirus.Bolsonaro’s hydroxychloroquine box-brandishing incident was “deplorable,” said respiratory specialist Margareth Dalcomo, of Brazil’s leading public-health institute, Fiocruz.”This politicization of the drug by the US and Brazilian presidents for murky reasons has no justification, and it deceives people,” she told AFP.”It has been proven this drug has no effect against COVID-19…. And it has potentially serious side-effects.”Brazil is the country hit second-hardest by the pandemic, after the United States. It has recorded nearly 2.2 million infections and more than 80,000 deaths. “A [new coronavirus] test carried out yesterday on the president came back positive.”Bolsonaro, 65, has famously compared the virus to a “little flu” and attacked stay-at-home measures and other guidelines from public-health officials.Until he was infected, he regularly hit the streets of Brasilia without a face mask, exchanging hugs and handshakes with supporters and urging Latin America’s biggest country to get back to work despite its rapidly spreading outbreak.Since testing positive after developing a fever and fatigue, he has been working by video conference from the presidential residence, the Alvorada Palace — a routine he admitted last week he “can’t stand.” Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has again tested positive for the new coronavirus, his office announced Wednesday, saying he would extend his two-week quarantine and suspend upcoming travel plans.The far-right leader, who has faced criticism for downplaying the pandemic and flouting social distancing measures, has been in self-isolation in the presidential palace in Brasilia since first testing positive for the virus on July 7.”President Jair Bolsonaro’s health continues to improve, under the treatment of the presidential medical team,” his office said in a statement.center_img Topics :last_img read more

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Police to probe three banks in Maria Lumowa fraud case

first_imgRead also: Maria’s extradition shows up other fugitive failuresShe fled Indonesia just before she was named a suspect by the National Police in 2003, and authorities captured her in July of this year after Serbia granted Indonesia’s extradition request. Awi said the investigators had questioned 14 witnesses and named 16 suspects in the case, including Maria. The other 15 suspects have been found guilty and have served their sentences, Antara reported. (vny)Topics : The National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim) plans to investigate three banks in connection with a loan scam allegedly orchestrated by recently captured fugitive Maria Pauline Lumowa.Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Awi Setiyono said the move was made to track down the money obtained in the scam. “Investigators will look into three private banks in relation to the money obtained from a fictitious letter of credit,” Awi said Tuesday, as reported by kompas.com.Maria allegedly used a fictitious letter of credit to get US$136 million and 56 million euro in bank loans from Bank Negara Indonesia issued to her company PT Gramarindo Group between 2002 and 2003. The scam was allegedly worth Rp 1.7 trillion. last_img read more

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Mali president resigns after detention by military, deepening crisis

first_imgIt was not immediately clear who was leading the revolt, who would govern in Keita’s absence or what the mutineers wanted.Images posted earlier on social media said to be taken at the Kati garrison showed Keita and Cisse surrounded by armed soldiers. Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the videos.Mali has seen months of protests against alleged corruption and worsening security in the West African country where Islamist militants are active, and there have been calls for Keita to resign.The M5-RFP coalition behind the protests signaled support for the mutineers’ action, with spokesman Nouhoum Togo telling Reuters it was “not a military coup but a popular insurrection”. Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita resigned on Tuesday and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, plunging a country already facing a jihadist insurgency and mass protests deeper into crisis.Looking tired and wearing a surgical mask, Keita resigned in a brief address broadcast on state television after troops seized him along with Prime Minister Boubou Cisse and other top officials.”If today, certain elements of our armed forces want this to end through their intervention, do I really have a choice?” he said from a military base in Kati outside the capital Bamako where he had been detained earlier in the day. Hundreds of anti-government protesters poured into a central square in Bamako to celebrate and cheer the mutineers as they drove through in military vehicles and fired rounds of celebratory gunfire.A mutiny in 2012 at the same Kati base led to a military coup that toppled then-President Amadou Toumani Toure and hastened the fall of Mali’s north to jihadist militants.French forces intervened the following year to beat them back. But the militants have since regrouped and expanded their influence into neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger, attacking soldiers, civilians and Western tourists.International condemnationFrance and other international powers as well as the African Union denounced the mutiny, fearful that Keita’s fall could further destabilize the former French colony and West Africa’s entire Sahel region.UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the immediate release of Keita and the other detainees.”I energetically condemn the arrest of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the prime minister and other members of the Malian government and call for their immediate liberation,” African Union Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said on Twitter.French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France “condemns in the strongest terms this grave event”.The US envoy to the Sahel, J. Peter Pham, said on Twitter that “the US is opposed to all extra-constitutional changes of government”.The Economic Community of West African States condemned “the overthrow by putschist soldiers of the democratically elected government”.In a statement, it ordered the closing of regional borders with Mali and suspension of all financial flows between Mali and its 15 members states.At least 14 people were killed in July in the demonstrations that were called for by a coalition of Keita’s political opponents, religious leaders and civil society activists.Keita had hoped concessions to opponents and recommendations from a mediating delegation of regional leaders would help stem the tide of dissatisfaction, but the protest leaders have rejected proposals to join a power-sharing government.”Whether he’s been arrested or not, what is certain is that his end is near. God is granting our prayers. IBK is finished,” Haidara Assetou Cisse, a teacher, said earlier in the day, referring to Keita by his initials.center_img Topics :last_img read more

