The Indian startup eco-system / 2 years down the line!

I had blogged about this extensively about 2-years ago (around Sept 2014). I thought it would be a good checkpoint to re-visit this topic to see (and gauge) where we stand today.

Rewind the clock a little backwards and this is what one saw back then: I had not yet joined India’s foremost e/m-commerce company when I blogged about the irrational exuberance prevailing in the Indian startup eco system, my previous startup company was not hugely funded yet by marquee VC firms/PE investors back then and there was indeed a HUGE VC/PE interest in startups of all shapes and sizes, focus on growth (profitability was forgotten!), Flipkart was making all the news with it’s billion $ funding announced in July 2014, as with all rising tides, all boats were lifted and there came a slew of startups – both solving someone’s unmet need and those that weren’t!

Fast forward to today and here is what one sees: Lack luster VC/PE interest in startups (especially new startups). Edgy founders. The food delivery startup mayhem took an untimely hit, e/m-commerce startups have almost ground to a halt on their old discounting model to acquire/buy consumers, VC/PE investors are looking to cash out after years of pouring money into startups of all shapes and sizes, investor enthusiasm shifts from growth/buying customers to focus on profitability/reducing burn and the goal to be the first in its category / vertical to reach GP zero from a high GP negative territory! So, how did this come about and what are the lessons one can derive from this choppy ride? Read more of this post


Irrational exuberance / startups/India bubble will burst in next 12-18 months Eco times repeats my prediction!

While India is flying high on a rising mobile eco system and trying to make the most of the rising tide raises all boats, it is equally pertinent to note that when the tides go away, you will know who was swimming without trunks.
Point is this is clearly a bubble that has much in similarity to that of the USA dot com bubble back in late 90’s. It will not sustain.

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The Indian startup eco system

It is no secret that the Indian startup eco system has started to take shape. Look around in India and you feel the vibrant atmosphere akin to the 1970’s Bay Area or the 90’s Silicon valley, Seattle excitement! Those were the days when was still non existent, The Airbnb’s and Uber’s were not even on the horizon! Those were truly the days of the Apple vs. Microsoft war, was BIG, SUN was truly shining, DELL was BIG, the Personal Computer and server business was a never hotter, Cisco was huge, Intel was THE Chipmaker for the world, Yahoo was ‘THE Internet’ when Steve Jobs had just returned to Apple when his company NeXT got acquired by Apple and by a magical turn of events, he was CEO again!

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The startup hype curve!

Not a single day goes by without the newspapers screaming with headlines suggesting <XYZ> E-commerce company making waves and raising <X> USD venture funding. Friends, family etc. everyone are trying to jump onto the e-commerce bandwagon and everyone wants to come to the party and hopefully, make some quick bucks. I see history repeating here in India and I want to caution my readers about the craze surrounding:

1. Startups, 2. E-commerce boom, 3. Startup boom (not as a way to solve real customer problems but as a way to make easy money)

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Organizational change/restructuring and the associated politics

The problem

Its no secret on the level of politicking one has to encounter as one meanders through the complex maze of organizational politics. Change is forever and while it may impact different individuals at different times, the outcome is key. You are measured not always by what you did but how well you play to the new environment and how adaptable you are. You will be rooted out by the system sooner than later if you do not adjust to the new structure and this happens in organizations of all shapes and sizes. How do you negotiate this as a Product manager instituting product thinking into the new management team?

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The origin of Silicon valley!

Great research by The Endeavor research!

Having personally worked for a Bay Area company for almost 3 years and pretty much all my career for California based companies, this was a fresh breath of air to analyze and reset on the firm foundation required to build an eco system of startups that are spawned from such a small area!

The value generated by Bay Area companies exceeds the GDP of many countries (India included!) – in other words, Trillions of $!



My friend returned from the Himalayas rejuvenated and ready to take on the world.

Before this a quick word on his definition of ‘simplicity’. The next topic my friend took time to describe is ‘focus’ but that is for another post.

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