Author: Sunil K. Goyal | Managing Director & Fund Manager | YourNest Venture Capital
I had the privilege of attending the Elite Summit organised by Marcus Evans in Montreux, Switzerland, from 17-19 November, 2021.
It was the first international travel since the Covid-enforced lockdown that hit all of us in 2020. So, it was a journey I undertook with mixed feelings: hesitation as well as hope.
When the conference began, all the earlier fears triggered by hesitation vanished and I knew I had taken the right call by travelling all the way from New Delhi to attend what would turn out to be a very rewarding event. Over the next three days, sessions by speakers including Ariel Barack, Paul Infante Monozca and Per Wimmer stimulated the mind and drove home the point that we actually work better when we meet others in the real world and not over a video-conference link. In a glitch-free series of sessions with hard-nosed investors from across Europe in attendance, I was also able to meet close to 20 of them on a one-to-one basis.
In these undistracted, candid deep dives it was extremely encouraging to see the increased levels of interest in the India story: larger fund inflows than China over the last few months and our stable economic and political environment have led to higher confidence levels. There were strong connections made, relationships cemented, and new doors have opened up for us at YourNest and our family of Challengineers – the startup founders in our portfolio. Our unwavering focus on technology-abled, enterprise-oriented businesses was also appreciated by investors who understand the value of long-term gains.
But, more than all of these, what made every Euro worth the investment was the talk by Kjell A Nordström and the highly stimulating conversation I had with him thereafter. A Swedish economist, writer and public speaker, Kjell is also an author of several books, and I was fortunate to get a signed copy of his latest work, Corona Express: when you open the book, it also opens your mind in myriad ways. And that is the focus of this blogpost…
Here are Kjell A Nordström’s nine invaluable nuggets:
- Accelerated urbanisation: Cities will grow because they offer hope. Cities create trust for safety and acceptability for multi-cultural people and are tolerant/adaptive. This is the marketplace for the future with 80% of population living in cities. Mayors may be much more powerful than national leaders.
- Women will play a more prominent role: cities empower women. Women are outnumbering men in studies, particularly in higher education. And they will drive change differently.
- Knowledge is ubiquitous: Spotify for knowledge is happening. Going forward, companies must hire talent for attitude as knowledge exists everywhere.
- Climate Change will drive decision making as youth and women become stronger influencers. Innovators will find solutions to a heated planet. Wait for a Volvo-like success of early 70s when they won consumers’ hearts with safety features, waived patents for safety belt, and didn’t wait for regulations to make safety a priority.
- Cities will be rebuilt over the next 30 years, offering huge infra spends and opportunities for Venture Capitalists who can spot differentiators and innovations early. Major Nobel Prizes may be awarded soon for innovation of industrialisation with climate protection.
- Regionalisation will happen: supply Chains are being reworked. Automation and robotics will drive production closer to their markets. Globalization that started in the 80s is being challenged – China has to look inwards for the first time and re-strategize.
- Invest in Digitisation: during Covid, nations achieved a much lower loss of GDP (between 2%-4%) versus the predicted 25%+. This was all due to trust in city administrations and the adoption of technology. How were technologies ready to meet the requirements of such superhighways? It happened and will accelerate.
- Self-leadership: individuals cannot be managed any more in a hybrid work culture. Organizations need to empower people with their vision and objectives. And employees need to have the self-discipline to deliver without being supervised for days and months.
- All accept Capitalism: every institution/nation speaks the same language. It is the best allocator of capital. The hidden cost of climate will be accounted for in decision-making. Conscious capitalism has arrived.
These pithy but powerful predictions are worth watching in the coming days. What do you say? We’d love to get your feedback…