The Indian Startup Ecosystem — Something isn’t right
Nish Rao

This may be an older article, but it was a cathartic read! I echo every one of these points (especially the Zuckerberg Syndrome, forcing foreign models onto Indian markets and the lack of talent), and feel that in the time since you published this, their relevance has only increased.

I would also add that the investor community — specifically because they have adopted the methods of their counterparts in the US and other startup hubs — have a deal sourcing method that is fundamentally flawed in its ability to scale. Referral networks alone aren’t enough to scour the length and breadth of a country as big and diverse (in terms of literally every socio-economic measure) as India, and those faced with and solving the biggest problems may not necessarily have inroads into the referral networks of investors, and therefore may be fundamentally cut off from sources of capital.

Add to this the fact that Limited Partners of Indian VCs have investment horizons of 7–12 years, when the average Indian company has taken up to 16 to go IPO forces the entire ecosystem to prefer M&A/quick exit avenues. This shortsighted view undercuts the potential for true innovation that may take much longer to mature. I feel data-driven sourcing and vetting is the need of the hour in this regard.

Keen to read more thoughtful articles like this Nish Rao! Great read.

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