Diwali is the time when we clean and refurbish our homes. As we bid adieu to the festival of lights, this year, let us take some time out to look around, contemplate and figure out a way to clean up the space we belong to – our startup ecosystem. As our ecosystem grows, so does the complexities within it, breeding harmful trends, developments and even people who can disrupt the balance of our ecosystem.
As part of our “#SwachhBharat4Startups!” initiative, we, at Inc42, decided to reach out to some stakeholders of the ecosystem to understand their viewpoints on how to keep our ecosystem clean and thriving, and what they want cleaned from the ecosystem. Here’s what they had to say:
Ritesh Malik, doctor, entrepreneur, investor & creator of Innov8 Coworking
- Clean the mindset of people.
- Don’t go for valuations, but for value creation.
- Create a self-sustainable model; don’t be dependent on investor’s money.
- Don’t bleed too much, if customers are not willing to buy the product at your cost price that means it’s not valuable to them.
Kashyap Deorah, entrepreneur, investor & writer
“I like the initiative. It is easy to create a list of things that the government or ecosystem should do, but I am cynical that those things will make a difference in cleaning the ecosystem.”
“Instead, I think we need to use the power of the masses to clean up the ecosystem and hold people accountable. I think we need to create a wikileaks for Indian startups. Any whistleblower should anonymously be able to expose a wrongdoing. It could be an employee, a customer, a supplier, a service provider, a co-founder, an investor, or anyone involved who is witness to wrongdoings. As long as the forum is moderated appropriately, and the content is compelling, it should do the trick.”
Samar Singla, founder and CEO of Jugnoo
I think it is a great initiative and would bring valuable insights to make our ecosystem stronger. In my opinion, a lot can be done to streamline this space:
- To begin with, all startups initially have just a handful of employees, the perception of this small size is already changing and people are understanding that while there may be lack of structure initially, but there is speed in execution which startups should take advantage of.
- Acceptance of friction and competition will further strengthen this space, which is essential for an ecosystem to make complete sense.
- Collaboration and cooperation also help delivering a value-added service.
Tarun Matta, founder of IIMjobs.com and Hirist.com
I think we can keep our ecosystem clean and thriving by building startups with long-term focus, strong business fundamentals that create real value for customers.
Prafulla Mathur, founder and CEO, WudStay
“The last few years have been extremely exciting for the startup ecosystem in India. With fresh approaches to solving basic consumer needs translating into billion-dollar companies, it is important that entrepreneurs do not deter from the mission to create real value for their customers. For India’s startup ecosystem to further mature, it is important that we keep reminding ourselves that valuations and funding are not the end objectives. Rather, it is essential to focus on creating products that solve a specific need.”
Prashant Chaudhary, Co-founder of Mr. Right
“Indian startups are not much different than Bollywood; copying from the west, uncredited remakes, shoplifting stories from original authors, spending heavily on marketing, and making media your friend. This is the oldest way to take advantage of the not so aware mass. Startups in India need to do away from this. We are on the verge of becoming the fastest growing startup ecosystem in the world. Eventually, Indian startups will run out of ideas to emulate.”
Manoj Agarwal, Founder, Giftxoxo.com
“Funding frenzy is taking priority over business fundamentals in startups today. Nowadays, startups with good ideas get lost in the wave of funding instead of getting their business models right. The startup ecosystem and senior industry professionals should empower the young startups with core business fundamentals, profitability and values to build a sustainable long term business instead of a short-term gain.”
“The government policies and positive media discussions in this direction would help build a strong start-up ecosystem in India.”
Ankita Jain, Founder, GoPaisa.com
“Startups have thrived during the past couple of years, pretty much without any government support and our bottom-of-pyramid ranking in ease of doing business index. In spite of this, FDI in India is the highest when it comes to investments into startups. If proper support with easy clearances & faster decisions from all governmental departments are made available, we believe India can be in top three investment destinations globally, and hence, creating further jobs, prosperity & wealth for the society”
“So, basically cleaning away the lethargic attitude, red-tape, and ‘chalta hai, ho jayega’ attitude throughout the society can bring a sea-change for more prosperous and happy India”
“The world is enough for everyone’s needs, but not enough for everyone’s greed” – the words or Mahatma Gandhi are apt for our startup ecosystem as well. We are all a part of this rapidly expanding and fragile – yet extremely enduring – ecosystem. Let’s strive to weed out the greed and negativities in it and propagate the right values, fundamentals, mindset and support; thereby creating a clean, healthy, nurturing and transparent startup ecosystem for all.