Valuable lessons for Indian start-ups

Valuable lessons for Indian start-ups
Valuable lessons for Indian start-ups

When it comes to building successful businesses, a lot of the expertise resides in the technology industry. Startups are the strength of the present day economy and one of the most important segments for every nation. These startups have promoted the Indian economy's competitiveness in an increasingly challenging global economic scenario. But the center of excellence undoubtedly lies in the Silicon Valley that has created powerhouses like Apple, Uber, Facebook, Google, and Intel. The region is an incubation zone for global innovation, technology and new industry creation and now the Valley's mindset to share ideas and collaborate on innovations must be adopted in India to boost new start-ups and help them globalize their businesses.From 3,100 startups in 2014 to a projection of more than 11,500 by 2020*, India ranks as the third-largest hub for startups worldwide. Every entrepreneur in the country wants to emulate the Silicon Valley, which is a Mecca for start-ups. But India has much to imbibe from mature markets even as it offers insights on how best to start-up in an emerging market. A lot of the innovation happens in the Silicon Valley and several of these businesses make it big because the mindset of emerging entrepreneurs complements the values of unbiased flexibility and openness to trying out new things.Indian entrepreneurs are creating a lot of me-too businesses, which isn't a bad strategy given a few of them are finding real success. But real homegrown unicorns can come out of India if there is a focus on building businesses to solve some of the problems that specifically plague India itself. Cleantech businesses, sharing economy models to solve poverty and unemployment and many others are yet to be discovered. In the valley, most of the businesses created were trying to solve the entrepreneurs' own need. As the Indian startup ecosystem matures, hopefully founders dig deep and create meaningful foundations to solve their own problems.Fear of failure also still impacts India more than it does the Silicon Valley. The education system in the Valley encourages starting businesses at an early age. Incubators, accelerators and funds are starting to offer incentives to drop out of college or not attend at all, and focus on entrepreneurship instead. While that may be extreme for India, if we can distill a slow fundamental shift around trying and accepting failure with grace, we'll have a lot more startup entrepreneurs working on the next big idea.Additionally from a government standpoint, India needs to facilitate the startup economy - make it easier for founders to start and run businesses, offer grants to startups much like Singapore and Australia do.The realities of such a beautiful diverse nation can't and won't change overnight. A lot of people still live below the poverty line and never get access to even the basic education that their counterparts have in countries like the US. But that only means there are opportunities to fix education, fix access, and address basic health and sanitation.Fortunately, India being a melting pot of budding talent and zeal has all the essential ingredients for building a successful startup ecosystem and will produce the next generation of global technology. What we must primarily focus on is, innovation, acceptance of failure, building businesses to solve problems vs me-too clones. There is no better time for entrepreneurs to start a new venture they believe in than now.Ankush Gera is the Founder and CEO of Junglee Games, headquartered in San Francisco and one of India's fastest growing real money gaming company with over 10 million users. He serves on the board of Kunai and is an active angel investor in start-ups like 15five, DilMil, Immediately and Cloudability.

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