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Panel insights: Navigating a new venture in a time of disruption

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RingCentral recently hosted a panel discussion on “Navigating a New Venture in a Time of Disruption.” Conversation among the panelists centered around the power of generative AI and its momentous impact on innovation as akin to the moment in which the iPhone made its transformative impact on the technology industry. As well, panelists discussed how deal flow has changed due to the proliferation of AI technologies with their more sophisticated algorithms and faster innovation cycles.

You can watch the full panel here: 

The panelists discussed the changing deal flow in the AI sector with insights specific to the significant influx of capital and to the advancements in open-source platforms and tools. They emphasized the need to distinguish genuine AI-driven companies from those engaging in “AI washing” with those on the funding side highlighting how investors are evaluating both teams and technologies behind today’s startups. In these times, all agreed that the economic downturn is having an impact on startup funding, forcing reassessment of growth strategies, heightened focus on the preservation of capital, and the seeking of sustainable solutions. Panelists emphasized how flexibility and operational resilience serve as crucial factors for weathering market drops.

Regarding the short-term and long-term outlook for AI, panelists agreed that successful start-ups will be those which identify and solve aspirational problems, understand customers’ needs, and have a vision for their future needs, too. Focus on product-market fit remains of paramount importance, too. Panelists encouraged entrepreneurs to consider ease of adoption and maintenance, to establish effective go-to-market strategies, and to explore under-automated sectors as places where significant impact can be made. In the long run, panelists shared their hopes that responsible AI practices and multi-stakeholder efforts will address concerns such as fairness, inclusion, security, privacy, and safety.

Overall, generative AI presents huge opportunities with lots of unknowns that need to be navigated with caution. Startups are encouraged not to sit on the sidelines and to dive into the growing and changing impact of this exciting tech. Those entrepreneurs who differentiate themselves, focus on problem-solving, embrace responsible practices, and stay agile in the ever-evolving AI landscape will be the ones who succeed.

To engage more with this fascinating subject, you can listen to the whole panel here

Panelists included:

Moderator: Jim Lundy, Founder, CEO, and Lead Analyst, Aragon Research

Kira Makagon, Chief Innovation Officer, RingCentral

Rob Theis, General Partner, World Innovation Lab and RNG Board Member

Anand Chandrasekaran, Partner, General Catalyst

Tim Guleri, Managing Director, Sierra Ventures

Mar Hershenson, Managing Partner, Pear VC

Originally published Jun 30, 2023, updated Nov 03, 2023

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