National Startup Day: What it means to run a startup in India today

On India's first National Startup Day on January 16, 2022, we speak to founders to learn what it means to run a startup in present day India.
15 CLAPS
0

Vineeta Singh, Co-founder and CEO, SUGAR Cosmetics

India has been one of the fastest growing markets globally. Also the Indian consumers have been continuously evolving, with a large sized young demographic, being easy adapters of newer technologies, with growing purchasing power. This rightly makes India a favourable market with strong potential for any apt startup idea to exponentially flourish. In addition to this, the gaining Government recognition for Startups on India by launching different schemes and easing regulations has only made the future of startups in the country stronger.

Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Director and Co-founder, Wakefit.co

In this day and age, to start up in India is a privilege and an honour, because good startups are creating sustainable employment, opening up new avenues of doing business and reaching a large majority of people. These opportunities were hitherto not present, so it's a privilege to be a part of an ecosystem that is enabling this. 

Apeksha Gupta, CEO and Creative director of John Jacobs Eyewear

There cannot be a better time to be a start up in India. There is a high regard for homegrown businesses, consumer sentiment is buoyant, and there is a strong sense of community amongst start ups. All of these facilitate access to ideas, resources and capital like never before.

Sateesh Andra, Managing Director, Endiya Partners

It isn't about the unicorns or soonicorns or quantum of funding, but all about entrepreneurship being a way of life. A few years back entrepreneurship was seen as a career, social and monetary risk, someone working for a startup versus an MNC was viewed very differently. But now it is different, startups have started contributing the GDP. It is about enabling the entire startup ecosystem not just on a city level but across all parts of the country, across all sectors - education, financial services, healthcare. Can we see healthy startups across India solving these problems? This will take our ecosystem to the next level.

Sushant Kumar, CEO & MD, AMO Mobility Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

We are catering to 1.3 billion consumers, which is a thrilling experience. But what's to take notice is that, in regards to raising foreign investment in Indian startups, India is overtaking the likes of Shanghai and Beijing with Bengaluru taking the lead. We are hopefully other cities will start showing progress

Anup Jain, Managing Partner, Orios Ventures 

Indian startup ecosystem has crossed an inflection point in 2021. 46 unicorns, 11 IPOs and investments at 14x of what was 10 years ago. The national startup day recognises the role this ecosystem is playing in India's economy and history alike.

Anshuman Narain, Vice President, CashBean (P.C.Financial Services Pvt. Ltd.)

Startup in India means a blue ocean of opportunity and leapfrogging the Indian economy many levels above. It means also tackling its own unique set of challenges but the impact of a successful model once those challenges are overcome are tremendous.

Sanket Shendure, Co-founder and CEO, Minko

A startup in India today means possibilities - to change the status quo, solve hard problems and be a part of creating history while contributing to nation building

Anshuk K Aggarwal, Co- founder, AdYogi

Digital penetration in India has continuously seen an increasing trend, and that too at a rapid pace. So, to startup in India today would mean having the unique opportunity of tapping into the constantly growing “new user base” as more and more people come online for the first time. 

Dhruv Sawhney, Business Head and COO nurture.farm 

The sheer size, scale and diversity of service delivery in India proves it to be a startup hub. With a billion-plus population to serve, there are a plethora of services and offerings that, when innovated, can change the standard or ease of living for millions of people. This makes being a startup in India exciting and gives startups a sense of mission to change the lives of people for good and make a difference with their offerings.  

Naiyya Saggi, Co-founder Good Glamm Group, Founder & CEO, BabyChakra

It is a privilege today to start up in India. Many of us, including me, moved back to India to start up despite having multiple opportunities in the US and other geographies. 

India is at an incredibly exciting juncture right now. Last year alone we had 44 Unicorns in India , digital penetration is rapidly growing, brands are only just being built and consumers are using the internet to articulate their unmet needs and identify new choices. 

