These are exciting times and India is on the cusp of new possibilities for entrepreneurship. That's the general view of the entrepreneurs and experts we spoke with in this first podcast in our series titled 'Indian Entrepreneurship: The Next Ten Years'. The guests:
- Rahul Panicker, president and co-founder, Embrace Innovations
- Ashwini Asokan, co-founder of Mad Street Den
- Kiran Karnik, former president of Nasscom, who is now associated with the India Innovation Fund
To illustrate how things have been changing, they point to a handful of start-ups that are very different from what went before: Team Indus, which is trying to put a spacecraft on the moon; Ather Energy in the electric vehicle space; Freshdesk in the customer service space; Mapmygenome; and D.Lite and Greenlight Planet that sell solar LED lights.
On the challenges, Asokan talks about how she struggles with the bureaucracy and the “bro culture”. Panicker recalls the early days of Embrace, when it was hard to get people to join a start-up—it was seen as too risky and the notion of being compensated with stock options was alien.
But things are changing. Karnik says, there is money out there looking for breakthrough ideas. There is hope that if your idea is promising, you can raise money even before you have proof of concept ready.
India is also a good crucible for new ideas. Asokan talks about the low cost of experimenting in terms of the ability to experiment quickly with so few resources.
In the next few days, we will bring you more on
- How Indian start-ups are differentiating themselves
- How big US companies with their deep pockets are changing the entrepreneurial landscape in India
- How the new breed of entrepreneurs is different
- What lessons can we learn from past experiences to make the future better