Montgomery Summit underlines need for digital strategy


The coronavirus pandemic disrupted business massively but it also forced the tech industry to innovate, participants and discussions at the 18th Montgomery Summit held March 3 and 4 underlined.

The Montgomery Summit considered one of the top professional destinations for entrepreneurs, growth company executives, global investment professionals, and corporate development executives to meet and discover the most important innovations in business and technology.

Sumant Mandal, co-founder of March Capital based in Santa Monica in Southern California, the host of the Montgomery Summit, told indica News: “Today, we can’t run without using a software, you cannot meet your customer without using a software. So,

I think the shift has happened and 10 years of change has happened in just one year.”

What is the next big thing in technology? Mandal said that with zero-latency 5G networks the future could be very different.

Before 3G network and iPhone, you couldn’t have dreamt of Uber. We can’t imagine what 5G, Cloud and Quantum is going to enable,” said Mandal.

At the summit, Jamie Montgomery, co-founder and managing Partner March Capital, asked Bill Ford, chairman & CEO of leading global growth equity firm General Atlantic, on the impact of Covid-19 and the lessons learned.

It made us realize all of our companies, whether in tech space or not, need to have a robust digital strategy in place,” Ford said.

He said 90 percent of investment in 2020 was digital in nature.

Zoom founder Eric Yuan, a former Cisco engineer and executive, shared with moderator John Chambers, former executive chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, how the video communication company has evolved during the pandemic.

Founded in 2011, Zoom Video Communications’ market cap as of March 05, 2021, is $96.51 billion and it has become a household globally.

I don’t say we are successful; we are working hard on that,” Yuan said, humbly.

Today, video is the new voice, and people want eye contact… We spent a lot of time with customers so that they enjoy the meetings. The culture of Zoom is to deliver happiness,” Yuan said.

Asked about lessons learned during the pandemic, he said: “One lesson I learned is don’t give up; like I kept trying for a visa and did not give up. Perseverance is extremely important for you to achieve anything — that is the lesson I learned.”

According to Wikipedia,Yaun applied nine times before being granted a United States visa.

Suman Mandal, who moderated the panel “Accessing Global Capital Markets for Leading Indian Companies,” laughed, as did the panel when SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Companies) became the topic of the discussion.

An SPAC is a company created solely to merge or acquire another business and take it public — a cheaper, faster alternative to an initial public offering (IPO).

Mandal sounded skeptical about SPAC.

What worries me is there is a lot of money being raised and not enough high-quality potential companies that shouldn’t be public yet,” he said.

But panelists Goldman Sachs India chairman and CEO Sonjoy Chatterjee and Robert Mccooey, the global head of capital markets and chairman of Nasdaq APAC, were more positive about SPAC.

We have been embracing that as a new way for companies to go public,” said Mccooey. “We have spent a lot of time internally to make sure we are using our

assets and resources to help the sponsor of SPAC during that period of time between announcing the business combination and closing the business combination and using investor relation advisory tool that Nasdaq offers to have a seamless transaction.

So, we (Nasdaq) embrace traditional IPO, SAPC, and direct listing,” he said. “There are multiple ways to come to the US capital market and we are going to be supportive of each one of them.”

When Mandal asked if a company registered in India can use SPAC and get listed in Nasdaq, Chatterjee said: “We are working into that but Indian startups are seeing SPAC as an option to the listing.”

However, Chatterjee also added that how sustainable the SPACs would be is another discussion.

Umesh Sachdev, founder of Uniphore, a global company born out of India said that the entrepreneurial ecosystem “is multiplying in India as we speak both in quantity and quality.”