Web Mission to India diary: Life after India
After a month of chasing up connections and planning projects since returning to the UK, Hellman reveals how the week-long experience has boosted his tech start-up
In February Bruce Hellman was selected along with 15 other game-changing tech start-ups to embark on a week-long UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) sponsored trade mission to India.
Throughout the action-packed week the founder of healthcare app uMotif documented every experience of the unique business trip, from his first impressions of the buzzing streets of Bangalore, through to his whirlwind business introductions in the cosmopolitan capital of New Delhi.
Despite being back in the UK for just over a month, Hellman has not let the grass grow under his feet and already has exciting business ventures in the pipeline as a direct result of mingling with experts in India. Here he reflects on his week-long adventure and reveals how the contacts, lessons and experiences of the trade mission look set to impact upon his tech start-up.
Diary five: reaping the rewards
I’ve now been back in the UK for over a month since the Web Mission to India in February. In that time we’ve finished our first trial in Parkinson’s Disease, finalised plans for a post-operative care pilot, and had some busy days at the Technology Strategy Board’s Innovate conference and the NHS Innovation Expo.
During Innovate we met Infosys, who are providing each of the Web Mission companies with mentoring and support over the next 12 months. Being able to tap into the wealth of knowledge, contacts, awareness and strength of a company like Infosys is invaluable for all of the Mission companies. I’m hoping that the relationship will really help us identify high quality clients and partners in India and elsewhere.
So what of the rest of the Mission and my reflections?
The main thing that keeps with me is the immense opportunity in India, and how even a small project would be a major step-up for us, or almost any UK small or medium-sized business. From David Cameron’s Trade Mission, and a series of other recently revealed similar trips, it’s clear there’s certainly an appetite for UK businesses to export to India. It seems that there are a few things happening to make things simpler, including some special centres to help businesses. I’ll be looking out for how the rhetoric translates into practical reality.
I picked up a number of contacts while I was there. I’m continuing conversations with a handful of individuals and organisations. It’s positive that in some cases things appear to be moving along quite quickly and could shape into projects over the coming months. We were warned before and during the trip to expect that the ‘coffee to contract’ process would take a minimum of 12 months. So it’s encouraging that we may be able to move significantly quicker!
Although the Mission and the contacts developed were useful, some of the most significant effects are on the general daily business. The Mission, as with the Future Health Mission to Boston last September, really made us think and consider what business we’re in, what we’re building and how we’re going to market. By testing assumptions, pitches and products in more markets we’re able to build a far better view of what we should be doing now, and how to strategically plan for the future.
As I mentioned in previous blogs, I’d certainly recommend these Missions to other UK start-ups. They help expand your network, raise your horizons and ambitions and will almost certainly generate new business – sometimes in ways you wouldn’t expect! I hear The Long Run Venture and CoSponsorship Agency have a few plans up their sleeves, so keep an ear out!