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Digital Disruption

The Key To Building Indian Unicorns In Internet

The Key To Building Indian Unicorns In Internet
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You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

While education and Health tech are two areas waiting to be leveraged where India can play a significant role across the third world countries, we, in India, are still coming up with copied ideas to get quick funding and replicate successful models all over the world.

Where Are We Lacking

We need strong backing from the government to improve the ease of doing business. While tax incentive, funding support will promote the startups, that alone will not suffice, we also need regulations here to encourage home-grown startups that identify unique problems, and create solutions for the locals. The problem amplifies given the fact that India has relatively weak infrastructure and lacks protectionist policies like in China.

While the government is paying attention to startup ecosystem in the country by programs such as Skill India, Make India and Startup India, there's still a lot of work needed to take these policies off the ground and make it happen for entrepreneurs who have gotten tired navigating the maze of beaureaucracy. No doubt the initiative is a catalyst, but also needed are structural reforms to determine the viability of the startups.

Government's Role

Another apparent roadblock could be the proposed involvement of government in the Startup India Action Plan - it sets up an ‘Inter-Ministerial Board’ led by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion which ‘validates’ the innovative nature of an enterprise, thereby qualifying it as a start-up. And the fact that it requires a startup to get a recommendation from an incubator could also slow down the startup process.

Overcoming Herd Mentality

Fortunately, despite everything, our country is mature enough to have original ideas and make them work. And this is exactly what is required. As investor Mahesh Murthy puts it on Medium.com, "Try not to be the X of India. Try to be the yourself of the world.

This is easier said than done, both because we have a long entrepreneurial history in India of building copy-paste businesses, from independence till now. And second, because most investors in Indian internet firms work for US or other firms who wrongly believe they can simply fund and build the “X of India”— and have some comfort in funding copy-pastes rather than backing originals.

Even the copy-paste specialist Rocket Internet from Germany has failed in virtually every venture in India. Copy-paste just does not work in internet businesses in India. But I do see signs of this groupthink slowly giving way to backing original companies."

Edition: December 2016

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