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France says it must move fast to fight virus surge

first_imgTopics : “The spread of the epidemic can be exponential if we do not react quickly,” Castex told reporters.Grandparents are being told not to pick up their grandchildren from school as the government is worried about hospitals being overwhelmed.The government is hoping to avoid a new nationwide lockdown, but the country has been facing a resurgence of new COVID-19 infections since July, with an acceleration from mid-August.The health ministry on Wednesday reported 5,429 new daily infections, a new post-lockdown high and a level of new infections not seen since the height of the epidemic in early April.The government is due to unveil details of the post-pandemic rescue plan to haul the 2.3 trillion euro economy out of its deepest slump since World War Two on Sept. 3. French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday the government must move fast to head off a deadly new COVID-19 wave as the virus’s reproduction level has jumped, with infections surging in the Paris region and among young people.France’s COVID-19 reproduction “R” number is now 1.4, Castex told a news briefing, indicating that the overall epidemic is growing.”The virus is spreading all over the country,” he said.last_img read more

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‘COVID-19 is real’, govt says as public denial persists

first_imgIndonesia has recorded nearly 10,000 fatalities and 252,923 total cases as of Tuesday. “If some people deny the presence of COVID-19 [and neglect health measures], transmission will continue,” Doni said.Some Indonesian citizens, including public figures, have endorsed conspiracy theories about the pandemic. Bali-based musician Jerinx, for example, claimed that the recorded number of COVID-19 infections was being manipulated to be larger than it actually was. He has also ignored authorities’ calls for social distancing and mask wearing, including while participating in a rally in late July to protest against COVID-19 testing requirements for travel to Bali.The Bali Police have named the musician a suspect for defamation after he accused the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) of being “the WHO’s flunkey” for mandating that women preparing to give birth be tested for COVID-19.Topics : At least five behavioral change units consisting of a total of 100 volunteers have been deployed in five subdistricts of the capital to inform people about the virus and reinforce the need to adhere to health protocols.“If the initiative works, we will develop it in other regions as well,” Doni said during a meeting with the House of Representatives on Tuesday. “COVID-19 is real and has claimed nearly a million of lives globally.”Doni did not reveal the details of the Health Ministry survey he cited during the meeting.Read also: 160 deaths in one day: Indonesia sets bleak virus record A recent survey by the Health Ministry has found that many citizens do not believe that COVID-19 exists and that many have challenged the call to adhere to health protocols, the national COVID-19 task force has said.In response, the task force has formed so-called “behavioral change” units. They consist of members of the community, the military and local administrations and seek to raise public awareness about the dangers of COVID-19. National COVID-19 task force head Doni Monardo said the initiative would be tested first in Jakarta, a hotbed of coronavirus contagion, before being brought to other regions.last_img read more

