What ails Indian Startups…

I often hear startup entrepreneurs ranting about VCs not funding their idea.  They point to Silicon Valley ecosystem and say the VCs out there took large bets on young upstarts and that’s how they got a Google, Amazon or Apple (alternatively their founders Larry/Sergie, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs in that order).

They also go on liberally about how Startups in India are done for money and not for passion (I am yet to see someone settling for “Nirvana” and not prosperity – anywhere in the world), Media is poor, dearth for good teams, VCs bet only on sure things and how they have no reality perspective etc…

Does that mean startups have no future in India? I say, look to the past.  You’ll get all the insights.

Imagine the India before the VCs came trooping in. There were entrepreneurs around even then. No, I am not referring to the famed Tatas, Birlas, Ambanis – I think of the millions of kiranawallas (local shop owners, general stores, sweet shops, caterers, informal event managers) that qualified far better as startups and never griped about lack of an outside investor to fund their ideas !  Several of them made it, quite a few of them may have bitten dust too.  They all had ideas, no teams, no investors – but they stood out by betting the farm (or whatever in its place), started small, settled for a street side shack (where they also slept in), kept shops open from 9.00 am to 11.00 p.m and the whole family ran errands.  One thing that never probably crossed their minds had been valuations, and all the illusions and assumptions that come with it. They just worried about stocking up enough to serve the customers the next day. Period. 

While it’s good to expect VCs to get a reality perspective, startup entrepreneurs too can do some introspection and figure out a way how not to imagine being a Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs and start thinking like a Harishbhai, Chandulal or a Kesavan nair – even as you work on something like a Google, Amazon or Oracle.  Having the right local values, (we have it by the ton) is important – if you want to make it.

So, let’s talk of `localisation’ of startup minds – for a change.  If not, just shut up and stop being livid.  I for one think, this is the best of times for Indian entrepreneurs. We never had it so good. If you can’t make it now, you’re never gonna make it. Argue with me at your own risk….

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One Response to “What ails Indian Startups…”

  1. Vivek Says:

    I agree with you. With all this noise about angels and VCs, people have forgotten the art of bootstrapping.

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