As the third-largest startup ecosystem of the world, Indian startups have seen a tremendous change in attitudes among the government department. Guruprasad Mohapatra, secretary at the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade of India (DPIIT) said that there are 50,000 registered startups in India, and there will be 50K more by 2024 at this pace.
Mohapatra said this change has been accelerated since 2015-16 when a new policy came into effect. His thoughts were further supported by Shailendra Singh, managing director, Sequoia Capital India, Singapore. He said that Indian startups have come into their own in the last four to five years.
“The optimism, the ability to dream, the amount and quality of capital available, the sheer size and scale of startups, as well as their ambition and ability to execute globally, are remarkable,” Singh added.
Singh said that it is exciting to back the companies, which have both disrupted existing companies and become full-stack online and offline businesses themselves. “Technology is intrinsic to these companies, not only impacting them at a superficial level,” he said.
Comparing Asian startups to the world’s largest startup ecosystem i.e. Silicon Valley, Singh said Asian startups have “lots of white spaces” and individual markets are very small so that companies can and must quickly mutate to related businesses.
Over the last few years of the Indian government, it as helped shape the startup ecosystem through its various policies, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been called the Startup PM of India by some.
Recently, PM highlighted that India’s startup ecosystem is a common point of discussion between the heads of state, business leaders and stakeholders — investors and entrepreneurs. PM Modi also highlighted that India is one of the top three startup ecosystems in the world and lauded Tier 2 and Tier 3 startups for powering the startup ecosystem. The PM also claimed that the world is looking at new India as a land of unique opportunities.
Along the same line of thought, Ankiti Bose, cofounder and CEO, Zilingo, said India must also overcome some systemic challenges, such as low participation of women in the workforce.
DPIIT secretary emphasised that the government is committed to improving women’s participation – by providing preferential access to capital to women-led start-ups, for instance – but the issue is of wider inclusion. “There are large tracts of India untouched by startup presence,” he said, adding that the government is committed to spreading its start-up mission to the country’s more disadvantaged areas.
Mohapatra further added that the government is committed to providing technology start-ups with room to experiment and develop without setting tight regulatory boundaries, as it did with the IT sector and the aviation sector earlier.
Earlier this year, Modi had expressed a desire to take India to a $5 Tn economy by 2024. Later, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting her maiden budget, presented a roadmap to the target, which included strategic disinvestment, cutting down the corporate tax, making investments more lucrative for foreign entities, and a push to the Indian startup ecosystem through various policies.