London, as Europe's tech ecosystem capital, has a lot to offer India's fast-growing start-up landscape.
In recent years the Indian economy has moved towards knowledge-based enterprises, encouraging entrepreneurialism that banks on innovation in their approach, processes and products that can be commercialised both domestically as well as internationally. These will shape the future of Indian economy as it marches ahead in becoming one of the largest economies in the world.
The start-up ecosystem in India is one of the best in the world. However, there is a lot it can learn from other rapidly maturing ecosystems. London is undoubtedly Europe's tech ecosystem capital. In 2017, London was ranked third best Global Start-up Ecosystem. Its growth index was the highest amongst the Top 5 Global Start-up Ecosystems at 4.8.
The shared history of UK and India has resulted in a lot of things being common, as well as created avenues where they can learn from each other. When it comes to start-ups, India can take a leaf out of London's experience and use some of the key initiatives to help its ecosystem further grow to make it more conducive to start-ups.
India currently has a provision for tax holiday for start-ups, however, it may want to reconsider this in favour of investors like the UK. The UK provides a tax break for angels investing in start-ups. This has proved to be a major factor for London and the UK to be one of the top start-up ecosystem globally.
Ever since the launch of Start-up India, the number of start-ups have been steadily increasing. However, they have been finding it difficult to get funding for scaling up. The government and investors may look at setting up a dedicated fund to help start-ups to scale-up. This will ensure that the start-ups become large enough to generate significant employment and contribute to other government skills-related priorities.
In order to provide a global exposure and outlook to the start-ups which are on the verge of scaling up technology, scale-up focused trade delegations to innovation hubs across the world could be planned.
Major Indian corporate houses can act as hotbeds for co-creation with start-ups and provide market opportunities through procurement. This will also encourage a wider culture of intrapreneurship. Governments can incentivise procurement by corporates from start-ups similarly to the current policy for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The corporates may also contribute by investing in conducive infrastructure for start-ups across India, particularly in Tier 2 cities in the country.
This learning could provide the necessary impetus to India becoming one of the most favoured and conducive ecosystems for start-ups.
From last month's focus start-ups which was a pureplay tech company, this month we shift our focus a bit to a start-up which is working to create the world's most trusted supply chains. It offers the most responsible and innovative solutions and provides the most seamless experience for brands and manufacturers. This month the focus start-ups under this segment is Supplycompass.
Supplycompass is a production management platform for responsible brands that want to find and work with the best international manufacturers. It provides a tech-enabled solution to what has historically been a challenging and time-consuming activity for many businesses. Brands can create tech packs, get matched with a manufacturer and use the platform to manage production from design to delivery. Supplycompass works with brands and manufacturers to embed responsible practises in their businesses, deliver value and create opportunities for growth.
It gives brands all the information they need to make an informed choice about their manufacturer, helping them to embed good practice at the heart of their business.
The company's business started with garment manufacturers in India but has quickly expanded into other manufacturing sectors and locations due to demand from both brands and manufacturers to embrace technology that helps them work together more efficiently.
As a manufacturing hub, India is exemplary. It has a diverse and highly skilled workforce. There is continuous support and investment in its improvement journey, building on a strong historical base for textiles manufacturing. It offers a much more human approach to business when compared with China and a shared language makes it much easier for Europeans to work with. The top tier suppliers are well certified. This made India the natural choice for Supplycompass to begin its operations.
Registered in the UK, the company now has operations both in London and Mumbai. It currently works with around 50 manufacturing partners across India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and mainland Europe.
Co-founded by Gus Bartholomew, a civil engineer, Flora Davidson, a brand consultant, and John Hunter Wilson, a mechanical engineer, Supplycompass raised a £300,000 seed round in April 2017. Building on its success to date, it will be looking to raise a new round of investment in January 2019 to accelerate growth.
Supplycompass uses its tech platform to make the whole process much more efficient and transparent for both brand and manufacturer. It aims to facilitate long-lasting relationships between both parties, helping them understand each other's constraints and work more efficiently together.
With so much of talk about tech-enabled business, companies like these will be making a difference in times to come and bring businesses across the globe closer, make them more competitive and, more importantly, grow responsibly.
Dr Param Shah is Director - UK, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).
*The views expressed herein constitute the sole prerogative of the author. They neither imply nor suggest the orientation, views, current thinking or position of FICCI. FICCI is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the author.