At the Good Glamm group , we are one of the largest house of brands and content communities that exist just to serve the new generation of Indians and address their needs across personal care, mom, baby, mens and beauty. 

Many of these needs are essential needs (such as what BabyChakra serves : needs around the best care of information and products through pregnancy and Childcare).

This is why it is so exciting to build in India : when you build in India and for India you have a shot at creating a company that while solving real problems and unmet needs can rapidly become a partner to hundreds of millions of Indians. 

Also today is a time when we have finally let go of any baggage and as a generation of consumers and companies are proud to choose and declare that we are made in India. Overall: never a better time to build in India.

Zafar Imam, CEO, FinShell

The Indian startup ecosystem is among the top three in the world. There are more than 50,000 startups in India and the number is growing every year. This sector is expected to grow at 20% or more YOY. Investors across the globe are willing to invest in Indian startups. The support of the Government will open new opportunities for them and may remove some bureaucratic hurdles. 

Roshan Farhan, Founder & CEO - Gobillion

India is an intrinsically entrepreneurial country, people have always innovated and solved business problems in a cost effective way. The challenge/opportunity for us is to build world class, scalable companies.

 

India represents a big market opportunity - there are of course multiple challenges initially starting up, but once you get product market fit, it's one of the best markets to be present in currently.

 

Governmental support will go a long way in helping early stage startups grow.

Arshia Pasricha - Founder and CEO of WLTH (We Love To Heal)

Startups in India are a part of a larger business environment and have evolved dynamically in all dimensions in the last two decades. The Indian market is a tough nut to crack as convincing the average Indian consumer to pay more for quality is hard, especially when innovative products targeted at niche audiences are in question. The Indian customer base has little willingness to pay for quality products and prefers buying discounted and inferior products at the expense of quality. 

 

Startups in India face a challenge to create affordable solutions without compromising on quality as most businesses are volume-driven with low margins. Launching a startup in India requires an undying spirit and balls of steel. Entrepreneurship requires a relentless and resilient attitude regardless of the country or industry. 

Dr. Srikanth Sola, CEO and Founder, Devic Earth Pvt. Ltd 

Startups in India have a head start compared to their peers in most countries. With more than $20 billion in venture capital investments in 2021, the Indian startup ecosystem is the 3rd largest in the world. I've seen a huge influx of talent, support, and growth opportunities in the startup community in the last 4 years, when our startup began.

Neha Khanna, Director, ValPro

The startup ecosystem has seen maturity over the last decade with support from build up of a talent pool, infusion of $42B in 2021 alone, and certain measured in ease of doing business.

Prashant Pitti, Co-founder, EaseMyTrip 

India has always been a place of opportunities where we look at creating prosperity and also, solve a problem with a solution that is practical at all levels. This is where the idea of start-up comes into play and we are proud to have so many successful names that are globally recognised. 

Startup in India also stands for inspiration where being a startup helps in bringing plenty of passionate individuals to work towards solving a problem by creating a relevant solution and helping millions of people. 

This is what we had in mind when we started EaseMyTrip where the idea was to redefine the way people travel in India. We aimed at making the travel hassle-free by not charging any convenience fee for the first time in India. 

We also believe that creating something exceptional is also a trademark of a start-up and in that regard, we have remained profitable since inception. We also believe that now, with the support from the Indian government, the Indian startups are not just roaring but ready to dominate at the global level.  

Ujjwal Singh, CEO-Infinity Learn by Sri Chaitanya

Through innovation and scalable technology, start-ups in India are generating impactful solutions, and acting as vehicles for socio-economic development and transformation. Startups are also emerging as important engines for generating employment (EdTech start-ups account for the highest number of job creation in India).

The digitisation or use of technology in education has helped quality education penetrate to all parts of the country, especially the Tier-II and III cities. With Technology tools EdTech companies have helped democratise the access to high quality education (plus quality teachers) and facilitate student engagement. Massive tech disruptions across the country have successfully executed the mammoth task that was earlier unimaginable.

