To set the context, Kishore Biyani said
“90% of the startups have no meaning at all, they are nonsense. I think the canvas of startup needs to be bigger.”
Before you dismiss him off as an old/traditional businessman who failed to create digital business (Big Bazaar Direct has been shutdown), I do believe that he stands correct about the quality and canvas part.
Solving Deep Problems?
How many Indian startups are solving deep problem ? How many of them are even attempting or trying to solve deep problems?
Unless you believe in food apps solving deep problems, mMost of startups are no more derivates of what's happening in Silicon valley - they are now derivative of what's happening in India and what'er gets funded. And I don't blame investors for this - they are money managers and it's not their job to do founder's job (of deep thinking).
The *Kart phenomena
To quickly share, our startup submission form gets minimum of 30-40 entries per day. Of which 60% is from Indian startups.
The good ones ? Unfortunately, 90% are copy/paste models - it's almost like 'hey! I can write a 'Hello World' programme and let me create another *Kart.
The good ones are actually coming from global startups and starting next week, we will start profiling them - we hope this pushes the envelope for everybody else.
India's Best Minds Want You To Consume More.
Seriously ! When the world is talking about reuse, recycling and building efficiency - we have more startups launching (and raising funding) around building aggregator model.
The aggregators are valued 10X more than creators and very few of these aggregators have actually created efficiency in the market.
In India, marketplaces are becoming bigger than the market.
Shouldn't startups be optimising for efficient consumption and NOT increased consumption?
All technology startup valuations are currently based on the amount of (potential) time and money they can get a user to spend on their website/app. In the tech startup world we call it the LTV (Life Time Value) of a user. But should we optimize for simply increasing consumption of content, products and services or are we going to focus our efforts towards efficient consumption? Isn’t creating an interface to leverage impulsive purchases directly related to wastage?
Building new ways of helping people spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need cannot the objective of the smartest minds on Earth. [from an earlier thread by @akhil1]
We Are Celebrating Too Early.
We are celebrating very small wins and while it's good for individual happiness, as a collective - it promotes mediocrity and inhibits growth. (from an earlier response)
These awards ceremonies and startup founder's stories - they all cut short the canvas for innovation. These early celebrations leaves founders/players with very little ambition to go big.
[Recommended read : Difference between Indian and Chinese Entrepreneurs]
The Jugaad / "Inspite of" Culture
We have a culture that either promotes jugaad or covering our lack of excellence with the words : "inspite of". We tend to hide our weakness by using these words - and to make it sound more courageous.
Among the most striking for me was when fighting in Kargil was on and as usual there was talk of armament shortages. The then army chief V P Malik reassured us by saying “we will fight with whatever we’ve got”. Now, okay, we did, and we won, but did we really have to start with that qualification? There are always shortages, but it is tough to be persuaded that, after the 1965 war when the odds were adverse, India’s armed forces have been equipped poorly than Pakistan’s. But an ‘in spite of’ adds also to the joy of victory. [Shekhar Gupta/source]
If the Indian startup space has to grow, it needs to ask questions/learn to debate and importantly, think deep.
The celebration of fluff won't last too long and I do agree with Mr Biyani that the canvas of startups needs to be bigger.
And the onus lies with founders and innovators. After all, with so many billion dollars of funding - how many Indian startups you think have actually created value in the food chain / disrupted the market?