In a rare appearance to the plebeians at Jakarta’s Startup Asia, three brave ex-Rocket internet souls went upstage to discuss their learnings from Rocket. The panelists were Steven Kim, co-founder and CEO of Qraved; Fung Lestario, co-founder and CEO of Rupawa; and Juan Chene, VP of business development at bobobobo.
There were many tough questions that were asked, but I thought that the panelists shared some key insights that are valuable for aspiring entrepreneurs.
First, Steven shared that Rocket heavily focuses on speed to achieve set KPIs. This allows Rocket’s portfolio companies to grow and expand rapidly in a disciplined manner across multiple countries. However, one must understand that Rocket no longer validates ideas, but instead is in a constant state to accelerate proven business models in different countries; a luxury that most localized startups do not have. That said, entrepreneurs would do well to remember the importance of focus and discipline to keep moving their companies forward. A key mindset that Steven brought and kept at Qraved.com.
Secondly, it is a jolly bad idea for you as a startup to compete in the same space as Rocket. Unless you have the same level of gunpowder as Rocket, the panelists agree that entrepreneurs should not fight head on. Fung pointed out a very good insight that startups can beat Rocket by out-innovating them through superior local knowledge, or pick a differentiated niche space.
Finally, despite Rocket’s rapid rise to success, people burn out easily. To retain best talent for your startup, there is value to take the time and build a core company culture that nurtures long term growth. In the end, as your startup gain traction, you want to show to potential investors that you have a controlled and consistent growth over time. Not bursts of expansion and downsizings.
is a portfolio company of Convergence Ventures