By By Sidharth Dhingra, Founder & Business Development Manager, Funtuse
Founded in 2014, Funtuse is a subscription-based marketplace for curated, interactive and captivating content for children who are 5-12 years of age.
Donning the hat of a start-up entrepreneur is more of a passion than just a phenomenal trend. Last few years have witnessed a heavy rush of start-up entrepreneurs ready to hop on to a roller coaster ride when it comes to experimenting with business endeavors, whether they were freshers from top engineering and management institutes or senior management professionals from corporate houses. It is the fervor to come up with something extraordinary that drives start-ups and ends up creating great entrepreneurs within its wake. With more than 3,000 tech startups, India is the fourth largest base for young businesses in the world and according to NASSCOM, it is expected to increase to 11,500 tech startups by 2020.
Billionaire Richard Branson says, "Business opportunities are like buses, there's always another one coming". Most start up entrepreneurs might disagree with this statement, especially when as a newbie it is difficult to get one good opportunity, let alone have the liberty to pick and choose or wait for the next big thing to come your way. Furthermore, as an entrepreneur you have to finally decide which “bus” to take, that shall help you in reaching your destination and in most cases it a combination of luck and common sense that wins the day.
Being the CEO of a startup in India is exciting and exhilarating. But it can also be equally exhausting and mind-numbing at the same time. Starting up is far from easy, especially in a country like India where the ecosystem has just started to take off and doesn`t have the bandwidth that exists in mature systems like the US.
So far, the existing startup programmes have paved the way for some noted digital trends that are shaping the Indian economy with a potential to shake things up. Content consumption through mobiles and tablets is increasing exponentially and is fast becoming the first screen of choice, replacing TV. The latest innovations appear in the form of video delivery to offset high bandwidth consumption and low internet speeds. People can now watch what they wish to, when they want to and are not restricted by programming schedules of their favourite shows on TV . Turning towards the music industry, Apple recently decided to launch its own version of Spotify, a music subscription service, whereas Jay Z, the popular singer also launched his own streaming service "Tidal" in March this year. Viewers hit Netflix for video and TV subscription and Scribd as well as Oyster books when it comes to eBooks subscription. Taking a look at the bigger picture, it proves that consumers are ready to pay for access to desired content.
Everyone wants to meet and speak to Angel investors and VCs, as every startup entrepreneur dreams about raising a huge round of investment at a massive valuation. But there are very few entities that end up bridging the gap between them in India which curtails the growth of new start-ups that aren`t yet ready for big ticket investment by VCs. “Good idea but it is just too early for us”, most entrepreneurs have heard this before.
E-commerce has captured the attention of people and investors in a big way when it comes to startups in India. All the funding announcements favor companies which are converting the offline play into online, for example, the food/grocery delivery services which is deemed to be the flavor of early 2015. India also swears by its herd mentality that has plagued it for generations, which indicates that there is a terrible dearth of ideas and experimentation when it comes to initiating ideas for start-ups. There is also the presumption that something that has done well in the west will do so here as well and hence there is blind replication of the service or product without drawing on socio-cultural and economic inferences when it comes to some startups. Big ideas like Funtuse, wherein basic development work is huge and capital intensive, we found there is also a lack of bandwidth among the vendors/service providers for new ideas, which can take a lot of time and resources to overcome.
Growth of “consultants or experts” ranging from Investment advisors, digital marketers who have no or little experience, on how actual businesses work or sustain themselves, further muddle the water for start ups.
People might admire and praise start-up entrepreneurs for their business or product but with an early stage startup in India, nobody wants to quit their comfortable corporate job and jump in alongside as a team member simply because they believe in the idea and the product. Now is definitely the time to start a company in India, however, the startup ecosystem in India is yet to evolve in some aspects. The support and infrastructure required to help young businesses get off the ground is still developing. Accelerators and incubators are cropping up all over the country. The future of India and its startup entrepreneur will keep going uphill if the spirit of innovation is kept alive.