Indian start up culture and its problems

I am not a business expert . The views I am presenting in this article are based on my perceptions . Please correct me if I am wrong. Also, this is not a rant. Rather its a call for the talented entrepreneurs of this country to be more fearless.

I personally feel that entrepreneurship is the driving shaft for the wheels of development. During my graduate studies, I took courses in design thinking and basic courses in entrepreneurship. I think entrepreneurs and great companies are a byproduct of providing a solution to a problem. The problems could be huge or could be the smallest ones. The solution , either a product or service should add value and people would be happy to pay for it.

In the recent years India has seen a marked increase in the number of start ups. The country has more than 19,000 technology-enabled startups, led by consumer Internet and financial services startups, the report said. “Indian startups raised $3.5 billion in funding in the first half of 2015, and the number of active investors in India increased from 220 in 2014 to 490 in 2015. As of December 2015, eight Indian startups belonged to the ‘Unicorn’ club (ventures that are valued at $1 billion and upwards).”

A brief look at the companies listed by yourstory [2] reveals that there are more startups in food tech than in the energy industry. Is finding good delicious gourmet food right hour one of the biggest problems of our generation ? A country deprived of the basic necessities is creating entrepreneurs who want to disrupt the way people eat food from restaurants and fine dines. Here is a list of the most innovative companies in India [3]. Compare this to the most innovative companies of the world [4]. Majority of the start ups in India aggregate information and are filled with UI/UX designers who keep improving the user interface till it starts to glitter. I am of the opinion that, all that glitters is not gold.

I was talking to a friend who works for one of the leading PSU’s in India.From technical to managerial, problems are in plenty. The value attached to solving these problems are huge, both economically and socially. But nobody wants to solve these problems. Young engineers, who are recruited in these PSU’s , from the premier engineering colleges of India want to be comfortable with their Government jobs until they crack the famed civil services/CAT or start an e-commerce start up with their buddies.

I will generalize a little and go on to say that majority of the start-up founders are trying to solve problems which interest the venture capitalists. I was talking to a friend who has recently started a company and in his opinion Indian investors are risk averse. The fact that venture capitalists themselves are not ready to take risks is scary to say the least.Creating value or solving problems is seldom on the agenda. There is no denying that they still are trying really hard but unless the youth starts approaching problems, we would never have companies like TESLA originating in our country.

India is plagued by plenty of problems. It has region specific problems as well as problems which are overarching. Water scarcity, lack of uninterrupted water supply, traffic management, better education resources, farm to food supply chain are a few of the notable of them. The sheer size of these problems are huge. All these sectors have a huge amount of inertia involved , but the potential for improvement is huge. It will be difficult to implement but if the entrepreneurs wanted it easy they could have settled with their 9 to 5 jobs. Do we necessarily need to follow the western start ups, replicate and tweak them according to Indian conditions and call ourselves entrepreneurs ?

There are a few startups which are doing a commendable job at solving problems. Companies like husk power systems , farm and farmers, chakra, Infocold , tessol, promethean are a few of them . Please provide links about similar companies in the comment section , which are solving actual problems. I would love to read more about them .But we need many more. I implore rather beg anyone reading this post and dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur to find a problem first. While taking a course in systematic product development, out professor Dr Bruno Gries emphasized that in order to develop a good solution the problem has to be very well defined.

I think all entrepreneurs should follow his advice. There are a plenty of problems , apply your mind, create value ,and you would get the success you want. Money should never be the only objective for forming a company, solving a problem should be.


Four Reasons Why Indian Hyperlocal Startups Failed

Startup culture in India can be traced back to the mid 1980s when, post exposure to computers and Internet, we were taking baby-steps into the tech world. Today, there’s a new startup in every nook and corner, and while it is encouraging to see young entrepreneurs experiencing business and management, you also see many of the hyped-up businesses fail. The troubles come down not to e-commerce, but to actual commerce, and that’s something that you can see taking place in the much hyped hyperlocal startup space.

Online shopping these days has become a graveyard of failed enterprises, leaving customers with worries of all sorts. Early hiccups that companies – and their customers – face include timely deliveries, safe transactions, misuse of information by companies, and fraud by customers. The shifting landscape has also spelled the doom of many a kirana store that could not keep place with a changing world.

From home deliveries to discounts and the convenience of getting all your different needs from a single app, hyperlocal companies had a lot to offer, and venture capitalists have been investing heavily. So what went wrong?

1) The gold rush
2014 was touted as real turning point for Indian startups, and billions were pumped in by global investors. With more than a billion people, the huge market potential attracted them in large numbers. Brick and mortar operations faced tough competition, and the once traditional and classical companies were brought on board with spending and valuations.

