Nandan Nilekani and Vinod Khosla ward off pessimism about the Indian Tech Product Startup scene

By Jubin Mehta|5th Sep 2013
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The Indian Tech Product scene has been in a love hate relationship with its commentators ever since we saw the startup wave rise higher a few years ago. 2010 can be marked as the year when the upheaval came about (also when we launched TechSparks) and now we're nearing the high which every startup ecosystem aspires to reach. There have been a few successful exits but the current mood has turned pessimistic with the downturn in economy and questions like "Why doesn't India produce great tech product giants?" are being asked. At a recent NASSCOM event, two huge names- Nandan Nilekani and Vinod Khosla- came together for a fireside chat to talk about the Indian Tech Product scene.


Nandan Nilekani and Vinod Khosla

Nandan and Vinod both did their electrical engineering from the IIT's in the mid 70's and went on to build huge companies, Nandan did it in India with Infosys and Vinod in the US with Sun Microsystems. Nandan is now chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) while Vinod is a VC and runs his own firm, Khosla Ventures. The duo have been through the rigour for decades and were ideal candidates to speak to the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Talking about the Indian Tech Product Space, Vinod said, "Facebook is successful, yes. But it has also been around for 10 years now. Our ecosystem is just growing and I feel that one should start judging once we have 10,000 product startups in the country who've spent a considerable time."

It takes time for a startup ecosystem to evolve and mature. "We surely need all the support but it's more about getting people on the startup boat. Once we have enough number of startups, investors and platforms, we'll see the success stories," said Nilekani. The government surely needs to make it easier for entrepreneurs to thrive, but one aspect which needs to prevail is the 'positive mind set'. We've seen successes and spreading negativity is not something that'll do us any good. "Young entrepreneurs need to be encouraged and not told that it is 10 times easier to do a business elsewhere," said Khosla.

India, as an ecosystem is reaching a point where we'll start seeing successes and it's a time we need to push ahead cumulatively without being hypercritical about things.

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