Forward March into 2022 - with hope, caution and lessons learned.

Time marches forward, and it’s that time of the year when we look forward with hope in our hearts. Hope for a better tomorrow. A tomorrow that will be free of the testing times we’ve lived through the past two years of Covid. What does the New Year hold in store for start-ups in Pune? What do founders expect from 2022? We speak to a few of our members to get a picture of expectations from 2022.

Vineet Patni

Vineet Patni, TiE Pune’s President, gives us a macro picture of what he thinks the new year will be like:

“Innovation is on the rise and happily across all sectors” Vineet Patni

As TiE believes that entrepreneurship is a very valuable tool to uplift society and invests its resources to promote it, I think 2022 will see a few interesting things. Covid changed our lives and businesses for sure. As a result, many businesses tackled those challenges or reinvented themselves. But this virus is not going to go away in this coming year. We will continue to see it in different mutated forms and the impact thereof. This is sure to impact many big and small companies in different ways. As a result, even start-ups will keep thinking of ways and means to beat new challenges that will be thrown at us. In fact, innovation is on the rise. And, happily, across all sectors. Even non-tech ones like healthcare, education, food and more. While we will have to continue to be cautious about this new year, I expect to see more than usual innovation in our start-up sectors.

Chetan Rawal

Chetan Rawal, co-founder, Biogenics Labs P Ltd:

The past has been a mixed bag for our company. While Covid meant more people would have to get various tests done, which would translate into more revenue for us, it came with its own set of challenges. While demand was growing, our problem was on the staffing side. Given that our people would have to go to homes to get samples, they too were worried about contracting the disease. Some even gave up the job temporarily. We managed the situation by providing them with insurance for all our staffers.

As we move into the new year, I only hope and pray that people have learned the valuable lesson that Covid has taught us – do not take your health for granted. Be proactive about your health. Besides following a healthy lifestyle also be conscious of getting yourself tested regularly to keep tabs on all the parameters. For a path lab like mine, it will mean more business, but also mean a more health-conscious society that values health.

Sunanda Verma Bhatta

Sunanda Verma Bhatta, Cofounder – The Daftar & Aeka Coffee

“2021 was about learning. And I expect to put all that I have learned into practice in the New Year” Suananda Verma Bhatta

For me, the last two years were all about learning, wait and watching. The coming year will be all about action. From the co-working aspect, I always knew that people could choose to work from home. It’s not a new concept. But I always suspected that WFH can’t last forever. It would only be a matter of time before people would start to realise the difficulties of working from home. And setting up your own office would involve huge capital investment. We have seen an increasing demand for flexibility to combat the uncertainty that the pandemic has brought. To that end, we have made changes to our existing plans and structure to match the new requirements. This has led to a continuous rise in occupancies.

This lockdown gave me some time on hand, so I started a new venture – Aeka Coffee. After setting up our e-commerce portal last year, we are all set to enhance the experience of grab-and-go coffee with our outlets.

We have learned so much in the past two years, and I now look forward to putting all this into practice as the New Year dawns.

Rohit Hardikar

Rohit Hardikar, co founder, Arka Juice:

“I am less concerned about the New Year as 2021 has taught us how to pivot quickly to respond to challenges.” Rohit Hardikar

Covid impacted our business quite seriously. When we started, our customers were predominantly the hospitality industry and corporates. But Covid forced them to shut down for long periods and as a result, our sales suffered. As did our operations. In the second wave, we had to shut down our factory for 50 days. However, this year we managed to restart much faster than we did the last time. Also, it made us look for other avenues of sales as well. We have entered into a partnership for marketing, which should help in the short term at least. Another good thing (for us at least) has been that Covid has led to the rise of hyperlocal delivery by big giants like Big Basket, Swiggy and others. This in turn has helped reduce our delivery cost, making the product more affordable. Otherwise, the cost of delivering a glass bottle of juice would be twice the cost of manufacture. Also, Covid has made people more health conscious and that in turn is helping our sales. I am less worried about the new year now as we have learned to pivot much faster to respond to any crisis. And our sales are picking up. So, all in all, we expect the new year to be good.

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