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Washington DC, heart of US power, frozen by pandemic

first_imgWith just a month to go before the presidential election, Washington, the hub of American politics, is still in the social and economic deep freeze it was plunged into by the Covid-19 outbreak that began six months ago.The 12,000 people due to take part in upcoming meets at the World Bank and IMF will not stroll the sidewalks of the spruced-up city center, which before the pandemic had been touted as example of the regeneration of US downtowns.Instead, they will be sitting at home, in front of their laptops. As well as its political activities, the city had billed itself in the past two decades as a hub for international conventions and conferences. Before the pandemic, “we were experiencing record attendance and visitation to Washington, not only with congresses and meetings, but of course, also with the leisure market… and the international markets,” said Elliott Ferguson, director of Destination DC. And that activity all stoked the local economy. “We were on pace to do well over 25 million visitors to the city, over 42 large congresses,” he said. Now the city is expecting some 11 million visitors.Working from home For sure, some of the trendier districts of the city have bounced back to life. Restaurants have opened up outdoor terraces and rooftop dining and have started to fill up in the late summer, thanks to local clientele.But in the downtown area, not far from the White House, the fast food restaurants of K Street — the central artery where busy lobbyists and lawyers used to grab lunch — have not re-opened and struggle to attract local business.That is because the thousands of government and institutional workers — including the 9,000 of the World Bank, excluding its consultants — are all working from home until the end of the year.The white-collar workers who filled the offices of the nerve center of US and international politics have overwhelmingly chosen to carry on with remote work.And they have the backing of Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has implemented one of the strictest regimes of restrictions in the country to keep the virus death toll down to 629 deaths and more than 12,250 infections.Empty hotels As a result, by the end of July the economic activity of the city center was just 12 percent of what it had been the year before, with 95 percent of employees working from home, according to Downtown D.C Business Improvement District. Hotel occupancy was at just eight percent in June, down from 74 percent in February.An employee of the pharmacy chain CVS, just a few yards from the IMF building, said the branch was probably doomed if the big institutions do not open up their doors again soon.Handing out at best 200 prescriptions per week instead of more than 1,000 before the pandemic, and with its opening hours tailored to those of the neighboring institutions, the employee said the store would be lucky to hang on for six months.”I’m afraid CVS will have to close this location if they don’t come back to work downtown,” the worker said, asking to be named.Despite the gloomy mood, Gregory O’Dell, head of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the mainstay of the city’s conferences, hopes there will be better days ahead.The Center, which receives some 1.5 million people each year, reopened two weeks ago, unveiling a variety of sophisticated equipment designed to help ward off the virus.Artificial intelligence The convention center in the heart of Washington has been fitted with scanners that take the temperature of visitors.Interior surfaces are frequently sprayed with disinfectant capable of killing the virus.And artificial intelligence monitors visitors and registers if they are getting too close to each and ignoring social distancing guidelines.The cancellation of 93 events this year left the center with steep losses, totally $345.5 million.”Today, more than ever before, is such an important time for people and communities to come together, and conventions and meetings, sports and entertainment have the power to do that, even virtually,” said O’Dell.And if people start to get a taste for all things virtual??”I don’t think we’re getting used to it,” said Elliott Ferguson. “I think we are very much so missing out on the opportunity to connect in person.””It’s very difficult to get someone interested in your product, or whatever your prototype is,” he said. “We need to touch it, we need to feel it.”Topics : Behind the giant bay windows of the World Bank, security guards remain at their posts, but idle. Outside, the sidewalks of Washington DC are largely empty.The bank is open, ready to host but its twice annual meetings with international financial institutions. But the meetings are all virtual these days.Next door, at the HQ2 building of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) a sign says “temporarily closed.” It has been hanging there for six months. last_img read more

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Japan to sign agreement allowing arms exports to Vietnam -Nikkei

first_imgJapan plans to sign an agreement with Vietnam to allow it to export defense equipment and technology to the country, part of a move to strengthen defence capabilities of Indo-Pacific nations to counter Chinese maritime advances, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Wednesday.Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday told his ruling Liberal Democratic Party that he will visit Vietnam and Indonesia next week, the newspaper said, adding he was expected to sign the Vietnam deal during the trip.Japan ended a decades-old ban on overseas arms sales in 2014 to help beef up the nation’s military and lower the unit cost of home-built military equipment but has so far struggled to strike export deals for finished products. Japan’s only export deal for a finished product has been one signed with the Philippines in August for the export of a warning and control radar system developed by Mitsubishi Electric, the Nikkei said.Tokyo is also negotiating with Indonesia and Thailand to sign an agreement regarding defence equipment transfers as it seeks to draw on Southeast Asian demand, it added.Suga’s visit to the two countries would be his first overseas trip since taking office last month following Shinzo Abe’s resignation due to ill health.Topics :last_img read more