As part of this cusp, Infinity Learn by Sri Chaitanya believes in leveraging technology in education, boosting the ever-growing needs for Schools (online or offline) in the country.

Udita Pal, Co-founder, Salt 

Starting Up in India contributes toward building reliable, uplifting products for everyone in the community and bringing everyone closer to the better side of consumer and enterprise experience.

Deb Mukherjee, Founder & CEO, Ceres Foods Pvt. Ltd

As a startup in India, one gets the opportunity to contribute in nation building and add to the growth of the economy, and ecosystem. Moving away from the mindset of being a job seeker to becoming a job creation. 

Aanan Khurma, Founder, Wellversed 

Firstly, Indian markets are in general horizontal with few pockets that have vertical depth. This means that 95 percent of the startups that operate in non-vertical-depth pockets are confined to grow with the ambit of the market. 

For eg. several startups have spent a decade in the pet-parenting market before the market evolved sufficiently for them to grow faster. Secondly, the early-stage talent pool in India is not equipped and well-versed with the skills to create world-class products and operations. 

Thirdly, this is a land of me-too players with fewer and fewer people being driven by purpose and more being driven by the monetary aspects of things. In essence, starting up in India is full of challenges yet entails huge rewards for people who are willing to work patiently towards expanding the market, cultivating talent, and are driven by a purpose. 

Nruthya Madappa, Head of Growth and Capital Development, 3one4 Capital

To startup in India today is a unique opportunity to build world class products for a new and emerging consumer globally. The rapid rise in domestic demand for digital products and services, coupled with significant digital infrastructure investments and reform have set the stage for Indian founders to usher in a decade of unmatched transformation through entrepreneurship. 

Vinayak Bhavnani, Co-founder and CTO, CHALO

Perhaps the most diverse country on Earth, India is an unmissable opportunity for startups now. The last few years have been testament to this, but I believe we have just scratched the surface. India offers a large number of opportunities to build startups in areas that genuinely make lives better, and contribute to the socio-economic development of our people. These startups will create wealth for everyone.

Vedang Patel, Co-founder, The Souled Store 

Starting up in India comes with its own unique challenges but also unique opportunities to tap into one of the world's biggest markets. 

Prashanth Prakash, Accel Partners

India'a startups are now switching gear into hyper mode where new large inflows of global capital, entrepreneurial talent and deep problem solving ideas are converging to help redefine and reimagine the economic engine that helps drive the New India Economy going forward.

Nandini Mansinghka, CEO and Co-Founder of Mumbai Angels 

The startup ecosystem in India is the 3rd largest in the world and has started maturing over the past 5 years. And with the influx of tech-enabled and non-tech innovations from Tier II & Tier III cities, the startup ecosystem in India will expand exponentially if given the right support and guidance.

Gaurav Manchanda, Founder & Director, The Organic World 

There has never been a better time to be part of the startup economy of India than now. It has witnessed burgeoning growth over the years and there has been an increasing global recognition and acknowledgement of India’s startup prowess. 

A startup in India goes beyond being a fledgling business entity with a great idea - it is the very manifestation of the vibrant dreams of so many young Indians, who are daring to dream, to push the boundaries; who are not scared to push hard, hustle, grind and make their mark nationally and internationally. 

We now have start-ups spanning industries and there are currently more than 60,000 startups in the ecosystem. There are around 90 unicorns in India, making us the third largest unicorn hub in the world. Not only does this mean development of unique solutions and products, start-ups today are also playing a key role in providing employment opportunities.  

PC Musthafa, Co-founder and CEO, ID Fresh 

If there is one segment that has been leading India's success story, despite the challenges witnessed in the last two years, it is the exponential growth of the startup ecosystem.

Over the years, startups have fostered India's economic growth, and created massive opportunities for everyone, especially the youth. I'm personally overwhelmed with the amount of talent we see in India, today. And it's not just limited to Bangalore, Delhi or any other metropolitan cities. 

