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BW Businessworld

The Rise And Rise Of Startups

Setting up businesses and taking risks to making them successful will be the order of the world. And India will be among the leaders

Photo Credit : Shutterstock


Entrepreneurship is a steady race of life where one can experience the best and the worst things together, according to Prasoon Gupta, co-founder of Sattviko. “You need to be patient to attain something in future,” he says. The 31-year-old serial entrepreneur and an IIT graduate from Roorkee, co-founded Sattviko in 2014, and an education venture, Techbuddy Consulting in 2009 while he was still a student at IIT. “The future lies in the hands of the entrepreneurs who will create jobs,” says Gupta.

Many Indian entrepreneurs, like Gupta, have been innovating primarily for the domestic market. But the new domestic is global, a lot of newer Indian companies, especially brands, will start aiming a global presence soon. With an aim to become a $10 trillion economy over the next decade or so, India’s transformation is being powered by a few different factors – including enabling policies of the government, focus on infrastructure development, emergence of a digital economy, the demographic dividend and the rise of the entrepreneurs and startups. Currently at $2.3 trillion, which makes it No. 7 in nominal GDP terms and No. 3 in PPP terms, India is expected to become a $5-trillion economy by 2025, according to Morgan Stanley. “Disruption has become a way of life and startups need to be agile enough to adapt, reinvent or perish. Business models are constantly being challenged,” says Suja Chandy, Vice President, Invest India.

While a lot of innovations will cater to the rural India, which is set to become mainstream, Gupta sees innovation in areas such as clean water and better agricultural practices. Chandy sees growth in infrastructure, renewable energy, automotive sector, education and healthcare, and tourism.

Murugavel Janakiraman, CEO,, says that what is being witnessed currently is the first stage of entrepreneurship. “The next stage will see businesses leap frogging into the mobile ecosystem, internet will dominate and IoT, AI and automation is set to change the way businesses work in the future. In the coming years when the per capita income touches $4,000, consumer spend will increase significantly and growth will follow. Many billion dollar companies will emerge. The future of entrepreneurship is exciting.”

Despite growing challenges, entrepreneurship will be the centre stone of development in the world. “Driving innovation, creating jobs and improving lives with products, there will be a massive shift in psychology of governments. ‘Business over bullets’. Israel is a key example for that,” says Ritesh Malik, co-founder, Innov8.

For instance, campus entrepreneurs will have a bright future. “Leveraging experiences from internships and networks, students know what they want to do and are ready to experiment and fail. Design is integral to all entrepreneurs, and the plethora of options today allows learning and working concurrently,” says Jamila Varawala, Dean, Ecole intuit.lab, a French school of design and visual communication.

Regardless of race, women are half as likely as men to own employer businesses. Vanita Viswanath, Board member, Jagriti Sewa Sansthan, says that women in agriculture can be involved in value added aspects with technology use. “Focus on tools and techniques rather than attitude are enough to achieve success. For technology to create more jobs there has to be innovation and a host of access and learning changes to include the marginalised in the new innovation, knowledge, skill and operations chain. We will require corporate mind-set and responsibility to use India’s pool of labour to create profit rather than machines to create profit. Then, investment in people will happen,” says Viswanath who believes that the large corporations are a western construct that does little for India where 80 per cent self-employment is in the informal sector. “It will also be possible when we have courageous entrepreneurs who will say no to investors without a conscience,” she adds.

India is right at the cusp of a seismic offline to online shift, especially in tier 2-3 markets. For Ritesh Agarwal, CEO & founder, OYO, there is a large young demographic with a potential to impact and transform these opportunities. “Technologies like AI, ML, Cloud has created a level-playing field for first-time entrepreneurs keen on taking on the established entities making their presence felt within months, rather than years or decades,” says Agarwal whose company will soon be implementing digital register and digital keys for the convenience of guests.

“The future has humongous opportunities to travel in time like a rocket tour to space, qualifying space tourism or even Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop, a preliminary agreement with Maharashtra that is to build a super fast rail network between Pune and Mumbai,” says Vasim Shaikh, founder and CEO, The Q Experiences, specialising in unique bespoke tours for Iceland and Antarctica.

There are bound to be more new faces that will hit the entrepreneurial world and as geographies get blurred entrepreneurship will grow. Vishal Gondal, founder and CEO, GOQii Technologies sees automation of certain functions will make businesses easy and increase creativity. “Creative thinking will take over logical thinking in the future and schools will have to redefine the way education programs are delivered. Distributed computing is going to be the way forward for a successful business.”