Scenario of Indian Startups: Part 1
Unique ideas? Till when?
It happened on a recent visit of mine at a startup event in Hyderabad, that I was hosting and everyone was sharing his or her startup and staying-up stories. How they ideated, initiated and stayed up with their ideas. And few shared how they had initiated something “unique” but couldn’t stay up for long.
There, the bell rang. Unique ideas, and still failed miserably. I enquired more about those “failed” startup stories. Why they failed, despite being unprecedented?
And the answer came way sooner than expected! Guess what!!
Yes, their ideas were unique alright. But never for too long. As somewhere or the other, someone or the other was copying that idea and launching it as their own with a better funding, may be.
Yes, I mean exactly what you are thinking: Most Indian startups are actually copycats! In other words, the ones that are doing fairly well have either adopted business models and/or revenue models that might have been ideated by some startups who thought it to be unique, and got copied, and ultimately got bunked!
Originality is not visible…good for many, severely pathetic for the startup scenario as a whole. It is affecting in a way that the venture capitalists, in general, are not investing in the ideas if they can see the replicas around. Nowhere is the proof that the idea got ideated from where! And…as a whole, finding venture capital and getting crowdfunded for them is often getting difficult.
No, I am not going to rant only on the problem. There should be a solution as well. And to be true, even if the abovementioned issue is generalized, there have been some exceptions too. There are startups which had unprecedented concepts, weren’t copied, got funded, got noticed and doing pretty well for themselves. Take for example the concept of RedBus, or Nykaa. These are one of its kind startup ideas.
RedBus, the bus-based (only bus) travel agency got funded, doing well and still to be copied, and founder Phanindra Sama might be extremely happy about it we are sure. Even if it gets copied at some point later (though I am not yet sure if there has been a similar site already available!), the presence is so broad and bright that it can’t be replaced. It is a one-stop destination for all your queries, bookings and availabilities of buses across India.
Same goes for Nykaa, the beauty products retailer. Though there was a similar site (Purplle.com) before it came into hindsight, Nykaa made its way much faster, much more successfully and way smarter. Reason? Uniqueness…ofcourse! Nykaa, first of all, offers many more brands than those available on Purplle including budget ranges of Blue Heaven to premium brands like Huda Beauty, Pac and MAC. Also, they are unique with their offers and free gifts, that means they surely know what their target customers (women!) want!!!
However, these “unique” names are really limited. Though India stands tall as the third-largest startup ecosystem, the diversity of Indian startup system seems to be limited. All thanks to the innumerable issues they face. But then, those issues can be sorted out.
On the challenges they face, and on how they are surmountable, let’s dig in to the next part to be continued under the same tab.