India Should Focus on How to go from $3 billion to $10 billion Economy

Big data, global innovation and successful investor exits will help India scale

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Former Associate Editor, Entrepreneur India
4 min read

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The investment ecosystem is India has been hot this year. A come back of investors eyeing startups to park funds after a lean last year came as a relief. Indian investors overseas also eyed a chunk of the Indian startups, one such investor is Aashish Kalra.

Kalra, an equity investor in the technology, infrastructure, realty, energy, logistics and hospitality space, is the Chairman of Cambridge Technology Enterprises Limited. In a chat with Entrepreneur India, Kalra spoke why India is attractive right now, the opportunity that Big Data presents and how the Flipkart-Walmart deal is a win-win for Indian entepreneurs.

Big Data Will Rule the Next 20 Years

India is set to transform helped by Artificial Intelligence (AI) believes Kalra.

For AI the biggest thing you need is data and large sets of data. Given that there are three countries in the world that have large sets of data, United States, China and India, Kalra believe all three of them are going to win differently.

US is the innovator, it’s got to lead and going to have next Uber, AirBnBs etc . China has capital, closed economy and it will put end to end dollar towards it and it can figure this out. But India wins in the most interesting way says Kalra.

“How young people access information and how they transact information is going to change the world. How India will get from a $3 economy to the $10 economy will depend upon how motivated the young people of India are. The second thing that has to happen is that we need to have a baseline infrastructure. I think with Jio and Reliance democratizing data, the cost of phones are falling and that helps. And third most important is having enough examples like Flipkart that motivates investors,” says Kalra.

India Transitioning from Cost Credibility to Global Innovation

With the issue of Big Data addressed, Indian can now can start build on truly innovative ideas.

According to Kalra, the last generation in India was based on cost credibility; something that led to the foundation of incredible companies such as the TCS, HCL Tech and the Infosys’ of the country but now the time has come for truly global innovative companies to be built out of India.

“Indians understand that the world doesn’t need banks, it needs banking. It doesn’t need insurers, it needs insurance. The world doesn’t need taxis, it needs transportation. The world doesn’t need a hotel it needs accommodation. The moment you start viewing it in that manner, dynamics change,” says Kalra.

Flipkart-Walmart Deal to Help India Scale

Kalra thinks that it is very rarely in life that there is a one event that transforms everything and it is a series of events on a journey that build towards something. He finds Flipkart and Reliance Jio as important milestone in that journey.

Being a capital scare country India cannot get into the debate about who owns the business, who benefits from it and where is the benefit says Kalra.

“You needed this ecosystem of people who are successful, who are building companies and who will invest in 20-15 other companies,” says Kalra.

The second thing is instead of a closed economy if you are competing with the best from the world that becomes important thinks Kalra. Why do you have people from IIT or Stanford or Harvard because they are better and then they compete with the best? Flipkart competed with Amazon, does it have a better DNA but in the end infrastructure is Indian.

The benefits of what is being built on are for Indians. It is the Indian who can transact out of the small amount and sell its goods to Mumbai. That is the value, you have the value. It is short-sightedness to say that the large chunk of the piece is gone to an international investor and someone else got a piece of it. Indians must know every successful exit is is helping them on the large scale.

 “India going for three trillion to ten trillion, let’s stay focused on that. It’s the path to build,” says Kalra.

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