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India’s startup culture: a blooming flower?

Time provides its definition by the presence of a few milestone magnets in every decade. This decade has primarily referred to as the “Decade of Startups.” Start-up has duly converted itself into a digital ecosystem which has lured thousands of young brains which are talented. Good news for the people in our country is that India has prolifically joined the race of creative startups.

“Sublime” is the word which efficiently defines the story of the growth of Indian startups. Indian startups were at a crossroad, in 2017, which is quite recently.

Startups were the means of attraction because of its high-ticket rounds of funding, excessive capital, and escalated valuations in the past couple of years from 2014 to 2016. But the harsh conditions experienced by the startups now, are showcasing the actual reality of startups.

Seeing the conditions faced by these startups, the Narendra Modi Government has initiated many programs for the upbringing of these startups. One such program is the ambitious “Startup India” program which was announced in January last year. The announcement of this program had led to some severe development of the startup trend.

The Origin for the Idea of Startups:

When it comes to the concept of business and trade, India is considered the well-versed. Trading activities started in India, during the 1st century at the time of the Kanishka Empire and had continued till the ’80s.

It was in the ’80s when the nation firmed its stand on commodities such as jute, spice, and cotton. As many of the observers opine, every Indian has the idea of owning a business running in his veins.

The post-independence era started to transform itself into a new shape which was in previously in confine with the religious, cultural, and social acerbity. It was the lack of support from political parties, rigid policies for export and import, not so favorable laws and lack of research initiative which hindered the growth of entrepreneurship during that period.

The entrepreneurship sector started to bloom more rapidly in the mid 80’s period. It was the commencement of N.A.S.S.C.O.M. in 1988, which enhanced this blooming period. Soon after its launch, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi announced the “Liberalization of Computer Industry.” It was then the startup industry had no looking back, and the digital ecosystem started to progress gradually.

Development of the Startup Ecosystem:

The next few decades helped in witnessing a prominent growth across the economic and social sectors for the entrepreneurial ventures. It was the change in a political and economic environment which drove the momentum towards entrepreneurship. Due to this, the last decade has significantly witnessed the improvement in growth of quality startups in India.

Many Institutions have started to bestow business and academic interest in startups nowadays. These institutions have exhibited immense potential and proficiency in the last few years. This quality of these institutions has made them venture into the Indian startup ecosystem as global investors.

More than 5000 startups have got registered in the country and that too in the technology sector alone. This fact gets justified by the N.A.S.S.C.O.M. report published in the year 2017. The numbers produced here include startups belonging to many areas of concern such as Education, Healthcare, Financial, Agriculture, and Clean Energy. These areas are where the technology sector has made a more substantial impact.

How do these Startups Accumulate Funds:

Young talents all over India have embraced the Policy initiatives and efforts of the Indian Government. These policies are duly supported by many institutions, also. But, some gaps remain as loopholes in these policies. These gaps have asked for a more profound and closer introspection of the current scenario.

India is the third-largest startup ecosystem right after the U.S., and U.K. India is a country which also houses around 5000 tech startups. This attribute has made it one of the best digital ecosystems in the world.

An ecosystem is sometimes about the holistic participation of the stakeholders, which includes market opportunities, startups, institutions, V.C., and the Government.

It is heartening to see that India stands ahead of most of the developing nations in the world. But a question to ponder is that is the country leading the race of being a global startup ecosystem? Or is it close in being so?

Looking at the global scenario, we can see that the E.U., US, Israel, and the U.K. are the hottest startup hubs. These nations are leading in the race always due to their history of being a friendly nation for entrepreneurs.

But the fact is that Israel is a developing nation and comes as an exception on this race. Many countries should learn from Israel on how it achieved such astonishing success in the field of startups, though it is a younger player in the global market.

The Latest Data About the Startup Culture in Israel:

Except for the U.S. and China, Israel houses a higher number of Nasdaq-listed companies compared to other countries. The Forbes report of 2016 justified this attribute.

Israel boasts of a capacity which encloses more number venture capital funds, scientists, startups and technical professional in comparison with other countries in the world. This comparison was drawn by taking into account the per capita basis of the country.

Nearly 1000 startups have produced in the country in a year. It encloses active startups which are of the number around 4,300 to 6000. Agriculture, Automotive, Wearable Technology, and Cybersecurity are the leading sectors of Israel startups.

The Indian ecosystem of startups has a landscape which has been in domination by service-based applications and e-commerce. India is still striving hard to find authentic agro-based startups, although it is one of the largest agrarian economies in the world.

The Analysis of Indian Startup Ecosystem:

It is the time to think of an idea which can help in introspecting and analyzing the startup ecosystem of India rather than criticizing it. When compared with other leading countries in the world, India lags way behind in numbers.

What is the main reason for such a figure? The fact is that we lack a sound system which can help in gauging the quality and competency of these startups venturing in India.

A nation which has more than a billion number in the population, a meager amount of 200 million people can speak in English. This number translates roughly to around 20% of the total population in the country. Adding more salt to the wounds here, more than 70% of the population continues to live in villages, which is around 700 million.

This attribute is the prime reason why multinational corporations are finding it hard to penetrate the semi-urban and rural markets in India.

So what is the solution for such a scenario? Can we transfer such amount of people to cities? No, right? Therefore at such situations, home startups provide with an efficient solution. Home startups are also gaining immense opportunities in the country if some reports are taken into consideration.

The Existing ecosystem of startups in the country has flooded with startup pitching events, workshops, presentations, seminars, and so on. The support and appreciation of our young generations are getting nowadays is quite overwhelming.

But a question remains everywhere, which is, “Are they utilizing these opportunities in the right manner?” Are they correctly planning their startup businesses?

