India’s most valued startups aka Unicorns — Flipkart and Ola — are grouping together with peers including travel portal MakeMyTrip to launch an industry body that will represent the interests of local ventures and aim to create an effective defense against deep-pocketed global rivals in the country which is already figured out as world’s fastest growing online retail market.
The lobby group — Indiatech.org — led by Sachin Bansal, co-founder of Flipkart, as founding president and chairman will appoint a former IAS officer as CEO, said a report by Economic Times. The former bureaucrat is expected to join in 2-3 weeks and the group is likely to kick-off its operations next month.
The other founding members of the Nasscom-like group for startups include online classifieds player Quikr and messaging application Hike. “The group wants to become the Nasscom for the startup space,” said two of the people cited in Economic Times report.
Flipkart, Ola, MakeMyTrip, Quikr and Hike are expected to be a part of the group’s executive committee, with more companies expected to join in. The group is being set up as a non-profit and just like Nasscom it would have different layers of membership.
Additionally, global investors like Tiger Global, Softbank and Steadview Capital have also been invited to join the group.
Earlier this year, CEOs of Indian startups including Sachin Bansal, Ola’s Bhavish Aggarwal and PayTM’s Vijay Shekhr Sharma cried foul over US-based companies doing business in India while PM Modi still held meeting with tech CEOs of US companies demanding to invest more in Indian market.
Sachin Bansal, executive chairman of Flipkart, the country’s largest ecommerce company said earlier this year that, “We have the opportunity to build great internet companies from India, but we need to create a fair playing field. If we are able to create that level playing field, Indian companies will have significant advantages”.
The formation of the lobby group signals an aggressive stance by the country’s top dotcom entrepreneurs, who have been insistent in their demand for policy support.