Entrepreneurs from smaller towns are solving some of the most immediate issues and challenges being faced by us. The scale at which they're innovating and growing makes me confident about our future and India's dominance in this space.

Vikash Pacheriwal, Co-founder, Raisin 

The Indian Startup space is seeing an amazing response and this is the best time to literally 'start up'. There are several investors, thought leaders & advisors ready to guide young brand owners and take them through their journey.

Five years down the line, the start-up ecosystem in our country is going to mature manifold and those who will start in 2022 or before, would get an amazing response moving forward.

This is the best time to jump on the start-up bandwagon and put your idea into action.

Arshhya Chabbra, Founder, Alive and Well, Personal Care Brand 

The startup culture is like changing the way Indian's do business today. We have seen in the past year that many start-ups have become unicorns which gives hopes to our budding entrepreneurs.

Earlier, in India, the entrepreneurial spirits were low. Those who wanted to go down this road were confined to several impractical rules and regulations. 

The real spike in the Indian start-up ecosystem was realized after the 2008 recession which truly emerged in 2020-2021 when we were in the middle of a pandemic. The Indian economy’s dream to become self-reliant did act as fuel for the entrepreneurs.

Garima Surana, Co-founder, Sochcast 

India is often described as “the poster child of emerging markets” for its vast commercial potential for startups. In a country with a population of nearly 1.3 billion people, even niche products can have significant market potential. Its screaming potential for every sector. The government has been spearheading initiatives to make start up culture mainstream and nurture innovation among Bharat & young India. 

Binal Patel, Designer and Founder, TheRealB

A startup in India means having a spacious room for growth. Because of the technological developments happening at a faster pace in India, a startup can now reach the masses easily and provide an unimaginable customer experience like never before.

Ravi Kallayil, CEO & Co-founder, Plaeto

India is a hotbed for startups. What initially started as a technology only driven growth, has now expanded into several varieties of industries. Today, we have startups ranging from food to footwear and technology to healthcare. 

 

This itself is a testimony to the fact that India provides the necessary ammunition and amenities for new ventures/businesses to thrive. To list out some of the advantages of starting up in India would be:

  • Opportunity to access one of the largest yet most value demanding markets in the world
  • Opportunity to leverage the high aspirational levels in India
  • Chance to use the pretty large source base to make product that can solve India specific problems
  • To bring the idea of innovation to a greater level into a market that has leaned on foreign companies to drive it so far to large extent
  • Access to great technical talent and labour pool in India

As a product led startup, which is into children's footwear, we wanted not just to set-up a venture here but also wanted to make the product in India and contribute to its Make-in-India mission. And, with the easy sourcing of raw materials locally, we were able to get a great head-start. We're extremely bullish on India's startup growth and the opportunities available in the market. 

Harsh Pokharna, Co-founder and CEO, OKCredit 

The country has the third largest startup ecosystem in the world and it is expected to witness a consistent annual growth of 12-15 percent. There has been a great support system over the last few years both at the central and state level, that’s encouraging and pushing people towards entrepreneurship. Through the Start-up India ecosystem many benefits have been provided thus enabling them to grow. 

With continuous job creation, the government is certainly valuing the work done by startups. The Start-up policies in over 26 states have made it less cumbersome for individuals to bring their ideas to life. The current systems encourage innovation amongst individuals, thus boosting the start-up economy and are also inspiring women to take the lead.

Narendra Pasuparthy, Chief Farmer, CEO & Founder, Nandu’s

India has one of the most vibrant and energetic startup ecosystems in the world. The opportunities that our vast market provides is the reason why India has become a global player in many of the industry segments. In fact, in some industry cases, the size of India's market is larger than the population of certain Western countries.  What is more interesting is the fact that the youth of India is driving this incredible growth. Constant innovations and cutting-edge technologies are helping us to build solutions not just for India but for the world. 


With inputs from Priyanka Shah and Ankit Das

Edited by Anju Narayanan

Latest

Updates from around the world