PoC or Proof of Concept has always been a difficult stage to attain funding at in the Indian startup ecosystem. In comparison to the western world, where even startups at the idea stage are known to have million dollars fundraises, the investor community is quite ‘risk-averse’ when it comes to Indian startups. With India being home to over 20K startups (of which around 5,000 to 5,200 are the tech startups), and the Indian government engaged in building a startup-friendly infrastructure, this certainly is a big hurdle for the Indian startup community.
Invest India, the national investment promotion and facilitation agency of India, conducted an elaborate round table conference last week to discuss such key concerns plaguing the growth of the Indian startup ecosystem currently.
Hosted at their Vigyan Bhawan office in New Delhi, the round table was joined by the management team of the Startup India programme, which is Invest India’s flagship programme under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion — as well as by many startup founders and budding entrepreneurs. The session was also attended by Dr. Pradeep Khosla, the eighth Chancellor of the University of California San Diego (UCSD).
The two-hour-long interaction between Dr. Pradeep Khosla and the founders of startups from various sectors was aimed at discussing vividly the startup ecosystem and its key concerns along with highlighting the upcoming technology trends in India.
The session depicted both positive and negative sentiments from the startup community end. For instance, Karan Anand, Senior Assistant Vice President of Invest India, seemed quite optimistic and stated that the startup scenario is looking up in India. According to him, angel networks have started picking up the pace and in the previous year alone, the government decided to give a boost to the startups in India. The policies for startup generation are already in place in 17 states with a lot of enthusiasm.
However, this was not a popular opinion amongst founders of the other startups present at the roundtable. As per Deep Bajaj, founder of PeeBuddy, “In India, the way you do the business is, ‘you build the product, make customers your first investors and if you are successful, then you have your story going’.” Evidently, as per Inc42 Data Labs H1 2017 and Q3 2017 report too, the early-stage funding has been at an all-time low in India as well.