What can India learn from the Silicon Valley experience
India is very important for the US The power of diversity. Over 25 per cent of all technology companies in the US in 2012 had at least one foreign-born founder. Silicon Valley has long benefitted by incentivising and attracting top minds from around the world - it is arrogant to think that India can succeed without doing the same.Entrepreneurial Spirit i.e. a culture that makes it OK to fail, learn from it, and then try again. It also means a culture of lending a hand and helping others succeed - it is not uncommon for companies in the same market to chat and partner with each other. The entrepreneurial spirit tends to produce people who value ideas and skill over hierarchy or status and this leads to flatter, faster organisations.Focus on science, engineering and mathematics research. Stanford University, the heart of Silicon Valley, partly succeeds by uniting the best researchers in the world (who then attract the best students) and providing them with resources to build their inventions and test them in the market through industry partnerships. Indian institutions should learn from their relentless focus on excellence.
Any hurdles India can side-step when it comes to creating the right start-up ecosystem
Silicon Valley is an extremely unique place that has evolved over decades. Blindly trying to copy and paste companies, government programs and incentive structures will probably fail. India must write her own unique story and startups must work on solving local problems.
How would you rate India's startup culture
It is far too early to generalize India's start-up culture much less rate it.
Does India have the right environment for new ideas to be born and flourish
Indians account for around 33 per cent of all immigrant founders of technology companies in the US, followed by China at 8 per cent. We clearly have the talent - what's missing is the infrastructure to convert that talent into a highly skilled labour force at scale. If we as a country develop excellent people and incentivise them to attack our hardest problems, I have no doubt that many amazing companies will arise.
What more can the government do to encourage its Make in India spirit
The government should strive to create free and open markets that enable frictionless business. That means mostly 'they' need to get out of the way. India is notorious for burdensome regulations and misplaced subsidies. These do not inspire investor confidence or paint a picture of stability. For the tech ecosystem, the government should treat internet access as a basic human right along the lines of water and electricity. Affordable broadband for every Indian would unleash a wave of new entrepreneurs and create millions of jobs.
Kyan Pardiwalla has been at the heart of the Silicon Valley's startup culture since his student days. Here he shares his insights with India Inc. on what it would take to incubate the right ecosystem for a similar innovation-oriented approach in India.