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India's startups are off to a flying start

Issac John /dubai
issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com Filed on May 24, 2017
Indias startups are off to a flying start

Startups will be the force multiplier to catapult India into a $10 trillion economy by 2030, said Sanjay Anandram, adviser at iSpirt.
(Photo by Dhes Handumon)

Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri speaks at the Startup India Summit in Abu Dhabi.
(Photo by Ryan Lim)

India, in the midst of a startup boom, is optimising to empower problem solvers

India, which is in the midst of a startup boom, is ready to retake its place as a top five global economy by 2030, when its gross domestic product will cross $10 trillion.

Sanjay Anandram, Advisor at iSpirt, a think tank for the Indian software products industry, said India is optimising to empower problem solvers.
"Startups will be the force multiplier to catapult the country into a $10 trillion economy by 2030," Anandram said at the Startup India Summit in Dubai.

He said India has the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world with record growth of 270 per cent in six years to 26,000 startups accounting for $90 billion in value creation.

In 10 years, India will have 100,000 new startups that will create jobs for 3.5 million and account for a market worth over $500 billion.

Speakers at the summit said the startup scene in India is very exciting and transformational. In the future, it will be startups that will be solving India's problems.

IT services in the last 20 years solved the world's problems, but these startups will solve domestic problems like supply chain management, education technology, medical technology, financial technology and many other important areas, speakers said.

According to experts, supported by a range of government initiatives, new companies are popping up all over India.

According to a report by Nasscom and Zinnov, for the sheer number of new tech outfits, India is now the third-largest tech startup hotspot in the world. Investment is rising, with the surge generating employment and providing solutions in areas from healthcare to agriculture.

The government's Startup India initiative promotes entrepreneurship and innovation across the country. It aims to turn India into 'a nation of job creators instead of a nation of job seekers'.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has underlined the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation in giving productive outlets to the country's talent and boosting economic growth. His slogan 'Startup India, Standup India' became a rallying point for these initiatives. They include a Startup India programme to support entrepreneurs with government schemes, as well as funds channelised through SIDBI Startup Mitra.

Several state governments in India's federal structure have also started their own startup missions.

Angel funding networks have also been coming up in both the established and emerging hubs of the country. Among them are Indian Angel Network, Mumbai Angels, Chennai Angels, Harvard Angels and Hyderabad Angels.

Individual investors like Sharad Sharma of iSpirt; Infosys co-founders Nandan Nilekani, Mohandas Pai and Kris Gopalakrishnan; Rajan Anandan of Google; Ravi Gururaj, the charismatic head of the Nasscom Product Council who recently quit to join TiE Bangalore as its president; Ajeet Khurana of Mumbai; and scores of successful entrepreneurs are also playing a part as angels as well as mentors.

The Indian ecosystem, like several other startup ecosystems around the world, is undergoing a correction after a flood of venture capital in 2014 and 2015. But the steady rise of early stage funding reinforces investor belief in the long-term potential of the ecosystem.

Experts are of the view that Indian startups, especially in sectors like e-commerce, face multiple challenges, right from operating in a highly-competitive market to cultural resistance to e-commerce. While competition with global giants like Amazon and Uber has sparked cries for protection from Indian startups, the market has already seen consolidation, with one market leader emerging as the winner in many segments.

In terms of the funding volume, or the number of startups, venture capitalists and angel investors that exist in the country, India is nowhere closer to the US.

India's startup infrastructure is also growing rapidly, at 40 per cent every year.

In 2014, according to Nasscom, India had only 300 angels, whereas the US had 300,000 angels. In the same year, there were only 156 VCs in India, while there were over 1,300 VCs in the US. India has only 10 unicorn companies, though nearly one-sixth of the world population lives in India - the US has 98 unicorns, according to the latest available data.

- issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com


Issac John

Editorial Director of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.

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