The ever evolving startup ecosystem in India has always been looked upon with lot of curiosity, interest and even speculations. Be it the funding, the potential scalability, immature growth stories, handling of teams – almost all the key aspects have been discussed at multiple forums and across media columns – with multitude of opinions.
One key area – which at times gets brushed aside relative to funding received – is that of innovation and disruption. How many start-ups in India are really working on new disruptive models – and perhaps trying to create new ‘Uber’ models…rather than just emulating them? In developed markets, the fact that leading crowdfunding platforms as Kickstarter gets on an average 23 new product based ideas listed – then what is the relative similar number of hardcore product innovations that are taking place in India?
We set out to ask some renowned innovation champions in the industry – on how they define and perceive disruption – and do they feel that Indian start up ecosystem is upto marks on this front.
Ajeet Khurana – a leading angel investor and mentor, says “If one describes “disruptive” pretty generously, then most startups could be called disruptive. However, given the state of the Indian economy in general, and the startup ecosystem in specific, I find that those who have been able to scale up the most are the ones who shifted some pre-existing business model online. While that does lubricate transactions and occasionally creates huge valuations, I am not too impressed with what I have seen so far. I am looking for something that fundamentally reengineers some aspect of our personal or business existence. You could say that I am using a strict definition of “disruptive.” That’s where the greatest value creation will occur.”
However, on the other hand, there are investors such as Sunil Goyal – the co-founder of YourNest Ventures, who believe that, “Technology is enabling disruption across sectors. Indian entrepreneurs are coming up with solutions to real life day to day problems. They offer software products and solutions as SaaS, PaaS, App, mobile web and use technologies around voice recognition, video interaction, machine learning, NLP, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual reality and so on. Size and magnitude of disruption depends on the sector and means. Some come up with just a business model innovation whereas others are pure technology platforms. Lately, YourNest has come across engineering and hardware design based disruptions too. The opportunities being tapped by our start-ups are immense. The disruption quotient is going-up with the more and more failures being faced in start-ups whereas the hunger to succeed continues to drive them for yet another venture. At YourNest Angel Fund we continue to look for promising entrepreneurs having start-ups with early signs of customer validation, a well conceptualised business model, leveraging technology and addressing a large market size. “
Jaspreet Bindra – Senior VP, Digital Innovation & E-Commerce, Mahindra & Mahindra says, “There are very few truly disruptive ideas. Most successful startups, at least so far, are US business models, at best, adapted for India. Ecommerce, app based cabs, classifieds, ad tech etc. are not truly disruptive.
There are a few one can think of: Team Indus for example, which is putting a vehicle on the Moon for the Google X Prize. Some of the work being done in healthcare , some rural assisted commerce startups and some social commerce startups also come to mind. But, so far none of them have truly scaled. Not to say, that they will not – it is a matter of time.”
So again, while there are multitude of opinions, it is expected that current phase of ongoing corrections in the start-up world, would definitely push the need to be more disruptive and deliver more value on the business model – rather than just to get easy funding on just getting an inspiration from a tested idea.
Echoing what Subhrangshu Neogi, Director Group Marketing & Brand, Religare says, “Innovation and disruption like most things can’t be pure magic or that single big eureka moment alone, we need to enable and help breed it and make it as part of our lives, the socio cultural milieu that our children grow in” – we all believe that Indian start-up ecosystem too will rise to the occasion and start delivering products and services – which then perhaps would be emulated worldwide.”
Concludingly, as Miten Mehta – a leading social impact investor says, “’Disruption is like forest fire, they do compel the incumbents to change, adapt or perish while giving rise to new green shots that will create new life for the ecology” – let us fire the ecosystem to get ignited to next level of innovation and together disrupt India!
It is to discover and support some of these innovative ideas – that may be being worked upon by upcoming entrepreneurs in the country – that we at Catapooolt have launched ‘Catapooolt Change-makers Challenge’ in association with The Economic Times, Inc42 & Chatur Ideas. The endeavor envisions to seek out some truly disruptive ideas – and then support them by pushing them on mass media and enabling communities to support them through crowdfunding and eventually present them to leading investors for further support.
“If you are working on some disruptive start-up ideas, then register today at Catapooolt Changemakers Challenge.