This Diwali, Indian Startups and Investors Need To Do A Lot Of Cleanup

Having dealt with several startup teams, here is what I clearly see – there is a huge gap between what a founder says about company culture/ethics in front of media and the culture code inside the company.

During Diwali (the festival of lights), Indians clean up their house and this year, it seems that a lot of startup founders and investors need to do a clean up as well.

The Indian startup funding spree in foodtech and several other categories is largely governed by fake metrics.

And while it worked to raise funding, the truth is that most of these startups are failing (not visibly though) and it’s time both the entities cleanup their understanding of metrics.Diwali Shutterstock

The pace at which Indian startups are jacking up employees salary is not funny at all. Of course, big numbers are always good (esp for the downstream economy)- but only to the deserving ones.

Otherwise it leads to a false sense of intelligence and is surely bad for everybody.

We are already seeing massive layoffs.

Expect more.


Talking about layoffs, we certainly hope ‘under peformance’ is NOT the excuse given for firing.

It’s also the under-performance of the founders and the leadership team that led to this situation. So investors and founders – do some clean up before you head for your winter vacations.


In the last 60 days, I have (consistently) used services of atleast 8 (well funded) consumer startups. Except for a few cases, they all turned out to be mediocre and needed a lot of followups (across grocery/foodtech/furniture/home services).

The new age consumer utility startups need tighter execution, otherwise the only disruption they will be known for raising (and blowing money).

Most of these ‘in-the-making’ guerrillas lack middle management leadership and it shows up in the execution (maybe because top management is busy with fund raising all the time).

Time to slow down and fix things. The #ChaltaHai, #Jugaad funda isn’t working at all.

#MediaTalk Vs. Reality

Having dealt with several startup teams, here is what I clearly see – there is a huge gap between what a founder says about company culture/ethics in front of media and the culture code inside the company.

Of course, its’ all part of scaling up pangs but founders do need to clean up their PR/media talks – it has gone overboard.

The good news is that the system will run its own garbage collection process and a lot of fluff will be taken away.

The ones who survive and stay focused will enjoy the winter season that follows Diwali !

  1. May be Good startups,but surely incapable Founders, and even more foolish investors.

    Many of them (Founders) don’t even understand the basics of “process oriented execution”.
    They don’t have any knowledge of enterprise process/software. Still using excel to run processes.

    Add to this surprise, Investors are even more behaving like a fool. They are suffering from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), and pumping lot of money.

    Certainly this is not good for startup ecosystem.

  2. Agree with you Ashish. Many start ups shrinking to going bust will auto correct the aspects that you have highlighted.Some founders have taken, “fake it till you make it” too seriously. In actual sense there is hardly any disruption or real innovation. Interesting thing is every founder says, he is building a kick-ass company and with TinyOwl, Zomato, etc and may other such startups are really doing the same by kicking the ass of their employees!Is this what they meant by a kick-ass company?

  3. Hi Ashish you have jotted very clear picture of the #startup scenario, I have personally used most of the renowned startup services from grocery,home-services,food-tech & very few stood up to the satisfaction.

    Startup are more focused towards raising funds & creating media buzz rather then building winning solution or product.

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