Home Dehradun Next two decades very conducive for start-ups in India: Deepak Garg

Next two decades very conducive for start-ups in India: Deepak Garg

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By ARUN PRATAP SINGH

DEHRADUN, 29 Apr: An interactive ‘Uttarakhand Start-up Ecosystem Meet’ was held here today. The Chief Speaker at the meet was Deepak Garg, unicorn founder and CEO of RiviGo. Other participants in the meet included investors like Vikas Kathulia, founder and MD, First India Assistance, Hari Balasubramanian, founder, Indian Angel Network (Linked to Angel Investors), Uday Chatterjee, another Angel Investors member, and Sri Prakash, President, TiE Dehradun. The welcome address was delivered by SC Nautiyal, Director, Industries, Uttarakhand. He thanked Deepak Garg and other participants for participating in the meet. He added that this was the first Startup Ecosystem Meet in the country and reminded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the person behind the idea of start-ups, wanted unicorn founders to visit states and interact with new startup founders and mentor them. This was the first such meeting in the country. Nautiyal added that the objective of the government is to promote and support entrepreneurship in the state. India is the third ranked country after the US and China in terms of unicorn projects, with 96 unicorn projects already in its kitty, while there were only 12 unicorn projects in the country in 2019. It is expected that by 2030, India could have a thousand unicorns. He reminded that entrepreneurship is more important and not every start-up would become unicorns. Small or medium scale start-up projects would also become job creators and change the country’s industrial scenario to a great extent. He hoped that the interactive session would prove to be a useful one and called upon the budding entrepreneurs to be frank and not hesitate to ask questions. Deepak Garg stressed that this was perhaps the most opportune time for start-ups and entrepreneurs in the country and that he expected that, in the next two to three decades, the environment would be very conducive for entrepreneurships. He said that India has the potential of being the country with highest economic growth rate over the next thirty years and the current crop of entrepreneurs is very fortunate to have an environment that is friendly and helpful. He reminded that, after passing out from IIT Kanpur, he chose to be an entrepreneur instead of choosing a highly paid job. His father and family members were surprised. Why? They wanted to know, recalled Garg. However, within the span of a few years, the scenario had changed and the country is now brimming with many persons, wanting to become job creators instead of joining jobs, and uplifting the country as well. Entrepreneurship is now being actively promoted and encouraged more than ever before. He, however, cautioned that with the opportunities, challenges are bound to be there. To put it differently, the more the challenges, greater the opportunities. He said that India needed job creators at a fast pace as every year even more youth were entering the employment market. He further said that such events are quite useful as the entrepreneurs and budding entrepreneurs could learn the basics of entrepreneurship, how to create a company, how to develop the idea and look for funds and, then, how to strive hard to realise their dreams. Garg said that it is a wrong notion that Indians are not innovative enough and cited the examples of the ancient Rishis who did amazing innovative research in various fields. He said that innovations in Rishi Valley of ancient India could be compared with modern Silicon Valley of the US. Neha Nagpal, Senior Manager Startup India, explained to the gathering of entrepreneurs the Government of India policies related to Startup Projects. She also explained to them the procedure of applying for the Startup Certificate so that funding, tax and marketing benefits could be availed by them. She also stressed that innovation is the key to being certified as Start-up Projects and this was what separated them from other MSME projects. Aparajita Saini, Manager, Startup India team, also introduced the policies to the gathering. Appreciating the work done by the Start-up India team, Hari Balasubramanian stressed that the policies are great and provided adequate opportunities but suggested that some restrictions for seed funding and investment limits ought to be relaxed. He emphasised that, for a proper start-up project or a unicorn project to come into proper functional shape, it is normal to take 5 to 7 years. So, the policies should be framed accordingly. This was followed by an Investors Roundtable which was moderated by Angel Investor Vikas Kuthalia, who stressed that start-ups are like learning cycling in childhood, which also carries the risk of falling or injury. Risk taking capacity and belief in one’s idea are crucial to start-ups. He said that startups ought to be open to learn from failures and take course correction midway. Hari Balasurbramanian said that hiring good people is a must for success. He said that founders often are so passionate about their projects that they do not allow talented employees or partners to run the project, which is wrong, he said, adding that hiring and firing are crucial to course correction. Uday Chatterjee, a highly ranked investor, said that often people have ideas and they approach the investors with the bare idea only to get rejected. He said that ideas have to be developed and given concrete shape before approaching potential investors. The perspective of how to develop the project and how to market the products is very crucial. It could still fail but one ought to be willing to course correct. Sri Prakash, founder of TiE Dehradun, reminded that ideas have often a transitional value. He cited his own case that, more than a decade ago, he and his wife tried their hand at organic farming. While they were successful in organic farming but, back then, there wasn’t much of a market for organic produce. The question was why, how and when in respect of the idea. Timing of the idea is important. He said that, once considered a great idea, Netflix is losing out currently because the demand has changed. The Roundtable included questions and queries from start-up entrepreneurs and they were answered by the participants. In the meanwhile, some select start-up entrepreneurs got an opportunity to privately interact with Deepak Garg in a mentorship session. The post lunch meet comprised two sessions. One was ‘Building Zero to One’ on how to build successful organisations and products and successful teams. This session was chaired by Deepak Garg. This was followed by the ‘Grounders Roundtable Session’ moderated by Rana Atheya, founder and CEO of Dogspot. Other participants included Taranjeet Singh, founder of Innovocon Learning Solutions, Manas Upadhdyay, Chief Technology Officer of DTown Robotics, Abhijeet Roy, Director Plades Innovations, Loveena Laitonjam, Founder of Rent An Attire, Sidharth Arora, Founder of Fermentech Labs, Rajat Jain, Founder of Sunfox, and Robin Nagar, Co-founder Valley Culture. This was an experience sharing session by the Founders of Startups from Uttarakhand. Lastly, a Stakeholder Interaction between the entrepreneurs, the Investors and Sri Prakash, Uday Chatterjee, Vikas Kuthalia, Hari Balasubramanian, Deepak Garg and Rajendra Kumar, Deputy Director Industries Government of Uttarakhand. This was a closed door interaction. The Vote of Thanks was proposed by Rajendra Kumar, Deputy Director, Industries.