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Brendan Rodgers praises Unai Emery after Arsenal’s defeat to Leicester City

first_img Comment Metro Sport ReporterSaturday 9 Nov 2019 10:27 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link3.1kShares Arsenal fans are calling for Emery to be sacked (Getty Images)Asked if it is a compliment that Emery played a five-man defence against Leicester, Rodgers replied: ‘I think so, I think so.AdvertisementAdvertisement‘I think the only other time they played that system when we looked and thought it was maybe going to be was probably the Europa League final against Chelsea.‘When they played that with the back five, the two then Ozil in behind the front two.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City‘Listen, they are a big, big threat on the counter attack.‘So we had to try and manage that the best we could today.‘There’s a couple of times they got away but we were able to recover back in to our space. Advertisement Advertisementcenter_img Brendan Rodgers and Leicester City are now second in the Premier League (PA Wire)‘But listen, Unai is a very, very good coach.‘He knows his players, he knows what game or what formation he needs to bring out the best.‘Our players are playing with a high level of confidence and have been for a long period of time.’More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal Brendan Rodgers spoke highly of Unai Emery after Arsenal’s loss to Leicester (YouTube)Brendan Rodgers insists Unai Emery is a ‘very, very good coach’ despite Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat to Leicester City on Saturday.Emery is under increasing pressure as the Gunners slipped to another defeat following second-half goals from Jamie Vardy and James Maddison.Reports have suggested that Arsenal’s hierarchy are already lining up replacements for Emery, with Jose Mourinho and former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique both contacted.But Rodgers praised the under-fire Arsenal manager after Leicester’s latest victory which has put them second in the Premier League.ADVERTISEMENT Brendan Rodgers praises Unai Emery after Arsenal’s defeat to Leicester Citylast_img read more

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Graeme Souness compares Nicolas Pepe to Thierry Henry after Arsenal beat Newcastle

first_imgGraeme Souness compares Nicolas Pepe to Thierry Henry after Arsenal beat Newcastle Comment Advertisement Nicolas Pepe doubled Arsenal’s advantage against Newcastle (Picture: Getty)Graeme Souness has backed Nicolas Pepe to go on and be a ‘star’ at Arsenal, comparing the forward’s mixed debut season to that of Thierry Henry who is now regarded as the best player in the club’s history.Pepe scored Arsenal’s second goal as Mikel Arteta’s men ended a run of four successive draws in the Premier League with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Newcastle at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon.Newcastle managed to keep the Gunners at bay until half-time but the floodgates opened after captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang broke the deadlock with a clinical header in the 54th minute.AdvertisementAdvertisementArsenal doubled their lead just three minutes later as Bukayo Saka put the ball on a plate for Pepe in the box after nutmegging Valentino Lazaro on the left flank.ADVERTISEMENT The result means Arsenal rise to tenth in the table (Picture: Getty)A pair of late goals from Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette rounded off a perfect afternoon for the north London club and Souness was full of praise for Pepe’s all-round performance.The Ivorian has so far struggled to live up to his club-record £72million price tag this season, but Sky Sports pundit Souness is confident he will prove all his doubts wrong.‘I like him, I think there is a real, real player in there,’ the ex-Liverpool and Scotland midfielder said following Arsenal’s win.‘If you think of their best ever player, Thierry Henry, coming here, didn’t have a great first year, took a bit of time and I see Pepe being a star here.‘He’s got great feet, electric and he’s a baby.’center_img Lacazette scored his first goal since December (Picture: Getty)Arsenal head coach Arteta was delighted with the performance Pepe produced from both an attacking and defensive perspective.‘We just need consistency from him,’ the Spaniard said.‘The way he applied himself defensively he was top drawer, things he wasn’t doing in the past.’More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityLacazette ended goal drought stretching back to December 12 with a scruffy finish at the death and Arteta hopes it will be a boost the Frenchman’s confidence levels.‘After the break we started saying we had to start closing the gap on the top teams and turn draws into wins,’ the Spaniard added.‘Today was the first opportunity and we’ve done it. All good.‘I’m so pleased for Laca – the reaction of the players and staff towards him. He fights hard for everyone. He’s been unlucky.‘He will gain confidence from this and knows how everyone appreciates him.’MORE: Graeme Souness slams Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for comments after Arsenal’s win over Newcastle Metro Sport ReporterSunday 16 Feb 2020 7:25 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link3.3kShares Advertisementlast_img read more

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