‘India has potential to create the next Apples and Googles’

Mumbai: If Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Uber were created in the United States by solving everyday problems faced by a billion people living in the Western world, the next big startups could come from India. This mood sums up the entrepreneurship meet organised at the IIT-Bombay, and with the subcontinent having multiple problems that need solving, especially in the areas of agriculture, food, health, financial inclusion and construction, the Indian government assumes a significant role in the emergence of these tech giants.

Addressing budding entrepreneurs at the two-day IIT Bombay E-Summit, Venkatesh Shukla, general partner, Monta Vista Capital & president, TiE, Silicon Valley, said, “Despite the hype on technology startups, they only contribute 10% to the GDP of the US and 5% to employment. Food, agriculture and construction are completely unaffected by these technology giants. Inclusion of these sectors will enable tech startups to scale up to the next level, and this is a great time to be an entrepreneur.”

Mr. Shukla said American tech startups began by solving problems of the developed world, and scaled up globally. India, he added, has several problems that Indian startups can solve for five billion people in the world. “And thus, entrepreneurs from India have huge potential to create the next round of technology giants. Tech companies from India have more likelihood of success than those from China, as China didn’t allow the entry of global tech giants, while India did, and learned from the Googles and Apples.”

Learn from Israel

Speaking at the event, Tel Aviv-based Guy Horowitz, an investment partner at Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners said India, like Israel, Singapore and South Korea, can help create technology giants by sponsoring and nurturing them from an early stage. With only 8.5 million people in the landlocked country, he says Israel has no scope for homegrown startups to scale up, so most Israeli entrepreneurs go to the US from where they build global companies and develop products and solutions for the world.

Mr. Horowitz said, “There is no local market for startups in Israel; one has to focus on the global market. So, most startup entrepreneurs go to the US because English is the common language. Because we fought seven wars in less than 70 years of our existence, we are tuned to develop solutions for military preparedness. We also develop solutions for global markets which have similar concerns.”

He said when it comes to funding startups and nurturing them, the Israel government is second to none. “The government promotes and incentivises innovation, as do Singapore and South Korea. The Indian government should be doing the same.”

The E-Summit, which attracted both local and global entrepreneurs, has emerged as a major event in this part of the world for nurturing and encouraging local talent.

It also helps them access the best advice and encouragement from those who have witnessed near-death situations and multiple failures on the way to building billion-dollar companies.

Kunal Bahl, co-founder and CEO, Snapdeal, said the hallmark of entrepreneurship was navigating twists and turns of business and remaining focused to achieve one’s dream. He said one should have a co-founder who shared the same vision. “The hallmark of co-founders is mutual respect. Your relationship will be put to huge stress and you need to trust each other. I’m blessed to have Rohit [Bansal] as my co-founder. I have so much respect for his intellect and he lets me to take important decisions. That is the type of relationships co-founders must have.”

He said a startup entrepreneur shouldn’t fear failure, and needs to have the courage and conviction to continue. “One day, the hurricane will pass and you will see the clear sky.”

He said entrepreneurs graduating from quality educational institutions must be fearless, keep things simple, be focused and enjoy life so that the ups and down in business could be faced in a seamless manner.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 5:01:25 PM |

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