Taking a cue from the success stories of their “parent” companies — all of which started from a scratch — a new bunch of “breakaway” entrepreneurs are taking the path less trodden by venturing out on their own and giving birth to a favourable ecosystem for start-ups in the country.
Just consider these figures: From a little over 300 start-ups in 2006-07, the figure now stands at 1,500. There were just about 38 early-stage and venture investors then, now there are 83. The value of investments has gone up from $600 million to $2.3 billion. The start-up ecosystem in the country has matured and the exposure to the risk-taking culture has inspired many techies to take the unusual path to entrepreneurship. The turnaround tales of companies like Flipkart, MakeMyTrip, InMobi and Zoho have only boosted their confidence levels.
This is not to say that IT biggies like Microsoft, Google or Yahoo! have ceased to be the hotbeds. While Microsoft India has spawned some 20 companies, Yahoo! India has spun off about four to five start-ups. Many of these firms have good entrepreneurial cultures. But experts feel that the country has also seen tier-I investors coming in to fund good ideas and have a mentoring landscape that is evolving rapidly. Also, the technology adoption at a consumer level — mobile and mobile internet, e-commerce — is helping entrepreneurs conceptualise business ideas that can scale across geographies, they say.
Naveen Tewari, founder and CEO of InMobi, says working in a start-up helps budding entrepreneurs imbibe vital values like risk-taking, speed of execution and meaning of failure, as well as inspiration from people who are living by it. This, he feels, is very different from that of large organisations. “Paradoxically, the invisible safety cushion in large organisations often inhibits people from realising their true potential. But in a start-up, failure is often celebrated as it leads to learning and encourages people to take on bigger challenges,” Tewari says.
Prashanth Prakash, partner, Accel Partners India, feels that working as a part of the core team at a successful start-up will give the ringside view of operations to people, who will also have the opportunity to witness a non-linear growth.
“This is more common in technology start-ups because the amount of capital required to bootstrap is small as people can build them by using open source and cloud on the net as well as by leveraging the tools available,