Reviewed by ASIF ANWAR ALIG
Startup Capitals: Discovering the Global Hotspots of Innovation, by Zafar Anjum, Random House India, Gurgaon – 122002, Year2014, 261pp, Indian Rupees499, Hard.
t doesn’t matter how scholarly business themed books are, most often they fail to engage the common readers. Written for specific groups they hardly attract the general masses. Startup Capitals by Zafar Anjum is an exceptional one in business genre that defies such dogmas by engaging the readers beyond business fraternity. Themed on the global startup scenes it insightfully transforms into a precise travelogue to espouse the readers to tour to world’s business hubs. Readers learn about such places as if they virtually tour in those destinations.
Bringing current picture of fast changing trends in the startups worldwide, this book attempts to predict the unpredictable. None had imagined decades ago how Internet would redefine our communication approaches and systems. Why world’s cities are seen in individualistic outlook instead of their nationalist identities? Communication gaps have narrowed down sharply.
Arranging a meeting is possible anywhere and everywhere today without the actual presence of participants. Isn’t it a new renaissance? Technological advancements directly impact trade and business activities. Anjum points out how world’s 5th largest hotel chain operates through a website, so does he discuss about several other notable business ventures.
This book brings the picture of Asian giants’ business acumen like China emerging into world’s factory in the capacity of global manufacturing hub. Similarly, Chinese counterpart, India became world’s largest outsourcing hub within few decades. Startups including university-license based intellectual properties to the technology firm supported venture capitals are capable for the creation of required job markets. ‘Digital first business’ concepts in the retail and manufacturing sectors are key elements of economic boosts on worldwide levels.
Innovative ideas cater to wider clientele without restriction of countries concerned. Technological innovations and breakthroughs are crucial to translate the ideas into realities which global startups are eagerly adopting nowadays.
Globally connected startup capitals paved the way for pioneering business solutions. Startup capital cities have already narrowed down the gaps. They are projected taller than the nations they represent in the current business environments. Silicon Valley in the USA is pathfinder for rest. New York became second successful global startup capital. China’s Beijing developed ample potentiality for the most noticeable startups.
Until recently China was taken for granted due to its ‘culture of imitation’ but such myths have already vanished today, stresses Anjum while projecting the successful Chinese startups. This country came into global limelight through Alibaba, Huawei, Baidu, Tencent and Xiaomi et al that assimilated innovation for their global forays.
China became hottest Asian startup destination with its hundreds of thousands of startups that burgeon in the Beijing and Shanghai cities. Chinese competitor India didn’t lag behind either. Bangalore is denoted with country’s Silicon Valley and it welcomed several startups within few years. Bangalore startups have become market leaders with their worldwide identities. ‘Other Asian giant Singapore ranks 17 among world’s top 20 innovation ecosystems,’ Global Startup Ecosystem Index report by Startup Genome and Telefonica points out.
Sydney and Melbourne maintain 12th and 18th ranks respectively while Bangalore is at 19th global rank. Likewise, Tokyo and Brazil’s strongest ecosystem Sao Paulo startup capitals are the two leading markets.
Tel Aviv in Israel boasts with its highest density of startups on the global scale whose total 3,850 startups turn this country into a world leader. Anjum stresses that it couldn’t be possible without unique approach of Israelis who consider ‘entrepreneurship mainstream career for them’ in Israel.
Overviewing European nations, this book shows Berlin at 2nd position after London city. Such scenario became possible after the fall of Berlin Wall in 1989 which finally reunified Germany. It also brought new political farsightedness to boost its trade and economy. Its strategic trade and business plans proved helpful for easy trade comebacks in this region besides emergence of various startups.
The Startup Ecosystem Report 2012 highlighted London’s position as world’s 7th most influential startup ecosystem after Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, Los Angles, Seattle, New York and Boston. Such descriptions enrich first part of this book through the brainstorming explanation of ten high ranking global startups.
Second part of this book has cursory details of ten largest global startup ecosystems including Los Angles and Boston to Toronto identified as biggest in Canada. The author highlights prospects, limitations and future of such global destinations for profitable business viabilities. Canada comes at top ten in the global startups. Vancouver is 2nd and Waterloo 3rd largest startup ecosystem in the Canadian national ranking. Similarly, Paris and Moscow rank at 9th and 14th amongst the Global Startup Ecosystem Indexes respectively. Chile’s Santiago ranks 20th position globally. Sydney is largest in Australian startup ecosystems while Melbourne ranks 2nd largest national startup.
Third part of this book appeals even common readers. It profiles world’s leading startup tycoons. Sketches are of Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) founder president in USA, Jack Dangermond; China’s founder CEO of Alibaba, Jack Ma; Malaysia’s iGene founder CEO, Matt Chandran; Portugal’s Paulo Rosado, founder CEO of OutSystems; Singapore’s Suresh Shankar, CEO of Crayon Data; CEO of Acronics, Serguei Beloussov in Singapore & Russia; CEO of TrustSphere in New York & Singapore, Manish Goyal; Denmark’s CEO of Universal Robots, Enrico Krog Iverson; CEO of Ventes in Singapore, Basheer Cassim; Head of Singapore’s Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL), Dr. Alex Lin in Singapore and Silicon Valley’s Somesh Dash at Institutional Venture Partners (IVP) are significant one on ones of author with the crème de la crèmes that have been pedantically summed in this book. They had humble beginnings but became world’s pioneering startup strategists over the period.
By presenting the snapshots of ten worldwide startup capitals that literally redefine global boundaries beyond any country-based restriction this book foresees the fortunes of select echoes in the startup ecosystem. This highly engaging travelogue, instead of dry business book, narrates author’s interactions with the world’s leading startup strategists. It also has thorough overview of the cities as global startup hubs.
Global businesses welcome countless positive transformations due to regular advancements in the technology sector. Drastic changes are occurring in the business sector nowadays. Some of them might look contradictory but they remain empowering. How a taxi app posed a serious threat to world’s largest taxi companies or the economies literally disrupting due to Bitcoin or M-Pesa’s presence?
This book examines the panorama of lucrative incredible business ventures which applied many strategies to attain unpredictable successes. It might seem unbelievable but the fact is that world’s largest bookstore owns no physical bookstore or the biggest taxi company doesn’t own any taxi. World’s leading mobile company doesn’t own any factory but it maintains its monopoly on the global market. Innovative strategies change business concepts as pathfinders for future startups.
The author projects pros and cons of startups from infrastructure needs to government supports they receive in the form of funding to talent acquisitions and impromptu challenges they often face. Wide spectrum of information turns this book a handy guide for future startup advocators. They can search in it much to evaluate caveats to develop their self-confidence for a new dawn.