The struggles of ‘start-ups’ even before the term was coined, business and media in the early ’90s, entrepreneurship, leadership against all odds, business in the current geo-political environment—all this and more were discussed at The Outstanding Speakers’ Bureau’s Power Talk between Raghav Bahl, Founder & Chairman – Quintillion Media and Jyoti Sagar, Founder & Chairman – J Sagar Associates, held at The Magnolias Club in Gurgaon, last evening.
Often called the ‘Rupert Murdoch of India’, Raghav is a journalist, entrepreneur, media baron and one of the most respected business leaders of India. He built a highly diversified media company, Network 18, which has news operations at its core, and layered with a rich assortment of entertainment and film properties. Raghav exited from the company and founded Quintillion Media Pvt Ltd. The company’s first offering is The Quint – a mobile first digital news platform.
Moderated by The Quint’s Associate Editor Taruni Kumar, Raghav and Jyoti had the audience in splits and in awe as they shared similarities in their start-up journey. Taking cue from Indira Kannan’s book, Network18: The Audacious Story of a Start-up That Became a Media Empire, Raghav spoke about how back in the early 1990s, entrepreneurs not only needed financial capital but intellectual capital as well, to build a business of scale. Private equity was a phrase that was never heard of in India back then. Private equity, however, plays a phenomenal role today. One thing that has stayed constant is the regulatory challenges that all entrepreneurs continue to face.
Commenting on the difference between his second innings versus the first, Raghav felt that he is more calibrated, far less reckless and has increased attention to bottomline. He said, “Entrepreneurship is not about creating what already exists, but about creating value in new areas.”
On the other side of the table was one of the most revered corporate lawyers of the country, Jyoti Sagar. Jyoti founded J Sagar Associates (JSA) in New Delhi in 1991 as a solo practitioner. JSA is now one of the leading national firms. He also founded K&S Partners, an intellectual property boutique in 1994. Jyoti has pioneered a new paradigm in Indian law firm organisation and management structures. He is the Vice President, Society of Indian Law Firms, and Past President of Asian Patent Attorneys Association.
Jyoti shared interesting anecdotes from the time their paths crossed in 1996-97 and how they created the magical win during a tough situation. Jyoti was part of the entrepreneural wave that came up with economic liberalisation of 1991. Prior to that, there was a limited law firm environment, which became more professionalised later on. While the start-ups of the ’90s faced logistical and telecommunications challenges, he shared that starting up today is much more difficult given the competitive environment and global world economy. However, he said, “If you can’t live by your values in the crunch time, then your values are only your hobbies.”
A division of Genesis Burson-Marsteller, The Outstanding Speakers’ Bureau’s Power Talk regularly engages exemplary speakers in thought-provoking conversations with an aim to ignite powerful ideas. Kriti Makhija, Business Leader, The Outstanding Speakers’ Bureau, said, “As today’s conversation demonstrated, the eminent speakers on The Outstanding Speakers’ Bureau’s panel have a huge wealth of experiences and expertise to share. We have created the Power Talk platform to make this wealth accessible. We look forward to many more conversations under the Power Talk banner.”