The real reason behind India’s lack of startups/innovation.

First thing first. Let me tell you all the non-reasons. It’s not about technology. It’s not about ability. It’s not about resources. It’s not about funding. It’s nothing that you think.

And now let me clarify that how I qualify to answer this question. I am founder of http://closest.in it’s now a 11 month old web startup. We started working on it right after college, so I am a young startup founder, with very radical ideas, inspired by silicon valley culture and what not. So I have 11 months of experience in this arena to back my answer.

Now, why there are no web startups from India, because there are no early adopters. That’s not in our blood. Web startups come out of USA because Americans love to try new things and we Indians don’t. This is a problem which can’t be solved by technology. This is a psychological problem.  There is not a single web product which came out of India, that I use daily. Yes, not a single.

What are early adopters? Early adopters are those people who actually use new services and accept them or reject them. I am not saying that early adopters always accept new products, they actually give their opinion. So if a product is doomed to fail, it fails early. That’s how it works.

And I know the root of problem, it’s the faulty education system which is brainwashing innocent children and putting a belief in them that “your ideas are useless”, it’s such a small line and has such a vast impact on the whole nation. Students are literally discouraged to take forward their ideas, especially in the average engineering colleges, I can only talk about them because I was a part of them.

Only solution to fix this problem is to destroy all the engineering colleges right now and convert them into “idea factories” let young people work on what they want. I cry seeing so huge human potential wasting. If anyone wants to fix something in startups ecosystem, fix the education system, that’s the root.

</rant>

31 thoughts on “The real reason behind India’s lack of startups/innovation.

  1. hunter107

    IMO, bashing the ‘education system’ for one’s failures is an escapist, and fashionable thing to do these days. Instead, the author would perhaps gain much from analyzing that what he considers to be people’s fault for not accepting his great idea, is maybe just another idea born to fail. I mean, his startup is yet another social networking web2 thing, what’s so fucking new about it? A lot of 20-something, fresh out of college future-Zuckerbergs have this business plan that’s basically, ‘Build it, and they will come”.

     
  2. arjie

    I have to agree. I visited his website and nothing it offered was worth it. This is what their front page says:

    > Create a free profile and add people you like, as best friends and close friends.

    > Share it with world and honour your friends. Transform from ‘just friends’ to ‘close friends’

    > Additional features

    > Send private photos, message to friends and chat with anonymous visitors.

    Why would I do this? Facebook already does this, and now Google+. Also, “share it with world”. Really?

     
  3. Abhaya

    I hear your pain. But simply connecting lack of early adopters to problems of education system is a leap of faith. If you think along, early adopters are of 2 kinds. One who run after every next shiny thing in town. These will have profiles on every social network. Will own as many new gadgets as humanely possible. The other kind are specific to different startups. These are the people whose particular painpoint is being solved by that startup.

    Now there probably are not enough of the first kind in India and even when there are, you are competing with startups from world over for them. The second kind are the only ones whom you can reliably try to target as a startup founder. You really need to know who is the user who is immediately going to be your early adopter on seeing the product. If you are not able to find enough of second kind, then perhaps it is the case of product market fit or of a very small market or of a market not reachable in an efficient manner. So you look at why this person whom you believed to be your early adopter is not being one and adjust.

    Even the mass market products like Facebook started with the specific segment of users like Harvard students who found real value in it. You can argue that as Indians we are not risk taking or we are not open to trying out new things, but be aware that the problem might lie in our own backyard.

     
  4. Nitish

    I believe another major reason is the lack of “taking risk”. People wont take risks and go the hard way to make a product(they could more easily go for a service based model) Most of Indians like to play it safe!

     
  5. Vinay Jhedu

    You are right , The main problem is in our education system . Let me say some thing about practicals the only thing that come in students mind is ” ye tho farzi hai ” . How can you think of a web startup if you haven’t done any practicals in your 8 sem. By just attending the theory classes of java you don’t become a java coder . So i think if more emphasis is given to practicals in engineering we will have real engineers . At this time out of 200 engineers only 1 is a real engineer.

     
  6. Shree Kant Bohra

    I totally agree with you that our’s could be a case of product market fit. But generally speaking, the kind of startups that US produce, iphone apps based startups, social apps based startups and likes, do you think India can adopt them ? I still believe that the problem lie deep down, somewhere in the education system.

    The education system trains you to like the jobs that everyone doing and pursuing something different is not considered any good.

    The problem is bigger.

     
  7. RP_Joe

    The amazing thing is that you recognize that the education system is broke. Many countries with broken educational systems are in denial.

