Indian Startups Need Azaadi From These 5 Things Right Now!


Indian Startups Azaadi

15th August is the most important day for any Indian – it’s the day of patriotism and celebration because today, we Indians became free from the slavery of British raj, and declared ourselves a free nation.

As India celebrates its 70th Independence Day today, we decided to highlight 5 things from which Indian startups need azaadi (Independence) right now.

Before we delve into these 5 factors, a question may arise: Why startups?

Because by definition, a startup is the first step towards independence and execution of an idea; freedom from the status quo, and a massive shout for disruption.

However, there are some things which are stopping Indian entrepreneurs from releasing their full potential, and precisely these are the things which we want to discuss on August 15th:


Freedom from the Myths of IIT

For the middle class, IIT is a magical term, a sort of legend which opens doors to unfathomable riches, ‘security’ and success. And the worst part is that, this same thinking pattern seeps into the Venture Capitalists and investors as well, when it comes to funding of new startups. Launching a new idea is a huge risk; but when an IITian is behind that new idea, then the risk somehow evaporates, and the all that is left is optimism and a unspoken ‘guarantee’ of success.

This mentality is forcing several non-IITians to drop their ideas, and there are no one to listen to them, unless they have a shining IIT degree. Yes, almost all the founders of major Indian startup successes are from IITs, but then, for every Sachin/Binny Bansal, there is a Rahul Yadav as well.

Indian startup eco-system desperately needs freedom from the myth called IIT, and rather focus on the ability, guts and the innovation of the persons behind an idea.

Freedom from the lure of Funding & Legend of Unicorns

Funding is no doubt the catalyst which propels a start-up and helps it to scale the boundaries of a market, allowing them to go above and beyond their initial Launchpad. But the problem arises when a startup starts seeking funds before getting famous; on the contrary, as we have seen often, they seek funding to get famous and this is a dangerous trend.

In fact, less than 1% of US startups have ever received venture capital funds!

Rather than focussing on the aspects of problem solving, startups have somehow resorted to wasting their time in joining so called networking events and pleading for funds for an idea which is not tested, have no MVP and worst, pitch their plans with an aim of becoming a Unicorn (which is itself a mythological animal!)

Indian startups need to get themselves free from the lure of funding, and reject the legend of Unicorn because billion dollar companies are only formed when they solve a genuine problem, not by raising funds.

And thankfully, entrepreneurs like Sachin Bansal are not giving a shit about valuations as well.

Freedom from the broken promises of Employment

A bad trend which has started within Indian startup eco-system is promising extravagant opportunities to young freshers, straight out of college, and then backtracking without even a blink.

The result? Flipkart gets blacklisted by IITs, gets scolding from IIMs, and recently, IIT’s placement committee has refused to allow startups from hiring at all. We have seen such similar debacle from Grofers as well, and this sets a bad example for all.

On one hand it creates a bad impression for all startups infront of young freshers who can infuse the much needed energy into an idea; on the other hand, startups lose immensely talented brains and everyone is a loser.

More Food and Less tech; More Local and less Hyper

In the last couple of years, there has been an exponential increase in the number of ‘food-tech’ startups being launched; and there has been an equal rush to close them down as well. Similar is the case with ‘hyperlocal’ startups, which blamed the immaturity of Indian market before closing down or scaling down operations.

As observed, most of the food-tech startups focussed on the ‘how’ of discovering a food joint nearby, rather than focussing on the ‘why’ part. Instead of creating awareness among new-age smartphone users on the advantages of using apps to order products online, most of the hyperlocal startups focussed on discounts, which actually created a bad habit amongst their users.

Food-tech startups need more of food rather than tech; and hyperlocal startups need to remove the hyper part before expanding their operations.

Freedom from the burden of the society

And lastly, startups need freedom from the mentality of society in large, when it comes to taking risks and accepting failures. The burden of the society sometimes attack in the form of ‘Sharma ji’, whose viewpoints becomes more important than the aspirations of the entrepreneur or sometimes in the form of ‘Woh chaar log’ (those 4 people), who can decide the fate of a young graduate and force him/her to opt for a stable, secure job rather than venturing out into the uncertain world of entrepreneurship.

Indian entrepreneurs need freedom from the false aspirations of the society which burden them with their own propaganda, and have killed thousands and thousands of dreams even before they were allowed to be tried.

Do let us know what other ‘azaadi’ Indian startups need right now, by commenting right here!

1 Comment
  1. Preyash Shah says

    Mohul this was a very good read. Can’t agree more on the points you have discussed

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