By Sony Joy
In the last couple of years, India has been getting a great amount of capital that is funding start-ups. Unlike many decades earlier, the best global funding agencies are also coming to India and some of the leading multinationals have also set base in India. Technically, we have never had such a good opportunity like this ever. This gold rush to and in the country has also unfortunately thrown up a lot of people to start up who lack basic fundamentals and whose founders do not have good content. In 2016, with the government being proactive about the sector, it is hoped that checks and balances will be in place.
In some sectors, the competition is so intense that many have had to shut shop. The food delivery business, for instance. This will lead investors to rethink their strategy and reconsider where and whom to fund in this nascent sector in India. There is also the risk of some good people missing the fund bus now. Earlier, start-ups were a phenomenon that was witnessed largely emerging out of metro cities of the country. Bengaluru remains the start-up capital of the country. But the initiative to start-up and come out with innovation products and services has percolated to Tier 2 and 3 cities. A person living in a small town who realises that a Flipkart or Snapdeal can’t deliver there comes up with an idea that works for the big giants and also reaches to the far-flung customers in the country.
The cost of starting up is at an all-time low. What do you need? Just a website, a mobile connection, a server. All this is available on the cloud. If you have a brilliant coding guy, he can start-up. A decade ago, starting up was a costly affair. Now the ecosystem is evolving and there are a host of support systems that enables the sector.
To be able to get the right capital at different stages of the start-up is crucial. If the capital is less, the start-up suffers but if it gets more than it deserves, it ends up spoiling it for itself and also for others in the sector. We have a tendency to focus on the success stories. But for every one start-up that hits the bull’s eye, there are 1000 that does not.
The attitude towards start-ups too has changed in the country. This change has happened recently and it may not last for long. In this scenario, it is the time to push forward with schemes and plans from the government to benefit the sector. There is good penetration of smartphones in the country and that brings in a lot of customers to the start-up ecosystem. This is only increasing by the day and consequently the opportunities are growing like never before.
The government should benchmark what is being provided to customers so that customer complaints can be solved. For instance, telecom regulatory authorities should ask companies why there is call drops and customers severely affected by it. I expect the government to put such regulatory norms in place so that there is accountability at all levels. The government should proactively involve itself in ensuring that infrastructure and raw material sourcing is made easier so that the start-up ecosystem can thrive vibrantly in the country.
Just by having one million people we are not going to build one billion companies. We need infrastructure, access to capital, ease of doing business norms to be able to function at optimal level and rise to the top ranking in start-ups globally.
Start-ups are not only about tech but also about education and how it can be introduced in the curriculum in school and colleges. The government should take a proactive step in making entrepreneurship a viable and attractive option for students.
Though the government is taking a good first step by being proactive to the start-up sector, it should not be too involved with the sector, too. The government should play the role of an enabler, come out with the right policies and ensure that these are implemented on time and focus on giving a fair play arena to all those who wish to start-up.
The author is CEO & Founder, Chillr, a Mumbai-based payment app company