While Hyperlocal ventures turned out to be a boon for the local stores by giving them an extra selling opportunity, at the same time it was a game spoiler with all the discounts and offers. This was borne by the ventures themselves, all for the sake of marketing and increasing customer base, but clearly it was unsustainable in the long run.

2) Too big, too soon
The companies in this space were growing at unrealistic rates. PepperTap grew to have operations across 17 cities in just a year and a half. Navneet Singh, CEO at PepperTap shares: “In the race to pepper the whole country with PepperTap, we had brought too many stores online far too quickly.”

Rome was not built in a day, startups need to understand that quick expansion without a solid foundation and strategy is not worth fighting for.

3) Investor pressure
Behind-the-scenes for many startups, investors directly compare the nascent Indian market to Silicon Valley. At the same time, companies are under tremendous pressure to show user acquisition, which gives way to offers and discounts. Loose ends of delivery management, fraud, and lost orders also build pressure.

4) Discounts galore
Just doling out heavy discounts doesn’t ensure faithful or repeat customers. From e-commerce to grocery delivery services, discounts, coupon codes, offers, weekend sale, festival offers and flash sales, these marketing gimmicks ensure a lot of clicks and website visits and checking out products.

But for a business to run profitably, 365 days of discount sales is impossible. Every single weekend the newspaper shows huge advertisements for flash sales, promos and offers. While the hyperlocal apps are busy cracking clever sales and discount schemes, they should have thought about ways of optimising on the costs and finding a way out to calculate the ROI for these advertisements.

By providing humongous growth prospects to the local retailers, hyperlocal heralded a new era. Instant satisfaction and reduced prices will give consumers satisfaction, but not for long. Instead, drive the exceptional experience, learn the factors that drives. Companies in this space need to bring in the convenience factor to your retailing and make it an experience, and they need to do so now.

Tejinder Pal Singh Oberoi is the Executive Director at Cygnet Infotech – an Ahmedabad-based IT company that has developed m1Order, a local mobile commerce platform.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Gadgets 360 and Gadgets 360 does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.


Modern Startups Solve Real Problems

The desire to change the world drives successful entrepreneurs. They are the ones who love the journey more than the destination. Capturing the reality behind the balloon of ‘Startup India’, Suveen Sinha wants the world to read his latest book ‘Tip of the Iceberg’ and believes, “Anyone thinking of setting up their own company or in any way interested in the start-up revolution sweeping the country should read my book to know the reality and the romance of it, to know what it really takes. At times it is extremely rewarding, but not always.”

A journalist for about 21 years, Suveen Sinha discusses all you would ever want to know about startup India!

While others believe that the era of startups is about to end, but you say that it is just the tip of an iceberg.

One and a half to two years ago, a lot of people in India wanted to be Steve Jobs. So I started meeting Indian entrepreneurs to see if they had gone through the kind of ordeals Jobs had faced, or if they had it in them to survive those ordeals. After all, being an entrepreneur entails constantly worrying about money, sacrificing your personal life, and the responsibility of other people’s lives and families.

Avnish Bajaj went to Tihar, Vijay Shekhar Sharma used to go back to his house only in the dead of the night to avoid the landlord, Kunal Bahl scraped plastic off things at a factory for Rs 6,550 a month, Phanindra Sama had to take refuge in Vipassana, Mu Sigma founder Dhiraj Rajaram went to a dinner on a day he had three of his wisdom teeth taken out because he did not want to miss the deal. I found fascinating stories of bleak struggle, abysmal failure, and astounding success.

All the people I mentioned bounced back. They are made of stern stuff. What’s more, they have the confidence and swagger of someone who faced adversity before and came out triumphant. They look at the current lean times as a blip. They will come back.

What triggered the era startups and what is driving the force?

The modern startups, the prominent ones anyway, are borne out of a clear need. They solve real problems. The e-commerce guys provide access to people in big cities and small towns. Ask the mother of a newborn how big a difference it makes to have diapers delivered to your doorstep. What if you want to buy a dress but are too busy on weekdays and too sane to brave the weekend traffic to go to Select City Walk, or to take a train from Ambala to Delhi? Isn’t it a blessing to just order online and have clothes, food, medicine, plumbers, carpenters, and electricians come to you? Then there are the ride-hailing apps. In a country where public transport sucks, these are a real blessing. It is this need for a solution that gave birth to the start-ups, drives them, and will drive them always.

So, everyone produces something and is a consumer to everything?

I doubt that. Most of today’s start-ups are not about production, they are about distribution, delivery, and access. They are facilitators. Uber is the world’s largest transport company but does not manufacture cars, it just brings them to you quickly, efficiently, and cheaply. So I guess currency will remain current, even if it morphs at some point into a digital one such as a mobile wallet or even bitcoin.

