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Jay Pandya, Founder and CEO at MVP Ventures

Scaling your business with the founder of MVP Ventures

MVP stands for “minimum viable product” – the stripped-down version of a business, typically used in the startup scene

Jay Pandya, Founder and CEO at MVP Ventures

At this week’s Founder Friday, we’re putting the spotlight on entrepreneur, technologist, and digital change-maker Dr Jay Pandya, a pioneer of digital transformation and impact for community improvement.

Dr Pandya’s career reflects the unique mix of digital innovation experience, complex programme management, and an unwavering desire to bring about positive change through entrepreneurship.

 With a background in Medicine, Jay Pandya is an innovator and serial entrepreneur having founded and/ or helped grow organisations in several traditional and modern day sectors across countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. In government, financial services, transport and logistics, real estate and property, education, technology, environment and consulting, he has grown and scaled high-value digital investments beyond $500M by delivering large-scale technology solutions.

Jay heads up MVP Ventures, a team investing in the power of digital platforms for SMBs While Robinson’s pursuit of digital customers derives from corporate serendipity, Jay’s role at MVP Ventures is the direct outcome of an intentional strategy. ‘MVP stands for “minimum viable product” – the stripped-down version of a business, typically used in the startup scene,’ explains Jay, who heads up MVP Ventures and invests in companies that cater to SMBs through the power of digital platforms. ‘We’re the combination of a startup incubator, venture capitalist and software development business all rolled into one, and we provide entrepreneurs with support at every step of building their business – from ideation, design and execution to evolution.’ Now Robinson’s hat collection doesn’t even earn a mention.

 For entrepreneurs to reap their full potential, Jay believes that they need to move from transformation to a six-pronged balancing act Jay portrays the platform ecosystem as a solar system where a diverse and constantly evolving menagerie of players reside, ranging from consumers to entrepreneurs to competitors to platforms like Amazon and others. He believes that second-order contingencies are a key ingredient to scale, and that entrepreneurs need to move from transformation to a six-pronged balancing act of choosing the right fit between the elements of the new platform business models and artificial intelligence (AI) to help them scale and utilise AI to navigate all six elements.

Understanding Platform Business Model

The notion of platform business models has spun the millennium culture like no other line of thought – at least for a while. In place of the linear business models that ruled the corporate world of the 20th century, platforms allow the users to connect with one another. Their associated ‘superecho’ effects have given birth to some of the novelties launched by the digital tribe at the dawn of the 21st century: Tinder, Uber and Airbnb. In each case, the platform had a very simple agenda – to connect one user with another – for dating, for transportation, and for accommodation.

The superecho effects of these connections led to giant ‘two-sided’ markets of users eager to interact with each other, producing the effects that gave rise to exponential growth curves and network effects on the enterprise side. But why does the platform business model iterate technology’s promise for scalability, rather than a labour-intensive roadside stall? Or any traditional business operation? 

Unlike atomised businesses across a city, scaled-up and vulnerable to failure, platform business models enjoy the benefit of the ‘exchange economy’. They leverage data-driven, network-powered UX (‘user experience’), and network effects. By combining these forces and exploiting the capability of digital technologies with their ‘free’ and open collaborative ideology, entrepreneurs can deliver new enterprises and disrupt ‘grown-up’ economies.

The Role of AI in Business Scaling

Imagine AI as the engine propelling the platform revolution forward. It’s like having a supercharged assistant that makes everything run smoother and faster. AI brings some really cool features to the table, like chatbots that can chat with customers like real people and recommendation engines that suggest stuff you actually want to see. These not only make things easier for users but also help the business operate more efficiently and make better decisions based on all the data it collects.

But here’s the thing: AI isn’t just a fancy gadget. It’s like the secret sauce that makes the whole platform business model work even better. When AI teams up with platforms, magic happens. It taps into all the connections and data swirling around to spark new ideas and make things more personalized and automated. So, instead of just being a place to buy stuff or hang out, platforms become these lively hubs where cool stuff is always happening, drawing in more people and growing even bigger.

Overlooking Critical Elements

When diving into the world of AI and platform business models, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and overlook some pretty important stuff. Here are some key things that often get brushed aside but are actually super crucial for success:

  • Platform Governance: Think of this as the rulebook for your platform. It’s all about making sure everyone plays fair, feels safe, and follows the rules.
  • Data Governance and Privacy: Just like you wouldn’t want someone snooping through your diary, users don’t want their data mishandled. Properly managing data keeps everyone’s information safe and in line with the law.
  • Algorithmic Bias and Fairness: AI might seem all-knowing, but it can still have its blind spots. It’s important to make sure your algorithms aren’t accidentally favoring one group over another.
  • User Experience (UX) Design: Ever been on a website that feels like a maze? Yeah, nobody likes that. Prioritizing user experience makes sure everyone has a smooth ride and keeps coming back for more.
  • Community Management: A platform without a community is like a party with no guests. Engaging with your users keeps things lively and helps your platform grow.
  • Scalability and Infrastructure: Think of this as building a strong foundation for your skyscraper. A platform needs solid infrastructure to handle all the traffic and growth without crashing.
  • Interoperability and Integration: No platform is an island. Being able to play nice with other systems and services opens up all sorts of possibilities for innovation and collaboration.
  • Regulatory Compliance and Legal Risks: Nobody wants to get slapped with a lawsuit. Making sure your platform follows all the rules keeps you out of hot water and builds trust with users and regulators alike.

Embracing the Future

As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of business in the digital age, it’s clear that combining platform business models with AI is a game-changer. This fusion offers a pathway to transformation, marked by collaboration, innovation, and a focus on users. Entrepreneurs who embrace these principles can leverage technology to propel their businesses forward and leave a lasting mark on the market.

In essence, achieving sustainable business growth demands a comprehensive strategy—one that incorporates technology, strategic thinking, and a keen awareness of market trends. By fully embracing the potential of platform business models and AI integration, entrepreneurs can unlock fresh possibilities, foster innovation, and establish resilient businesses that thrive in today’s digital era.

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Monique Oliveira

Monique Oliveira

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