India comfortably ranks third globally in the number of startups according to the latest Nasscom report. The number of startups in India is crossing 4,200 and still counting. The report further says that the Indian startup ecosystem will see funding worth $5 Bn by the end of this year. Out of these thousands of startups, some are poised to completely redefine their sectors.
Customers are readily accepting the new ways to travel, shop, make payments etc. Technology based innovative startups are seeing much traction from both the investors and customers. Having said that, the success metric for your startup is based on how you are not only improvising but also improving the existing mechanism. In today’s startup scenario, the word innovation & disruption is akin to survival. A true disruption is a business model innovation riding on the back of a technology innovation. So while this innovation is attracting investor attention and positively impacting the lifestyles of customers, the creative entrepreneurs are fighting a new kind of challenge – backlash from traditional business incumbents.
Stepping On The Toe
Disruptive innovation is oxygen for the startup ecosystem. Uber and Ola are disrupting the traditional taxi business, Flipkart and Snapdeal are driving customers away from brick & mortar stores, NoBroker, Housing, etc is disrupting the real estate sector, etc. The ‘disruption list’ as I would like to call it, is endless. There’s one more thing common between these startups – the resistance they are facing from incumbents. Maturing startups and fairly young ones are facing the heat at various levels and are getting resistance from sectors they never imagined when they started out.
A classic example is Uber. The cab aggregator is drawing flak not just from taxi operators, but also from the governments of various countries they are operating in. Then there is the case of leading electronic companies denying warranty for good sold through online ecommerce portals. But the resistance is not always Gandhian.
When the NoBroker office came under attack by brokers, it cast a shadow on the overall disruptive startup ecosystem. Around 40-50 brokers had gathered at the NoBroker office premises and tried to make forced entry with the intent of damaging property, battering employees and disrupting work. When we tried to stop them, the brokers resorted to verbal and physical assault. Some of our employees got assaulted, despite attempts of peaceful discussion. Luckily the police came in and prevented the situation from getting worse. However, owning to continuous threats, we had to move out of its office and was forced to work from makeshift offices.
There is no doubt that disruptive startups are stepping on the toe of traditional business incumbents. But old has to make way for new. Be it landlines – to cordless phones – to pagers – to mobile phones or books to kindle etc change is inevitable.