I’ll start off this post with this note from one of VCCircle‘s off-late post on “Will Indian Produce a Google” where Mohanjit Jolly, Executive Director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson India posted his comments about the state of Indian VC investments and where is Indian entrepreneurship heading.

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He noted that:

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India will see birth of new billion dollar companies who leverage technology rather than make an innovation themselves.

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Quite true. But I really don’t want to agree to it (somehow). Do we have dearth of talent, risk-takers or is it something to do with the whole societal ecosystem (a must read) which pushes us to do minnow jobs rather than to take change of something bigger which can potentially ‘Change the World’? Though many would agree that the answer lies somewhere in those neat words but I feel something is missing in the whole equation of building a great organization. No I’m not getting into the culture, money, leadership or society debate but for Indian entrepreneurship landscape, it does hold true.

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But off-late, I’ve interacted with few brilliant minds who wants to take charge of things and question the status-quo. Istartup-capital-intro don’t know for sure if they are going to change the world but sure I’ve seen the hunger and dedication to do something totally radical and different in their own way. These interactions have given me enough fodder to ponder about that why aren’t we able to produce companies like $GOOGs/$YHOOs/$MSFT’s?

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Below I’m quoting my opinion:

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1. Timeless Epiphany– One of the stifling reasons for fledgling Indian Start-ups is that most VCs (who are representing some International fund-houses and not domestic ones) have been harsh with the Indian entrepreneurial community for not being innovative enough, not thinking big; Partly its their way of doing business where thinking incremental rather than monumental, at least Indian start-up scenario is the order of the day.

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2. Missing of “Big Thought” – In a way, the very thought process of “Changing the World” is missing in Indian start-ups. Entrepreneurs (mostly) are looking at incremental gains and not investing enough time to develop an innovative out-of-the-box solution. Partly the time factor is okay but if we look at 360*, then VC’s (mostly expats who are investing now) who provide the cash-flows for building the initial bricks are compromising longer term gestation period to shorter term benefits.

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3. Dynamics of Indian Market: Though we have seen Google’s, Yahoo’s, Amazon’s being built up which sets up an example for all entrepreneurs but largely I think the Indian business ecosystem is slightly different. Talk about building an world class technological company – problem is we already have biggies like Infosys, TCS to name a few who has a bigger grasp of clients’ mind-share to take away the crumbs from early tech start-ups. So there you go – your market size is already capsized to do a killing out of it. This is just an example. Though recently I’ve interacted with an early tech start-up and I know for sure that they are building their niche. But the point is how scalable are they? However, I think India as an emerging nation gives much more opportunity in emerging arenas like mobile, education, health-care etc which itself is growing (not forgetting the vast scope of catering to a billion population). Some are capital intensive and some are highly technical which gives way for talent acquisition to be of primary concern. Talent is not a problem in present scenario but yes, capital intensive sectors are something which has a long gestation period and I hope there are some VC’s who won’t mind putting their money in such start-ups with ample of amount of confidence and support to take them through.

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More on such thoughts as I go along writing more on such debatable issues in the near future but the point is what should be done. Though there is no immediate panacea to this problem but surely there are more than a way to mitigate these issues upfront and slowly sowing the seeds of entrepreneurship in the culture.

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1. Large Business Houses should invest: I’d the opportunity to work for India’s one of the biggest conglomerate with businesses diversified across the consumer segments. So touching consumers is their main concern. Now with technology evolving at the pace of light and I don’t think they would mind investing in such start-ups who identify a problem and come up with practical & easy solution to it. Yes, I think big corporates should start investing in these start-ups (not only from a business point of view but also it makes up for their CSR initiatives wherein they can act as incubators of brilliant ideas).

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2. Push from the Government: I always think Government has to be the change agent that start-ups need – be it via infrastructure, financial help or more importantly making the legal process easier. Now I know its easier said than done but at some level, I believe the entrepreneurship ecosystem has to be fostered from the grassroots level where entrepreneurs face lesser hassles to build up something new.

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These are some nuggets of thoughts that can do a long way helping us building the next Google, Yahoo, Microsoft or Apple.

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