By Rahul Gulati
India’s startup scene has exploded in recent years. But what is prompting the metamorphosis into a startup powerhouse?
Open source has played a vital role in significantly lowering the barrier to entrepreneurial success – and it’s fair to say that India has been something of a trailblazer in open source adoption.
Open source is pervasive, in every sector, with 99% of new software projects now containing at least one open source component. Why? Because open source is an enabler of innovation. It helps developers collaborate and build better software, faster than ever before. While every successful business needs a clear vision, a killer product and a willing audience, it can often hinge on whether it has access to the right tech at the right time – as well as the speed to harness it before competitors do. This challenge is open source’s sweet spot because it is built on the fundamental principles of collaboration and problem-solving.
The open source impact for startups
At its core, open source is a community of like-minded people, innovating at great speed by coming together and collaborating freely, sharing expertise and reusing successful workflows. Instead of painstakingly creating proprietary in-house tech at every turn, startups who adopt open source suddenly have cutting edge technology – and access to global talent – at their fingertips.
For entrepreneurs, it means apps can be created within hours of a new idea taking shape, rather than having to wait weeks or months. Businesses also don’t need to start from scratch every time when developing new software. Instead, they can build on relevant code created by like-minded developers around the world, saving valuable time and effort that can instead be put to better use in other strategic areas.
Levelling the playing field for innovation to thrive
From furniture and food retailers to fitness firms and clothing companies, customers now expect a robust digital offering as standard and companies that do it best will quickly gain a significant advantage. Open source is playing a huge role in that, giving many startups a powerful leg-up when looking to create or disrupt competitive market sectors – something that simply didn’t exist before.
In many ways, open source has created a new democracy among startups around the world. At GitHub, we’ve seen a huge influx of new startups coming onto the platform from a diverse range of sectors, all in search of great code that they can easily apply to their own businesses.
Perhaps the most exciting part is that we are nowhere near scaling the heights of what open source can enable. As an industry we need to work closely with stakeholders from the worlds of business, government and education to continue to build on the foundation open source has helped to build.
The writer is startup programme manager at GitHub, an IT service management company