Profile Picture

Asia Tech Podcast – Episode 30 – Vikram Bharati – Founder, Tribe Theory – You’re Not Made Out of Sugar

I think interesting people come from interesting backgrounds…and Vikram Bharati falls deeply into this category. 

Vikram was born in a part of India most people have not heard of…Nagaland.  Vikram’s father was from Delhi and his mother is of Burmese descent, from the Naga Tribe in Northern Burma. Vikram’s father was part of an elite group of Indian Bureaucrats called the Indian Administrative Services.  He was sent to Nagaland from New Delhi, which is more than 2,300 kilometers away, to help integrate that part of India to NewDelhi economically, culturally and socially.  This was during the early 1960’s when that part of the world was so disconnected from mainstream India…and, frankly, the rest of the world.

We forget sometimes how connected we are today.  Vikram explains that there were not even phone lines readily available for communication between New Delhi and Nagaland.  Vikram’s dad used to have to send letters (real, physical mail) back to Delhi to get anything done.  Today, Vikram feels like most of the work he does to build his business he can do on his phone…the mini-computer in his pocket.  In a way, it feels like magic.

Vikram started his career in the Banking business.  He worked at JP Morgan for the better part of  decade and enjoyed the big company experience and learned a lot.  After getting the most out of it that he could, Vikram decided to take 6 months off and travel.  That turned into a two year trip around the world and the genesis of his idea for Tribe Theory.

Tribe Theory, in its own words, is “a new category of hostels for startups, a community curated, business friendly hostel accommodation, designed to cater to the travelling startups, creative and entrepreneurial community."  This is more than just a group of physical spaces scattered across the globe.

Vikram is fascinated by the idea of people banding together to build a culture.  Each Tribe Theory location is meant to be a node of a global network and an aggregator of people, ideas and skills. The big goal is to aggregate people in small spaces all across the globe, thus creating a massive network and then building multiple businesses on top of the network.

This is not only a bold idea, but a very new one as well.  The competing business model is to aggregate inventory and then resell that inventory at a margin.  Tribe Theory’s business model is not to be interested in aggregating as much physical inventory as possible, but in aggregating people.

This episode was recorded at True Digital Park.

True Digital Park is a startup and technology campus in Bangkok, offering a complete ecosystem with an “open innovation” concept that brings together multinational companies, startups, business operators, investors, and R&D centers. This established digital community provides crucial knowledge creation that is supportive to digital innovations.