“ The Indian startup boat has left our shores to reach global markets. There is no turning back. If the boat does not move fast enough, our companies will move away and incorporate in other countries.”
– Asha Jadeja Motwani
The Startup India program launched by Prime minister Narendra Modi in January 2016 to support startups under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is recognizing 26 startups on a daily basis. The tech startups in India have raised $11.3 billion so far in 2019, a substantial jump from last year’s $10.5 billion, according to research firm Tracxn. What can be done to accelerate the progress of these startups? How can they gain global status?
In a candid interview with The Economic Times at TiE Delhi NCR’s Global Summit 2019, Grand keynote speaker, Silicon Valley’s VC Asha Jadeja Motwani, shared her views on how Indian startups can contribute to the goal of a $5 Trillion economy by 2025 and even overshoot it to reach a $10 Trillion economy. Lock-step with the theme “Indian Startups. Global Footprints” Asha compared Indian startups to a boat set afloat in global waters that had yet to reach distant shores.
Asha Jadeja thinks that the Indian ecosystem is still not conducive to startups- while angel investors are vibrant in today’s India, there is much left to be desired. Cutting red tape and implementing bold economic policies will definitely fuel their growth. Also, Indian policy makers need to be part of the macroeconomic world and talk in global terms to compete in the world economy. “Are we losing our promising startups to USA and Canada? What can we all do as stakeholders to fix the system?” she asks the audience.
Her opinion is that startups do not come out of government initiatives and investment in incubators. On the contrary, they start in garages, dorms, and perhaps grandma’s bedroom! Startups also emerge from founders who discover a pain point while working in a large corporation and subsequently embark on creating a startup to alleviate the pain. “No one can better mentor a startup than individuals who have created successful companies themselves” she says.
She advises startups that focus on global problems to pursue “Social Capital” funds to seed their companies. These funds are similar to venture funds but have a longer timeline of 20-25 years for return on investment and Indian startup companies that are focused on social entrepreneurship are the “lowing hanging fruit” for the funds.
The Indian startup story journey is a fascinating- starting with copying Western counterparts a few years ago but quickly moving to disrupt in brand new markets. Buoyed by bold, fresh economic policies and reduced red tape, Indian startups can truly lead the world.