Startups also need capital. What about people who want to do something but have fewer funds to invest?

The true entrepreneur is driven by her desire to change the status quo, solve a problem, or give shape to her ideas. She does not care much about money. In my book, you will find many instances of people who built great companies despite dealing with an acute shortage of money. Some, in fact, turned their back on money from their salaried jobs to build their own companies. If you are doing something meaningful, if you are solving a real problem, money will come. It’s like what Rancho says in 3 Idiots, chase excellence and money will chase you.

Please suggest few pointers that people need to keep in mind before starting their own business.

1. Do not do it if you do not believe in it.
2. Do not do it for the money.
3. Do not do it for the glamour.
4. Do it because, deep down in your heart, you know you just have to do it, because you know how to do it, and that knowledge is too much to hide inside you.
5. Do it for the love of it. Only then will you be able to cope with the realities of being an entrepreneur, which is very different from billion dollar valuations and being a media celebrity.

When biggest online players end in bankruptcy, what is the way forward for people who aim to base their business on the internet?

The biggest online players may or may not end in bankruptcy. The big ones in India are still doing reasonably well. That is why funding continues to flow in, as seen in the recent infusion in Paytm and Hike Messenger at very good valuations. The ones to fall on bad times are those that that burning cash was the best way. Some of them were not by real entrepreneurs. Dhiraj Rajaram of Mu Sigma, one of the heroes in the book, says there is a love marriage entrepreneur and there is an arranged marriage entrepreneur. The love marriage one falls in love with an idea and just has to do it. The arranged marriage one decides to be an entrepreneur and then looks for what to do. The latter ones often find it more difficult, especially if they do it at the behest of overseas fund houses or incubators.

ET Startup Awards: The night of startup stars celebrating success and optimism

BENGALURU: Faith in the innate genius of Indian entrepreneurship was top of mind at the country’s de facto startup summit, as celebration of success and optimism about the future presented an interesting contrast to the more sombre prevailing narrative.

The brightest stars of the startup firmament, government leaders, investors and senior business executives came together in India’s tech capital Bengaluru to pay tribute to the winners of The Economic Times Startup Awards, and pause to reflect on the state of affairs in one of the world’s most important startup hubs.

“Indian entrepreneurs are too talented to lose any of the global wars; it’s going to be the Indian companies,” said Avnish Bajaj, the founder of venture capital firm Matrix Partners and the winner of the Midas Touch Award for Best Investor. “And no victory is sweeter than the one which comes after a bitter war.”

More than 350 guests were on hand at the glittering ceremony to applaud winners in 8 categories.

Rock show by startup pros
The rigorous process of choosing the best of best began with nominations from peers in the startup sector and ended with the meeting of high-power jury on August 6. Zinnov and iSPIRT were ET’s knowledge partners.

The range and depth of the startups which won the awards came in for particular praise, more so because many of them were solving difficult problems with technology at the core of the solution.

Freshdesk, the Chennai-based provider of cloud-based customer support software, was awarded the Startup of the Year trophy by Nitin Gadkari, the Union minister for road transport, highways and shipping.

Flipkart cofounder Sachin Bansal; Snapdeal cofounder Kunal Bahl; Ola cofounder Bhavish Aggarwal; and Kavin Bharti Mittal, the founder of Hike Messenger, represented Indian startup ‘unicorns’ with a valuation of at least $1billion. Also joining the celebrations were Infosys cofounders Nandan Nilekani and Kris Gopalakrishnan; NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant; Biocon Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw; Quess Corp CEO Ajit Isaac; and Karnataka’s Minister of State for IT & Tourism Priyank Kharge.

True to the spirit of the occasion, the ceremony was rounded off with a scintillating musical performance by a rock band of startup professionals who came together to perform just for the evening.

Unique nature of India
Aggarwal, whose company won the inaugural ET Startup of the Year award in 2015, said in a panel discussion that it is imperative for the entrepreneurs to recognise the unique nature of India as a market, and solving local problems with home-grown solutions is the way to succeed in the country.

“Execution in an Indian environment is very different from execution in a western environment, on multiple fronts,” said Aggarwal, whose company counts Japan’s SoftBank as its main investor and competes against Uber, the world’s most valuable startup.

Kant, who has been tasked by the prime minister with preparing a comprehensive policy for ecommerce and retail, asked Indian founders to think global, and not just worry about the domestic market.

“Quite often we in India start looking at ourselves with domestic boundaries; do not do that. Think big, think large, penetrate minds,” said Kant, the architect of the Start-Up India initiative.

Gadkari’s interactive session, where he was quizzed on a range of issues related to policy and infrastructure, was a big hit with the guests. The minister came in for praise for his candour, and his willingness to proffer help where he could.

