I started investing in Indian technology startups in 2006 when I moved to India after spending 20 years in the US. I made my first investment in an Indian startup in a company called Wiziq.com. If you go back to 2006, the activity levels were very low. In the entire year (2006) I saw a few dozen business plans and made one investment.
Now let us fast forward to 2013. Many things that have changed significantly. First and most important is that we have a much larger addressable market in India. There were 40 million internet users in India in 2006. At the beginning of 2013, India had 150 million internet users and the country is adding 4-5 million internet users a month. There were no smartphones in 2006, there was very little activity on social and online video, and e-commerce was virtually non-existent in India. Today all of that has changed. India is now the third largest internet market in the world and we are seeing explosive growth in mobile, social, video and e-commerce.
Second, we have a much larger number of entrepreneurs. For instance, the Nasscom 10,000 startups programme had over 4,000 applicants over a period of two months. In addition to the significant increase in numbers, we have seen a steep change in the quality of the entrepreneurs. We are now seeing a large number of highly driven, young engineers trying to build tech companies.
Finally, the Angel ecosystem has grown significantly. When I joined the Indian Angel Network (IAN) in 2006, there were only a few members but today IAN has more than 200 members apart from several other angel networks. From 20-30 active angel investors in 2006, today India has at least 400-500 angel investors. Today with the advent of cloud services, two engineers with a great idea can build a product and get it launched with a few lakh rupees.
In the startup world, mistakes are going to be bountiful. Failure is a key element in the startup ecosystem. I would like all of us to make many more mistakes as that is the nature of the game. If you see the entrepreneurs from Bangalore, Mumbai, NCR, Pune and Chennai the appetite among young people to take risks is very exciting.
We now have many examples of successful technology startups that have been built in India. This is very important as these companies and their founders