• Mukund Mohan

    How to get to 1000 startups in India ever year

    I will be on a panel with several others at the IAMAI conference next week for the India Digital Summit and the discussion is about how to make 1000 digital startups happen annually in India.

    I thought I’d put some thoughts together and get some opinions before I present at the panel.

    Currently there are less than half that number of product companies being started each year.

    There are various issues across the funnel, but I’ll focus on the #1 issue, which I believe is at the top of the funnel.

    Great product entrepreneurs starting great companies.

    I wanted to pick a specific example from our accelerator: two of the most amazing hackers and geeks I have worked with – Melchi and Aditya co-founded Cloud Infra after 6 years at Google here in India, building high quality products.

    I would fund them just given their background and the quality of hackers they are. Regardless of what they are developing.

    Anyplace else (Valley) they would have been funded first and then they would have been asked questions. I worked with them for 4 months.They are amazing.

    India needs more of them to increase the number of startups from 500 to 1000.

    Unfortunately that’s not happening and is not going to happen.

    I may get a lot of brickbats for this statement, but:

    I believe the best product entrepreneurs should have built & shipped a world-class product before they start a company.

    If you have worked in a services company it does not count. Period.

    There are very few software product companies in India – in fact fewer than 20 are really good. Of those 20, many, including Google, are cutting back on hiring and investing in India.

    That’s just awful.

    Yahoo, Zoho & InMobi in particular have contributed a LOT to the product startup ecosystem in India, given how many good developers they have helped groom.

    If you worked at any of these product software companies a few years ago, then you are a candidate for a high quality product startup in India.

    Granted, a small number of these folks are actually starting companies, but that can be fixed.

    The trouble is there are not too many of them in the first place.

    And the bigger issue is that the Google’s and Facebook’s of the world are preferring to hire more folks in the valley.

    In fact many of the top IIT graduates who get jobs at Google and Facebook are moving to the valley. 2 years ago they’d be working here in India.

    To get 1000+ digital startups each year in India, we have to work on making sure world-class digital software companies hire more of our top people here in India.

    I dont think tax breaks will provide them any more incentive to hire here.

    I also believe there are enough quality folks here in India they can hire.

    I’d love some ideas on what will make them hire more people of high caliber in India and keep them here. I’d love to see them not cut back on hiring in India.

    What are your ideas on how we can get these companies to hire great engineering talent in India?

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    • Sunil Gupta

      I believe that one of the problems (as I see it) is that people costs in India are not as attractive as they used to be. In other words cost arbitrage for quality product professionals in India is not that compelling any more. How does one fix this problem? I don’t know – will professionals in India take a lower salary – I doubt it.

    Jan, 14
    2013
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