India in the mood for startups
India in the mood for startups.
Economic Times reports that you may think it's not such a great time to be a startup founder. Valuations are sliding, fund-raising is not all that easy, and not too many startups can boast about profits. But if you listen to what the majority of the most influential people in India's startup sector have to say in a first-of-its-kind survey, there is no better time than now to begin a career in entrepreneurship. 55 per cent of those polled in an ET survey of startup founders and investors believe that now is the ideal time to launch a business, demonstrating widespread underlying optimism about the future of new-economy ventures. "If you're able to deliver margins and traction, there is money available. In fact it reduces the fight for dollars with poor businesses run by savvy founders," said a Gurgaon-based founder.
The somewhat surprising mood of optimism, and other not so-surprising findings, were gleaned from a survey of India's best-known venture capitalists and founders of companies valued at over $100 million. Those who answered the survey agreed to do so on condition of anonymity, allowing themselves the freedom to express their views candidly. The result is a comprehensive and fascinating snapshot of Startup India. The survey also shed light on what is one of the most hotly-discussed subjects in the startup world, namely the fates of India's largest online retailer Flipkart and the country's biggest cab aggregator Ola vis-a-vis global competition. Unsurprisingly, an overwhelming majority think that US-based Amazon will be the market leader within two years. Uber, which recently threw in the towel in China by merging with rival Didi Chuxing, is seen by a strong majority as the likely leader in the same time period. "But Uber and Amazon (especially Amazon) have spent years executing well and building better India-specific capabilities," the founder of a Bengaluru-based startup said. "They are both India companies, not US clones."
Another statistic which reflects the more-or-less sunny mood is the number who believe that a pickup in investor sentiment is in the offing. Some 56 per cent are convinced that investors will open their wallets much more liberally within a year. While about one in ten think that the glory days of investors splashing cash are over forever, one-third of those who participated in the survey expect that a return to the good times will take at least a year. Besides, over three-quarters of the respondents are of the view that up to three startup unicorns will hit the market with an initial share sale by 2020. "There will be a sentiment challenge for 12 months, but the sectors from which great companies come out will change," said Abhishek Goyal, cofounder of startup research firm Tracxn. "But all large companies will survive and give good returns to their investors."