     
  8. Jack

    It isn’t even a problem of education. It is a cultural problem. I have seen the same throughout Asia.
    Social hierarchy, and working to please “superiors” rather than solving abstract problems.
    Following tradition.
    Focusing on serious work instead of playing around.

    Asian culture itself is not innovation friendly.

     
  9. Anonymouse

    Hello,

    I hear you and second your thoughts :)

    This is the “Exact Reason” why i dropped out high school about 2 years ago and working on/for a 19 months old startup :)

    Regards

     
  10. Alex D

    blah blah blah blah

    zoho is a great success story. but you kids have no idea about the enterprise space do you???

    there are a bunch of startups everywhere. you are just ignorant. its easy to whine, bitch, rant and moan. and its same old education is horrible cliched arguments. no solutions. and no positiveness.

    there is a whole ecosystem here, morpheus, headstart, OCC, mumbai angels, IAN, chennai startup centre…and there are quite a few good stories like cocubes for one. just because you dont see them doesnt mean that they dont exist.

     
  11. Alex D

    i dont think anyone is perfect…i think techstars, ycombinators, founderinstitute, or hundred other accelerators/incubators popping up everywhere in the states have their issues as well.
    i am not disagreeing with you on probably “bad” things with them.

    there is well and kicking entrepreneur system here in india and its only booming. sramana is pimping quite a few tech stories from here, some of the stuff TiE events is pretty cool, NEN is doing some, and cross over some lines, social entrepreneurship is booming oh well..not up to your standards i guess.

    how about zipdial?? shaadi.com, the indian railway site, cleartrip…redbus?….not satisfied with these stories eh??

     
  12. Abhaya

    @shreekant iPhone app based startups are coming out of US since that is where the majority of iPhone users are! You will find Indian early adopters for the problems that Indians face. Examples? Try starting a coaching institute for JEE or IIM. Or any kind of training institute for that matter. For more ‘decent’ businesses, see Redbus. Indians don’t like to buy online but still they flock to online railway reservation. That is because it solves a huge huge pain point!

    Now of course, as an individual, one may be interested in certain different kind of problems. Things for which target market is in US. So early adopters will also be easy to find there. As a founder based in India, all you can do is hustle your way to them.

    Having said that I agree with your plan of demolishing majority of engineering colleges. Unfortunately, we are only going to see more of them every year. This year, there was a significant drop in the number of new colleges opening and so _only_ 500 new colleges are opening!

     
  13. Amit Gharat

    Before reading this post I had no idea that closest.in exists. After signing up, I did not find any usefulness to carry with it. Whats the purpose of creating closest.in?

     
  14. Srinivasan R

    Not related, but the blue text for the comments make me think its a huge link. Would be better if it were the usual black or dark grey.

     
  15. Rakshith

    Another main reason for lack for entrepreneurship in India is the social pressure of becoming a doctor engineer working in big corp. Indian parents dont encourage entrepreneurship but rather focus on education, here in the US parents encourage their kids at 8-10 years old to start a lemonade stand in summer, things like this will mold them to think more in business sense.

     
  16. grimen

    @hunter107: You are so wrong on the ball I don’t know where to start. =S I was about to get argue on all your points, but I think it’s waste of peoples time to correct everyone online that totally have no clue what they talk about but act like they do. Your comment was just sad to read, I hope you don’t have children – how uninspiring that would be. Watch some TED, and no it’s not only fiction – I can name pleny of people that made it against their odds because they believed they could. One thing is sure: You will never be able to “change” anything, if you don’t think you can – NEVER EVER.

     
  17. Vivek Khurana

    Early adopters are not from education institutes even in America. It is the nature of the market in America which produces early adopters.
    The problem is much deeper in India. The problem is we have never invested in training business into using technology to build process.
    The companies we have built in India are pioneers in Global delivery but they always go for low risk, high man power, low hanging fruit.
    To add to it our technology business associations are more interested in lobbying in US for outsourcing than developing Indian Market.

    Like most premature entrepreneurs, blaming Education system for everything. But the other side of coin is, that same education system produces guys who start fantastic companies in Silicon Valley. The problem is not in the system but int he people who study in the system.

