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Indian entrepreneurship gathers force

business Updated: Mar 12, 2008 23:25 IST
Devraj Uchil

Fresh graduates are no more dreaming of just landing a plum job and all professionals are not happy just raising the capital value of their employer and successfully meeting new challenges. With a healthy economy persisting in India, there is a sense of excitement in the market and every person with an entrepreneurial streak is vying to claim his place in the sun.

“There is a marked spurt in entrepreneurship in India. I don’t know whether this trend will continue and for how long, but I definitely see a marked increase in professional entrepreneurship,” says Rahul Khanna, director, Clearstone Venture Advisors.

There are essentially two kinds of entrepreneurs: Those who have just graduated out of a B-school and have not really faced the hardships of managing a start-up but are brimming with enthusiasm and novel ideas, and those who have put in about between five to 20 years in industry and are willing to sacrifice their six-figure salaries and cushy lifestyles to take up the challenge of venturing a start-up.

“After the initial dotcom boom in the late 1990s in India, we are now seeing a second wave of start-ups across Industry such as IT, ITeS, hospitality, semi-conductor design, bio-technology and gaming, amongst others,” says James Agrawal, consulting director and head, BTI Consultants. This second wave has been fuelled by the economic boom in, the availability of venture capital funds and the IPO boom. While the IPO boom may have seen some stutters lately, the economic fundamentals are still very strong.

The passion to create something from scratch, to make a difference, to enjoy that sense of ownership and the success rate of Indian entrepreneurs in global markets are some of the factors that have contributed to the rise of start-ups in India, says Agrawal.

“Today, people can see examples of successful entrepreneurs in India and this creates a lot of inspiration. The Internet and media have helped by publicising success stories in both Indian and global contexts,” says Bikash Barai, CEO, iViz, who owns a start-up that finds security flaws in digital networks and suggests remedies.

Names such as Sanjay Nayak, CEO and MD, Tejas Networks and Raman Roy, founder, Spectramind and Quattro, represent success stories and spell inspiration for others.

But what makes a venture succeed and who is more likely to succeed?

Success depends on the attitude and aptitude of the entrepreneur and his knowledge of the field he is starting up in. A lot of pathbreaking innovations such as Google came from college students, while a Wipro and Infosys were by professionals with experience and vision.

“As investors, we value experience and those who can generate and attract value and talent. It is immaterial whether the start-up is by a fresher to the industry or a senior person,” says Khanna. Professionals with experience are uniformly more comfortable taking risks and their ability to take intelligent decisions with the right balance of caution is an important ingredient in their success. “Having said that, there are examples of successful ventures spearheaded by management graduates,” says Agrawal.

The emerging economy has created a lot of opportunities with India-specific business models. This gives an edge to Indians who understand the pulse of the Indian market and its consumers. At the same time, 2008 continues to be a volatile year that will test an entrepreneur's mettle. “An entrepreneur who is willing start his venture in this period is the one we are looking at, because he has enough determination and a clear plan to tide over the rough time and make his venture a success in the shortest period of time,” says Khanna.