The Big Bang Theory of Startup India

Startup India

India is now becoming a startup hub. We are so proud as an Indian that our country is growing rapidly, we have big tech companies like Flipkart, Ola etc. As a developing nation today, we need many Startups like Flipkart for truly joining the league of the Western Countries.

Our government is also taking some steps towards making business easy in the country. But, this isn’t enough to really lead the Startup world when we have an innovative country like the USA, which is the origin of almost every big innovation happening today and also China which has expertise in making its own version of Western Companies.

In case you don’t know, China has its own alternative for Google, Facebook, Whatsapp, Amazon, etc. Chinese are good at making a clone of each and everything that could be cloned. But wait! What about Indians? What we are doing? Are we really Innovating like the West or cloning like China? Why there’s not even a single Indian company dominating the world like Google, Facebook or Amazon. We will try to figure out and answers to these questions proximately.

New Startup Ideas

If we try to look at some of the successful Indian Startups that have gone from nothing to a billion dollar babies like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Ola, InMobi, Quickr, Paytm, Zomato and many others, you will swiftly begin to notice one thing common to almost all of them. They aren’t really innovative or have come up with a new kind of product or something that the world has never seen in the West. Are Indian Startups are almost clones of successful Western Companies?

Startup Cloning

The short answer is Yes. Although the market valuation of Indian startups has grown significantly over the past four years, the study, “Entrepreneurial India,” states that 77 percent of venture capitalists surveyed believe that Indian startups lack new technologies or unique business models and 65 percent agrees that there’s a lack of funding. So, you may be wondering that what the hell is going on. Most of the tech giant has appointed an Indian CEO and here in India, we are cloning the west. Why? Why So?

First, take a look at some of the Indian startups and their Western inspiration. These startups seem to heavily influenced by their western inspiration and applied almost the same business model. When you can’t innovate, copy. When a new business idea is incubated and executed successfully, cloners naturally emerge and imitate.

Its easier to implement an already tested idea with their baked in business models including steps taken by them when they were starting up. Have you ever thought why Flipkart started by selling books like Amazon did? And you would be surprised to know that the founders of Flipkart were ex-amazon employees.

However, Amazon did it in 1995, and Flipkart in 2007! Imagine, you’re employed by a company and quit to start your own clone of the same company. That’s not innovation in any way. Here’s a short list of Indian versions/clones of the Western Companies, although there’s a lot more.

  • Flipkart/Snapdeal → Amazon
  • Oyo/Oraval → Airbnb
  • Ola → Uber
  • Zomato → Yelp
  • BookMyShow → Fandango
  • MakeMyTrip → Expedia
  • Zoho → Salesforce
  • iChef/HolaChef → BlueApron
  • RazorPay → Stripe
  • HealthifyMe → MyFitnessPal
  • LensKart → Warby Parker
  • →
  • Quickr → OLX
  • RedBus → GotoBus
  • ZoomCar → Sixt
  • CarDekho → TrueCar
  • InMob → AdMob
  • Grofers → Instacart
  • Yatra → Travelocity
  • Mr.Homecare /Zepper → Handy
  • Saavn/Gaana → Pandora/Spotify
  • Ikea → UrbanLadder
  • Mswipe →
  • MapMyIndia → GoogleMaps

Yes, you can say that these are all Indian versions of the western companies what’s wrong with that? Nothing is wrong with them. Every country does this, even the USA have many clones of some of its companies running in the country. If we want to be a follower of the West until the rest of our existence then this approach is up to snuff. But, if we want to lead the way, we’ll have to replace our startup approach.

Startup LaunchPad

This is because of many reasons.

  1. Society Acceptance Rate
  2. Insufficient Funding
  3. We are living in USA’s 2000
  4. Lack of Risk Takers
  5. Lack of Innovation

1. Society Acceptance Rate

Our society is obsessed with the old.We don’t want to replace anything old with anything new. If you are from India, may be you also heard, “Jaisa chal raha hai chalne do”, means Let it be how it was and don’t try to be over smart.

We are scared of change, you must have seen people running windows 98 even though that launched when dinosaurs ruled the world. People just want to stick to the old things declining new things, no matter how good it is. But with this generation, it seems to be changing and the younger generation is more tolerable and responsive to innovative things.

2. Insufficient Funding

Most of the Startups in India are backed by Venture Capitalists and these VCs seems to be more supportive and convinced with startups which are well-tested and materialized in the West than those which are yet to be tested.

If you got an innovative idea that’s one of its kind with full of risk then it’s most likely to not get funded easily in comparison to the well-tested ideas. Venture Capitalists in India are looking to play safe; they are not willing to take the risk. If we could change this mindset then we can have a way more diverse ecosystem of startups.

3. We are living in USA’s 2000

Yes, you heard it right! We are living in USA’s 2000. When we are not even close to our independence in 1911, IBM was founded. When we were busy fighting British, HP was founded in 1939. When we were suffering from Emergency in 1976, Apple was being formed. When the United States was imposing economic sanctions on India, Google, Amazon, Yahoo were already formed or they were being founded in 1998.

We missed the industrial revolution and because of all these things, we also missed a large chunk or tech innovation. All those years, Western counties were moving forward and India was yet to figure out all of those. They have founded practically every tech company required for a tech-savvy society. And we are trying to cope with this, resulting in a cloned startup ecosystem.

4. Lack of Risk Takers

We as an Indian always being taught to not take the risk. We are raised and educated in such a way that taking a risk in our career seems to be a taboo. Our parents, teachers, and society, all of them tell us to get good marks, get a job and live a safe life. But, I see this is going to change with the power of the young generation, because we don’t care less and that’s what makes us different from all those generations lived before us.

5. Lack of Innovation

In 1996, Mark Zuckerberg was six years old and he was taking programming tuitions and playing with his computer. When we are six or nine, most of the Indian parents don’t allow their children to play with the computer, why? Because they were afraid of what we will do with the computer.

When I was 16, I got my first computer and like most of the parents, my parents were also anxious about the kinds of stuff I was going to do with the computer. But, not all Indians are lucky enough to get a full-time computer. Our school and colleges are heavily theory oriented. There’s almost very little or no practical oriented education in India and that’s the main reason behind lacking innovation.

Few things to know:

In entrepreneurship, it’s not about who does it first, it’s about who did it best. Google was not the first Search engine, Amazon was not the first ECommerce Website, Apple was not the first personal computer, Facebook was not the first social networking website. One thing is common among all of them, they all are inspired in some way with someone else idea.

But, they did best in their field and are now ruling the world with their product. If they can do that, why can’t we? Why there is not a single Indian company like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple which are dominated the whole world. Can’t we have a startup which can rule the world?

Last Words:

We are copying the west in search of solving our local problems and that’s fine, we solved our own problem with our own products like Flipkart, Ola, Paytm, instead of solving our problems with western products. But, we have to keep one thing in our mind that every Society has its own problems and so, we have to find solutions for our own unique problems. Maybe that solution could go global and that’s the only way to build a world-class startup and support Startup India