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Stir Up The Startup Ecosystem

While the investment momentum has witnessed a slowdown this year, one can see the phenomenal value being created by young companies

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1476802822_Lbf20L_makemytrip.jpg

The Indian startup ecosystem has truly evolved, especially in the last few years. The past half decade or so, has witnessed a sea change in the country’s business scenario, led by the rise of young and unconventional entrepreneurs who with technology as an enabler, are creating path-breaking products. What’s more important is that most Indian startups aim to solve a real and existing problem and are actually delivering a differentiated consumer experience. This underlying thought of leveraging technology efficiently and effectively to create solutions to simplify lives of end consumers, is the key factor driving success for the ecosystem at large.

This positive disruption has resulted in India becoming the third largest hub for startups, with over 4,200 technology startups.

As per a recent report by NASSCOM, startups saw a cumulative investment of $5 billion in 2015. While the investment momentum has witnessed a slow down this year, one can see the phenomenal value being created by these young companies. They are playing a key role in defining new-age business models, creating newer avenues and employment opportunities for the fast growing young population of the country.

Also noticeable is how fast working dynamics are changing. I remember, when we were setting up MakeMyTrip, online travel was one of the first segments to take off in ecommerce – and it was five long years from conceptualization till the market was ready to book online. It is a different story today; with three to four new startups being born every day.

The challenges faced by entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs cannot be ignored, though. The ease of doing business in India is steadily improving, but we still rank 130 among 189 countries! It takes 29 days to set up a business in India whereas in Singapore, it takes two hours to three days to incorporate a company. The government’s startup action policy is ambitious, but the key lies in its implementation. It needs to be followed through with commensurate actions by tax authorities. The GST regime is finally taking shape and is slated to be rolled out in April 2017. This will bring the much required uniformity and clarity in the taxation regime and positively reflect in India’s ranking as a business friendly economy in the global landscape.

Further, while the concept of shared office spaces and incubators is emerging, there is still a dearth of plug-and-play office spaces and challenges of reliable connectivity. Poor infrastructure, led by chronic deficiencies in transportation and power, are a major deterrent for the startup ecosystem in India – an example being the 31st August 2016 downpour and the ensuing havoc in the the national capital when Delhi lost an estimated Rs 9.78 crore due to the bumper-to-bumper traffic! Public transport and last mile connectivity pose major challenges, especially for young startups that are often bootstrapped in their early days. These challenges, however trivial, force entrepreneurs to shift focus to solving problems that are not core to business.

While organisations like TiE and NASSCOM are doing a phenomenal job of Mentoring startups, we need more such initiatives to boost the start-up ecosystem in the country and make it as big as envisioned.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Deep Kalra

The author is founder & group CEO, Makemytrip

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