TiE president, Atul Nishar says while Indians make up one percent of the US population they contribute to one-third of Silicon Valley’s startups.
Atul Nishar has been a big supporter of startups, especially after he sold Hexaware Technologies to PE firm Barings Asia in 2013 for Rs 1000 crore.
Earlier, he had sold Aptech, a pioneer in the computer training sector, to another big Indian investor, Rakesh Jhunjunwalla in 2005.
Atul recently took over as President of TiE Mumbai. He spoke with YourStory about startup life and the “business” of being an entrepreneur.
Here are the edited excerpts:
YS. TIiE has been around for several years now, what has it achieved so far?
AN: Over the past many years, TiE Mumbai has played a pivotal role in promoting the startup culture and also mentoring, helping and funding startups in the Greater Mumbai region. TiE Mumbai represents over 2,500 startups in the Greater Mumbai Region, and has successfully connected with and mentored over 2,000 entrepreneurs and startups over the last few years. Over 1000 startups have also been successfully connected to investors.
Going forward, our effort would be to play a far more proactive and result-oriented role.
YS. As you take over as President of TIE, how would make it relevant in an era which sees an unprecedented change in digital technologies?
AN: At TiE, our challenge is to create the right ecosystem to make Mumbai the new startup capital of India. We plan to work with various stakeholders especially the government and help in formulating policies, thereby playing a significant role in the mission of Startup India.
To do this, TiE Mumbai will engage actively with :
· State governments and its various departments
· Regulators including RBI, SEBI and Stock Exchanges
· Investing community like the Private Equity Funds, Venture Capital Funds, Family Offices, Angel Investors and Angel Networks
· Educational bodies like IIT, engineering colleges and management schools
· Corporate entities
Going forward, TiE Mumbai would act as a bridge, connecting all entrepreneurs across India to the investing community and regulators.
YS. Is Indian entrepreneurship creating impact in the country, and globally?
AN: Indian entrepreneurship has been well acknowledged and appreciated in the US. At just one percent of US population, Indians contribute to one-third of Silicon Valley startups. Indians are popular as people of knowledge, innovation, and courage.
A startup revolution has started in India and at TiE Mumbai, we will play a role in channelising these energies into nation building.
YS. I often feel India comprises several islands of excellence and opportunities; when do you see a symbiotic relationship with entrepreneurs and giving back to society much like how the IT industry gave back to society in the 90s and the last decade?
AN: Let us divide entrepreneurs into two categories: those who have been successful and others who still in startup mode.
Corporate organisations are already playing an active role in funding and supporting a number of new ventures. There is an increasing awareness of the importance of innovation and disruptive technologies in helping the established companies grow in the competitive world.
Young entrepreneurs are making a huge contribution by showing courage and taking risks by leaving secure careers to pursue their passion and start new ventures. They are comfortable in using digital technologies and are making a serious effort to disrupt established business models. Just like the growth of IT industry, this is a silent revolution taking place.
YS. Have you mentored startups, what are the common mistakes made by entrepreneurs while starting up, scaling up, and signing customers?
AN: My family business regularly invests in startups and we have made material investments in six startups. I have also joined the board of two companies. My team is actively involved in supporting all our investee companies.
My investments include:
Acko Technology & Services Pvt. Ltd: It owns 100 percent subsidiary, Acko General Insurance Co. Ltd., a digital general insurance company.
Allygrow Technologies Pvt. Ltd: It is a technology driven organisation that focuses on core engineering design, development and manufacturing engineering services.
www.avagmah.com: Avagmah provides access to a world-class education, seamlessly blended with intuitive technology for the ease of studying anytime, anywhere on any device. The degree earned from their partner universities is the same if one attends classes in-person. With Avagmah, one can learn while one earns.
www.hopscotch.in: Hopscotch is in the business of e-commerce retail of quality products for kidswear, shoes and goodies, etc.
www.juno.clinic: Juno Clinic is an online platform that helps people receive online counselling for emotional and psychological problems from their therapists. All therapists are qualified and experienced psychologists and psychiatrists who provide counselling through video, audio, or chat sessions.
www.nykaa.com: Online beauty and wellness store sells make-up, skin, hair, bath and body, herbal, beauty and wellness products. It is also in the business of manufacturing and marketing of own private label cosmetic, beauty products and accessories under Nykaa brand name.
YS: Can you tell us more about your engagement with stock exchanges?
AN: TiE Mumbai is currently engaged with SEBI and stock exchanges to provide the right platform for the startups to get listed and raise funds. This will also bring greater governance and discipline in the functioning of startups, thereby, enhancing their branding and image in India.
The existing MSME listing platform, in spite of initial scepticism proved to be a great success with approximately 400 companies getting listed. TiE Mumbai is confident of creating a similar success story with startups.
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