Development of the Working Nature while Setting up Startups in the Country:

Many young leaders who have launched their startups are very eager to know more about the process of marketing, funding, sales, and accounting. But less do these leaders think about innovation, community integration, relevance, sustainability, and skill-building.

Yes, the significant part of startups indeed revolves around funding and accounting. However, analyzing the market size, everyone has to think differently rather than being conventional about their businesses, right? If everyone starts to feel the same way, then how can they evolve and enhance their startup businesses in the coming future?

Factors for Developing Startups the Right Way:

This factor is the reason everyone calls for the right amount of guidance, exposure, and directions to be taught to these young startups. There are lots of ways to inherit the financial support needed for your startup. But if you lack the right direction, then all that money would be fit for nothing.

Pro-active government policies and private players have to step in such scenarios which can help in creating a more sustainable startup environment. Innovation is the key to achieve a high amount of excellence, whether it be entrepreneurship or students venture startups.

A collaborative approach should be under pursuance among the multilateral stakeholders who can provide much-needed exposure from the private sector. Enhancing this trait can be further done by mentoring and seed funding to the innovative ideas invented.

Prominent Initiatives by Government and Agencies to Boost Startups:

Startups, on the one hand, are duly in support by agencies such as N.A.S.S.C.O.M., CII, T.I.E., and others. On the other hand, it is always motivated and supported by the policies and initiatives of the Government.

One such initiative is N.A.S.S.C.O.M.’s “10,000 Startups Initiative,” which got started in the year 2013. The target of this undertaking is to assist the growth of 10,000 startups in India over the next ten years.

This initiative got founded with the primary goal of building entrepreneurial capabilities, fostering the startup ecosystem, and also in bringing a considerable value and change in the startup ecosystem. All this transpired fabricated in the F.A.M.E. model of the initiative. The F.A.M.E. model is as follows:

  1. Funding: N.A.S.S.C.O.M. first used to shortlist startups which needed its assistance. Once shortlisted, it helped them in raising money through prominent investors. The funding included venture capitals, angel funding, micro venture capitals, and funds from the Government.
  2. Acceleration: The shortlisted startups were employed to work with top accelerators of the industry. The initiative offered exceptional prospects and provided an ideal way by working with top accelerators.
  3. Mentoring: The initiative used to avail focused workshops from eminent personalities for these shortlisted startups. These workshops were conducted on various subjects such as market strategies, product management, and pitching and industry insights.
  4. Enterprise Connect: Here, the selected startups were allowed to display and explains their offerings in front of top executives across prominent industries. The idea behind this stride is to help these startups in exploring strategic alliances and partnerships.

A big boost for budding entrepreneurs is the support from government initiatives. One such effort is “Startup India”.

Startup India:

This initiative resulted because of the aim of the Prime Minister to build systems which enables the ease of business for budding startups. It was in August 2015; this initiative was announced by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to assist startups in getting funds from the banks quickly.

This initiative encouraged young talents in the country to take entrepreneurship as a career for employment. For the sake of promoting this campaign throughout the country, 1.25 lakh branches were built across India for funding at least one startup founded by especially Dalit and Tribal individuals.

Stand-Up India:

Another initiative was announced by the Government in January 2016, when the Union Cabinet approved the “Stand-Up India” campaign. This campaign aimed towards promoting entrepreneurship among women and scheduled castes and tribes.
The prominent features of this scheme are as follows:

  1. Provision of loans for greenfield projects in non-farming areas.
  2. Facilitation of one bank branch for at least one such project.

The schemes such as “Make in India” and “Digital India” also promised the move towards springing a startup economy.

The Stories of Some Successful Startups:

In present days, there has been massive growth of some startups which have since then written successful stories. Let’s have a glance at those startups who have created an unmatched space across the globe. They are:

  1. Freshdesk: Freshdesk is a startup which was founded in 2010 by Girish Mathrubhootam and Shan Krishnaswamy. This startup venture gained attention in no time to become one of the leading venture capitals in India. This startup got inaugurated in a small room, and now it is leading its businesses at one of swankiest lanes of the I.T. Highway, Chennai.
  2. Zoho: A startup which has become a multi-million-dollar corporation from scratch, clearly tells the triumphant story of Zoho. Founded by entrepreneur Sridhar Vembu, who was later the co-founder of Zoho office suite. He gets primarily accredited for the astonishing success of Zoho. Zoho is nowadays flawlessly competing with tech giants like Microsoft, Oracle, Google, Apple, etc.
  3. Policy Bazaar: A startup which has recently completed a decade of its success, Policy Bazaar recently organized an event called “Unbeat 10”. This event was held to share its success with its previous and current employees. The company has announced of generating 2500 jobs in the first quarter 0f 2019. What’s staggering is that the company has shown a 100% Year over Year growth.
  4. Flipkart: A startup which needs no distinct introduction, Flipkart is another tech startup to complete a decade this year. Walmart recently acquired this tech startup for an absurd amount of 16 billion U.S. dollars. It was launched in the year 2007, by entrepreneurs Sachin and Binny Bansal and its remarkable growth were witnessed in the market when it delivered 3.4 lakh products successfully to the customers.
  5. Zomato: Initially started under the name of in 2008, Zomato is a restaurant search and discovery application which provides instant and descriptive information of more than 1 million restaurants located in the globe. The success story of Zomato is so inspiring that it changed the entire online world of foodies within two years.


For all the young minds out there, there is just one thing you need to keep in mind. Never restrict your imagination and always be passionate and creative. Investors and customers are always looking for a change and innovate something which can impress them within the first minute of your presentation.