Out of step entrepreneurs

Have been spending a lot of time here in bay area of late, and have been seeing a fair bit of startups here. One thing that strikes me is how naturally the “market knowledge” comes to the whole community, including the founders and investors. Some of the plans I see within India are out of step with global competition. Especially in technology oriented businesses, the competition is global, and it becomes very important to be aware of whatever is happening on that front globally.

Of course, the other route is to pursue local opportunities (either consumer driven, or technology which is driven by local environment, etc) where I would expect local entrepreneurs to have the same natural awareness of whatever’s happening around.

9 Responses to “Out of step entrepreneurs”

  1. RYK says:

    How about doing another post that talks about “Out of step investors in India’. Show me one innovative project that has been backed out of India. Everybody wants to back the Indian me too:
    Shaadi – Match
    JobsA, Naukri – Monster
    Baazee – Ebay
    All the travel portals coming, are just Indian versions.

    Where are the web 2.0 projects? Why is India not creating them for the Export markets? Is there a dearth of ideas, talents, food, oxygen & water in India? No Sirs & Madam. Is there a dearth of entreupreuners with innovative ideas. No there isn’t.

    I saw YouTube done by 2 IIT guys in 2004. Why backed them. No one. They’ve immigrated abroad. I saw Vonage done by a Pakistani company. I use his product in my call centre for last 4 years. He won VOIP device of the year in 2002. No backers.

    I met a lot of VCs from the US who are handling the India market. The guys don’t know shit. They wouldn’t know innovation if their wife was sleeping with it. They’re all looking for me too projects in India. And so are the homegrown guys.

    Show me ONE innovative project from India in consumer internet.


  2. It is not just market knowledge that is lacking a whole lot of enablers are lacking. For example if someone wants to do a quick Mashup with Google maps – say an Bank locator( along with weekly transaction volume) – which will give an indiaction of ecomomic/development activity in region/locality – There is no maps available, there is no data available, no hope of getting funding/exit available!

    Infosys was working with cool innovations like controller for CNC machines etc. They started growing after they gave up on them and statded the low risk, repetitive stuff!

    Risk taking is a ecosystem phemenon. Only if everyone is in sync there is deal(music).

  3. Alok Mittal says:

    Interesting points, few comments

    - Sanjay — to take an example, take the area of content delivery platforms for mobile content — there are tons of them here, and some that have good claim to leadership, but I still see a fair bit of undifferentiated plans on that in India. The starting thesis is that the global players are not addressing India well, and that is perhaps true, but then that is not a big enough eventual market. So you could build a lifestyle business there… There are a lot of other examples as well.

    - I think the key to use this trend is to realise that it works both ways. Hence the local element of the startup is as important as its ability to go global. There has to be something that requires strong local execution — performance characteristics, on-the-ground networks, logistics, consumer understanding and branding… something. In some cases, the “locality” can still deliver a large market (such as all emerging markets) and that is the area of interest to me. Large enough, but local enough.

    - If you accept the hypothesis that “if it hasn’t been done before, it won’t be done”, life gets boring :) I personally am seeing a lot of interest in India on the venture side, and my view is successes will emerge. I know VCs have burnt themselves in Indian market before, but I see more and more enablers coming into place. Whether its going to happen in next 3 years or 5, I do not know.


  4. Cram says:

    Hi Animesh

    “For all the glory that a Bangalore or a Hyderabad has, India is still far behind in building consumer-centric Product companies which have global appeal.”

    Far behind? Is India anywhere in the picture?

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