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Startups In India: The Challenging Rise

With ‘the great resignation’ the booming trend, there will be a bloodbath for top talent especially in the tech-driven fields

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In a decade which can be called the ‘techade’ of India, innovation, entrepreneurship, and startups are going to form the backbone of the country. With technology boom up and running for over two decades now, it is no surprise that new businesses are tapping into it. Recognising their importance, the government has also stepped in by reducing red-tape, easing out the registration and taxation process. Expressing confidence in Indian startups, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal had called on Indian entrepreneurs to add 75 new unicorns in 2022. This expectation is not just talk but is backed by numbers, for example the government has made INR 8085 Crore investment in 540 startups under startup india seed fund scheme

Taking the government initiative a step further, the Prime Minister declared 16th January as National Startup Day henceforth. 

Commenting on the same, Siddharth Kukatlapalli, co-Founder and CBO, Syntizen, a digital identity solutions-as-a-service platform says, “We are really excited about the announcement of "National Startup Day" and strongly believe that startups are the future. Startups provide smart solutions for problem statements in a cost-effective manner. We are also very much along the lines of Hon'ble PM's words ‘Innovate for India, innovate from India’ and look forward in providing Syntizen's digital identity solutions to more state governments followed by implementing our plans of going global.”

The acknowledgement by the government is a boost not just for all startups, but the investors as well who were earlier in two-minds regarding judicious investment of their money. It is also a confidence boost for people wanting to enter entrepreneurship but are hesitant to do so. "The Startup Industry in India must have gained a lot of confidence today as PM Modi has recognised their efforts. It takes a lot for an entrepreneur to keep up with the latest technologies, identify the unsolved and come up with the innovative solution. It is another battle to make it a win-win for consumers, investors, the startup and the country at large” adds Mr. Sarvagya Mishra, Co-Founder & Director, Superbot (PinnacleWorks)

While these developments are positive, the future of the startup industry depends on how readily they are willing to diversify. Presently, most of the startups receiving funding are in the technology sector. If we are to have our own global platform in the likes of Google, Alibaba, or DiDi, the funding must be diversified to agriculture, healthcare, education, and the like. If this does not happen, many small startups will fail in the near future, and India will hold the dubious distinction of streamlined, technology-backed unicorns only. Another potential challenge the startups may face is retaining appropriate talent. With ‘the great resignation’ the booming trend, there will be a bloodbath for top talent especially in the tech-driven fields. Another trend to be wary of is corporate two-timing, that is, when an employee holds two jobs at to different platforms, this can be risky for the organisation, especially technology driven ones that store user information.

To move ahead, we can take a leaf out of China's startup ecosystem. While both India and its northern neighbour contribute to half of the world's total startups, there is a stark difference. China has seven times the number of unicorns as India does, along with a whopping 30 million startups. This is more than the population of some small countries. The primary reason for their success is the large number of incubators in the country, which provides mentorship, seed funding, training etc to aspiring entrepreneurs. India has 520 incubators at present, which my seem like a significant number, but is a small percentage of the 11,800 incubators China has to offer. If we add India's top three most valuable startups. that is, Paytm, Byju's, and OYO, with a valuation of USD 16 Bn, 10.5Bn, and 10Bn respectively, it is still less than half of China's ByteDance's valuation of USD 75Bn. This is the gargantuan value effective mentoring can add to the startups ecosystem in India. 

On the bright side, China's startup ecosystem is already fairly mature and investors are looking to branch out to new destinations, India is one of them. What is best for the country at this stage is to take lessons from leading global players and imbibe them for effective results. When there is growth, there will be challenges. However, things are looking up for the Indian startup ecosystem with bridges being crossed as one approaches them.




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