    And BTW what is with you and “not a single web startup in India”. Looks like you never heard Cleartrip, Makemytrip, paisa.com, Rediff, smsgupshup, justdial, bookmyshow, naukri.com, 99acres, mydala, snapdeal,flipkart, Directi, Zoho, bazee, cricinfo, InMobi, chitika, 99labels, fashionandyou, infibeam and many more… maybe you are connected to wrong internet :P

    regards
    Vivek

     
  18. Shree Kant Bohra

    @Vivek – You have made very valid points. Regarding “not a single web startup in india” I was pointing towards web products which doesn’t involve any offline stuff, if you notice your examples cleartrip, makemytrip, justdial or most they involve both stuff. And rest are those which I rarely use.

    By web startup I mean something which injects a new abstract thought in universe, like twitter, fb, reddit, HN, gmail and likes. I am not sure if you would agree with it or not but solving the visible problem is easy but solving invisible/pseudo problem is the the toughest and most challenging task.

     
  19. Anjaan

    bull shit!.. you might have learned so much in 11 months.. but your product is crap…If not wrong earlier you came with iddhis.com …. what do you think of you? you are talking like you created Google. come out of your dreams and what you learned… excuses… one can succeed if he can make things work in odds.. without complaining … when you couldn’t sale in your circle how do you expect from others…or if you sold than you need to work on circle first

    Kid, you are saying that Morpheus, Headstart and OCC bad… might be they didn’t consider your idea.. and you proved them right.. because it didn’t worked yet… so they saved huge loss by not investing… you are living in your dreams.. 11 months your idea didn’t work… how many people you add with you.. I would like to know how many are there in your team.. I think only one and two… and you are making a social product…the first thing you should learn is respecting others and their position no matter how…and you should be strong enough to hear negatives.. just not pointing back.. you proved that you are piece of junk..all the best

     
  20. Abhinav

    most startup founders when unsuccessful rant about their customers. .Also you must note that innovation is something that is adopted by the wise and the stupid alike- all assholes use google and facebook, and they were innovative.
    anyway 99% people who use facebook drive it and make zuckerburg a billionaire are those who just kill their office hours or pay for farmville. so learn to respect general non-geeky people.
    i’ll suggest you to hunt for better ideas and not rant at the education system, as i didnt find anything new or original in your closest.in idea. sabeer bhatia, pranav mistry, cv raman all came from india.

     
  21. Guy

    So let me get this straight- you refuse to solve real problems like people like Redbus, Shaadi.com and makemytrip and insist on solving ‘fake problems’ even though the Indian market lets you know that it doesn’t care about these problems.

    Then you blame the market for not liking your ‘fake’ problem solving.

    It sounds more like you have some massive disconnect with or lack of understanding of the Indian market- than anything else. An entrepreneur blaming the market after coming up with a lame product is just sad.

     
  22. irv

    Sorry. You have it wrong. There is nothing in the universe more brain-deadening than American public education. Look somewhere else for the answer.

     
  23. Paras Kuhad

    @Anjaan: Thank you for letting us know that our product is a crap,

    * We think that we are dreamer, but do writ a reply to my comment that how you came to know about iddhis. People in our circle were using Iddhis, and as far as I know you don’t seem to be among them, well I am not expecting anything from others.

    * Wrong perception is the biggest ailment in world, When skbohra is saying that he doesn’t want to write anything as ‘he thinks he is not the right one to do’, this way of depicting his thoughts doesn’t make Morpheus, Headstart and OCC Bad.
    If you say that thy saved huge loss by not investing, I would say it doesn’t matter at all. Nobody is no one for a startup, it is not by default that we came for a startup, and it is not by default that they will choose us, and it is also not by default that anyone will go necessarily for them.

    * >you are a piece of junk< .. Does writing something like this make sense ? The first thing we should learn is respecting others and their position no matter how.

     
  24. Anirudh

    Anjaan: dude, you end up sounding like a faint-hearted douchebag, posting derogatory remarks with a false identity. btw, did your parents give you that awesome name?

    Just curious, are you one of those VCs who’ll fund my “Webdev service” startup?

    Putting it my way, there might be a user-research issue during initial seeding. But that’s okay, facing problems at first product. It was good-learning for the authors. All the best to them for the future endeavors!

     
  25. Vikash

    we indian always share what we create to our closest friend “FIRST BOOM” .. And you know what we get from them.”gud response at first” but there is something back in mind..

    My suggestion to Indian Startup.. ” Let the indian people “your friend too: finds your startup/venture at Facebook/G+/Twitter/socialnetwork/CNN/mashable/emails ect..

    There you go.. No body can stop your success.

     
  26. Saurabh

    Too many sweeping statements. “11 months of experience” – Hahahahaha! Overall – very amateurish article with no real facts to back up claims.

     
  27. Pingback: Please understand India… « Beyond Work