What do Startups Expect of Modi Led ‘Startup India’ Initiative?

We are all agog to see Prime Minister Modi launch the Startup India Programme under the Startup Action Plan on the 16th of January 2016. After Make in India and Digital India, this is one of the seminal initiatives undertaken by the Government of India to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit of the nation. The vision of this programme is to foster native startups, formulate favorable policies for them and to promote technological innovation. The measure is reflective of the efforts being taken by the Union Government to check brain drain and encourage young entrepreneurs to ‘Start in India and Stay in India’.

The move has undeniably planted some serious hope in the hearts of budding entrepreneurs. As they wait for the launch of this programme with bated breath, check out what their expectations are and what opinion do they hold on the initiative:

Girish Mathrubootham, CEO, Freshdesk believes that this is a step in the right direction by our Government which can inspire and encourage people to start up on their own.

Likewise, Vikram Upadhyaya, CoFounder, GHV Accelerator is of the opinion that the ‘Start up India Stand up India’ initiative will spur an increase in good-quality startups; with higher chances of fundability and scalability. With the support from the government, the startups can look forward to the removal of the many roadblocks that they face – taxes, ease of doing business, mentoring, access to funds etc.

Ankita Tandon, Chief Operating Officer, CouponDunia too opines the same. Commenting on the prevailing challenges, she says, “the general ease of doing business in India is not yet in place. The pace at which start-ups operate is very fast whereas government processes are lengthy and often take a long time for clearance formalities and paperwork”. She believes that through the ‘Start Up India, Stand Up India’ initiative, the government should simplify all these processes and make it easier for the start-up community to not only set up but also scale up their business. “Our Government should also encourage micro-entrepreneurship by investing and dedicating an exclusive fund for entrepreneurs apart from the one’s provided by the VCs and angel investors. Furthermore, the government should address the challenges faced by start-up companies and set up proper compliance and redressal forums for addressing these issues. Any start is a good start,” Ankita added.

Startup India Modi

Entrepreneurs we spoke to for the story

Of all the amendments and policies which entrepreneurs are looking forward to be made by the Government, relaxation of tax laws tops the chart. Bipin Preet Singh, CEO, MobiKwik maintains, “Currently there is a lot of excitement around startups in India given the growth in entrepreneurship and the flow capital in this field. Global investors and leading foreign technology companies are backing Indian startups given the tremendous potential in India’s billion plus population.  However, the government has to improve regulations and make it easy for young entrepreneurs to startup. The taxation regime also needs to be overhauled and go a bit easy on new businesses.”

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Adding a comment on the subject, Varun Dua, CEO & Founder, Coverfox said, “the key expectations from this initiative – would be some bit of deregulation and allowing FDI in fintech. Most fintech businesses like payment banks / insurance have heavy dependence on domestic capital which is mostly risk averse and thus scarce. If not FDI relaxation, then domestic capital should be provided some benefits for taking on risk and supporting innovation in the financial sector.  At a broader level we would like the Govt to consider structures which make private secondary transactions more liquid from a tax or complication perspective. And ESOPs, angels etc. getting monetized seamlessly. This in my view would fuel more growth.”

Expressing his desire for the relaxation of stringent policies, Samar Singla, CEO Jugnoo stated, “Financial policies are a big pain point at the grass root level. We would like RBI to work faster on policies related to wallets and payments. Payment banks are still super licensed and that stops innovation.”

Startup founders believe that the initiative holds the potential of making a remarkable impact on the country’s economy, generate employment and help homegrown enterprises emerge as world class companies in the near future. “Government of India promoting Startups gives a new channel to entrepreneurs to develop and market their products. It opens the channel to the untouched markets i.e Tier 2, 3 cities and towns of the country. With the government, the reach will be easier and cheaper. One of the major challenges faced by Indian Startups is the amount of paperwork for any small transaction. Government of India digitizing this paperwork mechanisms will be one breather for the entrepreneurs”, states Saurabh Singla, CoFounder LazyLad.

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Speaking on similar lines, Kiran Murthi, CEO, AskmeBazaar, maintained that India already has great momentum in starting up as we are now the 5th largest in terms of funding and have more than 5 new tech companies starting every day. This initiative by the Indian government is timed very well and we should be a global leader in the start-up sector in the next couple of years. “India has a reputation that its starts slow but catches up fast and I am sure with this early edge, we will lead in this sector in the times to come. This initiative might catapult us to the No. 1 economy position as predicted by industry estimates, in the next 15-25 years.”

Likewise, Rahm Shastry, Founder and CEO, DriveU, believes that this is a great way to start the new year, and he hopes to witness some revisions made in areas of infrastructure, better financial products and smoothing the legal hurdles that will help startups to get funded quickly and also offer incentives to boost entrepreneurship and job creation. This will in turn lead to more innovative, and self sustainable companies that shall emerge from India. This will give rise to a new wave of entrepreneurs to chase their dreams and to stand up and startup.

The general opinion about the launch of this initiative looks full of hope and optimism. Nevertheless, recalling the hollow promises made by the Government in the past, it is hard not to be a little skeptical about the initiative.

Here’s what Abhinav Dinesh Garg, CEO, iamwire has to say, “The excitement & market scope for Technology Startups in India is undeniably growing, and this will really help the entire economy and even the Government. But we the people of India are yet to see the impact on ground reality as there are lot of leakages in the system. Take for example, the case of educational policies which have been talked of for decades; firstly there are lot of frictions or lack of intents in passing ‘useful’ laws and secondly, there are high operational inefficiencies in deploying the impact. So, even if we are hopeful about the new startup policies as Indians are always, we need to wait and watch to what extent these policies are actually implemented and to what degree they are beneficial to the ecosystem. Nevertheless, regardless of circumstances, we will keep moving forward.”

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  • http://www.smartkeeda.com Smart Keeda

    The initiative is great considering the era when the average age of startup entrepreneurs is below 35. Kudos to the startup fraternity!

    Regards,
    Smartkeeda