“Gadkari’s speech was very impressive. Though I couldn’t catch every word of it, my wife who talks Hindi well helped me understand it,” said Girish Mathrubootham, the cofounder of Freshdesk.

Funding in the form of growth capital for more mature startups has been on the decline during the past few months, and most consumer Internet companies are now turning their attention from growing market share to becoming profitable.

Still, startup activity in India is vibrant as young people take to entrepreneurship in ever larger numbers and earlystage funding is plentiful for good ideas.

More caution this year
“This year there has been a lot of caution. That actually is a great thing as businesses are looking at profitability and making sure metrics work,” said Meena Ganesh, the CEO of Portea Medical and the winner in the Woman Ahead category.

Like Kant, Nilekani asked founders to set ambitious targets and work backwards on operational plans, describing the ability to think big as a “mind game” that young entrepreneurs must play.

The other differentiating factors, he said, will be domestic capital and understanding of local conditions. “What I found with global companies is that they are very good when it is rolling out the same thing everywhere. The moment you come to a country and some rules change they are like deer in front of a headlight,” said Nilekani, who is also a prolific investor.

Flipkart’s Bansal, too, emphasised the value of local knowhow and domestic capital, pointing to the preponderance of Indians in early-stage funding of startups.

“For example, somebody like me taking capital from someone sitting in San Francisco not doing anything about India versus taking capital from Nandan (Nilekani) is a huge difference,” he said.

The grand show also afforded unmatched opportunities for the guests to meet peers, and FreeCharge chairman and Comeback Kid award winner Kunal Shah said he had done three months’ worth of networking in one evening.

“We are so proud of all these entrepreneurs who have taken a courageous and commendable step to fulfil their dreams. Its takes vision, determination and hard work to walk the path to success,” said Anand Kripalu, the CEO of associate sponsor United Spirits.

ITC Gardenia, the associate sponsor for hospitality, rolled out the service experience for the evening and showcased its signature cuisine for ET’s discerning guests.

courtesy from:

Kolkata Witnessing a New Dawn with Thriving Startup Population

Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi has introduced initiatives like Make in India, Skill India, Startup India and Standup India, young India is filled up with a new fire inside them. These initiatives have emboldened people to turn their vision into a reality. While earlier only Bangalore was reckoned as a startup hub, today Kolkata too is picking up the pace and coming with ever exotic ideas.


The budding entrepreneurs are coming up with innovative ideas and entering the big market. Fireflies market the fashion in a unique way. It’s one such platform which gives budding fashion youth a chance to showcase their creativity. Another breed of startup in Kolkata is sweethandi the website gives people in various corners of India to taste mouth watering Bengali sweets of Kolkata. In a year of time, a website has captivated tie-ups with known sweet brands in Kolkata.


Fireflies and sweethandi are just two example new breeds of startups in the city of joy, Kolkata. Their long list includes business ventures in real estates, smart homes, finance and much more.

Several apprehensions were expressed over this thriving entrepreneurial culture of youth like the blooming buds lack in vision and reality, they get lured away by methods of earning quick bucks and often forget their ethical responsibilities. A dip in the quality services is often witnessed due to blind eye turned by startups.


It is not feasible to run a startup alone and make it a successful venture. To maximize the capabilities of these startups at first attempt, Startup India Consultants offers exclusive services, making it a one-stop solution for all the problems.

Make in India Shows Potential in Foreign Manufacturing Units as they Beat IT Sector in Office Space

The Prime Minister-led policy of Make in India, where foreign investors were encouraged to set up manufacturing units with utmost ease and approval processes has bear great fruits as they have been able to beat IT sector in the race for office leasing. The property consultant, Knight Frank India have released reports which perfectly shows that the IT/ITeS’s dominance in office spaces of India has been overshadowed by the foreign manufacturers. They also said that changes are also seen in housing trends as people are now looking for ready-to-move-in projects.


The manufacturing sector of India has gain 2-fold jump in the first of this year.In Delhi NCR, companies such as Oppo in Noida, Samsung and Honeywell in Gurgaon have contributed highly in this sector. In Mumbai also, a high rise jump of 95% was seen in companies related to chemical and pharmaceutical. Their offices are mainly occupied in Andheri-Kurla, Bandra Kurla Complex and Powai. Same is observed in Chennai where gain is seen in service sector in the last 18 months where companies such as Renault-Nissan and Ford have acquired big market.


Moreover, the housing and commercial sector of Delhi-NCR, especially in Greater Noida has witnessed growth in Rs.50 lakhs houses in foreign manufacturers respectively. This one shows that the government initiatives are working pretty well as the results are overwhelmingly positive. This has also made sure that government policies such as Make in India, Start-Up India and many more are very productive provided they are implemented affectively.