Why These #4 NRIs Ditched Silicon Valley and Came to India

"India's population is a significant plus for its entrepreneurs"

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The Indian start-up scene continues to appear buoyant with a registered, robust growth rate of 10-12 per cent Year Over Year (YOY), ranking third in size worldwide.


The fact that Indian start-ups won more than $2 billion in assistance proves the investors are interested in them. The potential of the country’s new and emerging businesses has made Bill Gates remark, “India is on the cusp of leapfrogging.”

Three NRIs, who had decided to shun the allure of the Silicon Valley to launch their venture Stoodnt.inc in India, reiterated that venture initiation in India is gaining momentum.

Ajay Singh, Yuri Punj and Sena Palanisami founded the company as a platform that leverages data and technology and engages experts to help students with college admissions in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and other countries. 

These entrepreneurs have established the fact that the growing investors’ interest and the VC money rolling in India, NRIs are noticing potential and possibilities in the country and are starting innovative ventures.

After graduating from the University of Texas, Singh worked as an engineer for three years before enrolling with the Harvard Business School (HBS). Working with American Express from 2011 to 2015, the young professional spent most of his time in India, realizing the potential of starting new businesses in the country.

Eventually Singh along with Yuri Punj, his classmate from HBS, decided to start Stoodnt.inc, following which the former left his job at the American Express and took up entrepreneurship as a full-time vocation.

For Singh, India with her youngest population is undergoing a tremendous transformation on every front. “Entrepreneurship was an option or choice of a privileged few, but now it is becoming a lot more prevalent. More and more millennials are taking the plunge starting up new companies instead of taking jobs. India, for now, has become a land of entrepreneurs and for the right reasons,” he emphasized.

India is now the Land of Entrepreneurs

“Today, India has all the pieces of the puzzle for it to become the land of innovators, entrepreneurs and dreamers. With globalization, entrepreneurs in India can get access to cutting-edge technology and risk capital at low cost. Starting an Internet venture does not require too much investment, just an idea and the ability to build an online solution,” he enumerated.

Market Large Enough to Support Local-level Companies

“There are thousands of start-ups in the market that can learn from each other, compete with each other and challenge each other to innovate and do better. The business environment is changing and the current government is working hard to lower the barriers to entrepreneurship. Unlike several other smaller economies, the market is large enough to sustain and reward the successful companies at the local-level,” added the entrepreneur, who is all set to expand his business in India.

Being in the US for more than 14 years Dipanjan Purkayastha, Founder, Tygr and HyperXchange.  , had the easy option of starting his new business at Silicon Valley, where start-ups were emerging bigger than ever before. He didn’t.

He realized that India, too, was undergoing a spectacular transformation. “A hitherto cloistered economy was suddenly producing unicorns, and a nepotistic political environment was yielding to new ‘outsider’ leaders — it seemed India had reached a tipping point,” he recalled.

With his global experience and realization, Purkayastha thought that starting up a global business in India might be a perfect fit. In 2014, the family packed their bags and made the trip back to their hometown Kolkata – this time to stay.  

He founded TYGR, an omni-transport App for smart cities. Since then he has been spending time in the thick of India’s start-up ecosystem. The entrepreneur speaks of the things that made him realize how unique and game-changing India’s potential for entrepreneurship is.

Macro-economic Reality

“India’s IT and services have created a globally-relevant, tech-savvy workforce with relationships at every major global corporation in the world. As our start-ups scale, these connections and context provide the access and credibility that lead to higher levels of funding and larger exit valuation,” opined the youngpreneur.

Availability of Skilled Resource

By 2020, India will have the youngest workforce in the world. While that is great news, Purkayastha predicted that the reality would be a large number of them would remain unemployable.  

“Lack of job creates a push towards entrepreneurship. The new ventures would have ready resources to employ as there will always be people who are not making it to the big firms but are skilled and qualified. With each entrepreneur graduating and starting a business by hiring five classmates – the college has six less people to place!”

A Billion User Beta

“India’s population is a significant plus for its entrepreneurs,” asserted Purkayastha and added, “Business models that need to be tested could hardly find a better germinating ground, before they grow globally. Having a million users is a big success in the US, but in India even an early-stage hyper local business has ten times the number. This ability to find unlimited, beta users could give businesses in India the kind of edge no other ecosystem in the world provides,” he said.

Helpful Government  

The government has made entrepreneurship a cornerstone of their policy-making – starting from announcing a $150 million early-stage fund to setting up incubators across the country. This could act as a strong catalyst, and has already moved India to become the third largest tech start-up hub in the world,” concluded the entrepreneur.