Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, whose own mobile wallet and ecommerce company is backed by Chinese investors, believes that the Indian subcontinent has enough resources to survive itself if the rich of the land take some responsibility and start investing in small businesses. Speaking at an event, Sharma shared that most of the Indian startups have to look overseas for money for the lack of investors in the domestic circle.
With a large ecosystem of over 4,500 startups, India is currently the third largest startup ecosystem in the world. Experts believes that if majority of the traditional businesses of the country pitch in, the sector has the potential of becoming number one in no time.
“I am all for domestic investments. I want every domestic rich person to start putting money in startups. I truly call upon on them. India’s old economy companies should bring that capital back to put money in startups. Why do we need outside investors when we can have people from inside (the nation),” said Sharma at an event when asked to share his views on the capital dumping issue by global firms, which has resulted in closing of doors to entrepreneurship in many sectors including online marketplace and taxi aggregation.
Sharma isn’t the first Indian entrepreneur to raise this issue. In the past, several Indian entrepreneurs have pointed towards the lack of interest within the country to take the Indian startup industry forward, leaving them no option but to turn to foreign investors.
It is important to note here that when a foreign investor comes in, the money that the startup makes on their investments goes into the pockets of these foreign investors and adds on the economy of their respective countries. So, in the end, the money which could have gone into the Indian economy if a startup would have had an Indian investor goes into the economy of a foreign land.
It was only last month that Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal had shared about the current situation of the Indian startup ecosystem and acknowledged the fact that what is currently happening in the industry is something which hasn’t happened anywhere in the world. Talking about the large amount of capital being dumped in the country in order to win maximum market share, Bansal pointed towards the fact that there’s an uneven playing field made available to Indian startups in their own country against those settling here from elsewhere.
Similar views have also been echoed by MakeMyTrip CEO Deep Kalra who believes that the Indian government has ended up taking the motto of Atithi Devo Bhava to a whole different level altogether. Pointing towards the stiff competition that the company is facing in surviving in its own country against global rivals such as Airbnb and Expedia expanding their base in India, Kalra said that though he isn’t averse to foreign companies coming to the Indian subcontinent but these companies are often met with a different treatment through government policies, which makes them uncompetitive.
Interestingly, even though the Paytm founder is now voicing his concerns about capital dumping by global players, his own company, which has investments from China’s Ant Financial, has been accused of dumping capital to gain the customer base by its Indian rivals including Mobikwik.
Let’s hope that a good majority of Indian business elite are able to rise to the occasion and invest the money that they have earned off the Indian market back in it by investing in the Indian startup ecosystem.
[Top Image: bloombergquint]