Beyond Unicorns: To Build A $100bn Company We Need To Solve Real India's Problems

Creation of just a handful of unicorns is not enough feels Jayant Sinha, the Minster for Civil Aviation

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While India’s startup eco system is fostering, there have been just a handful of companies like Flipkart, Ola, Paytm,  and InMobi  that have crossed the valuation of a billion dollar mark, and a similar number that have multi-country operations. Globally however, some of the biggest companies today, including Facebook, which started as startups, have not only been able to spread their reach but also jack up their valuation.


And it’s not that tech companies from India have not traditionally done well. Infosys, which could be called one of the country’s first software startups is today a multi-billion dollar company and operates across several markets. But the startups that have emerged in the last decade have yet to make that impact compared to their foreign counterparts, or even veterans like Infosys.

Talking on why startups are restricted to just a billion dollar valuation fancy, the country’s Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha, said at a gathering in Bengaluru, “Entrepreneurs need to think  about not just becoming unicorns but super unicorns. 100 billion dollars should be the target and not just be satisfied by a billion dollar company.”

India’s Real Problems

Despite having a great talent pool, entrepreneurs are unable to make that global impact. According to Sinha, this is because their focus is on a different path, which is usually following the west, or targeting western markets, which in reality may not prove to be lucrative.

“The target should be to create innovations that serve our needs. Aping the west is not the solution, rather solving India's problems is solving other countries like Egypt, Bolivia, Nigeria's problems and that's the opportunity we should look at,” he said. "We don't have to solve the problems of Times Square in New York but we have to solve the problems of Jhanda Chowk in my very own Hazaribagh. That is how we have to drive entrepreneurship," he added.  

Describing the opportunities in the Indian market, he harped on the fintech sector and how a platform like Aadhar can provide impetus to various industries, to target a billion consumers.

“To become a global company you need to be export these ideas. Fintech is a huge opportunity and it can be exported around the world,” he said. “The electric two-wheeler segment and the drone industry are two other very promising sectors, from where I feel global companies can emerge,” he added.

The Drone Opportunity

Sinha who has been a Venture Capital Management Consultant and Hedge Fund Manager in the past, looks at opportunities in the aviation sector from a very different light. He expects India to be able to lead, in drone transportation some day, and have their own model rather than follow what the West or China is doing.

“Drones are going to reinvent transportation. It will be a $100bn industry worldwide if not less,” he said. “The cost of a drone operation today  is same per km as running an auto rickshaw. And you may think I’m joking but we may see air rickshaws in future and this is  not science fiction,”  he added.