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Evangelise the entrepreneurship

Zafar Anjum | April 29, 2013
In a wide-ranging interview, Som Mittal, president of Nasscom, India, speaks of the three pillars of startups, the Singapore scene, the new direction of the Indian IT industry, and corporate governance.

How exactly is this going to work? Are you going to go to colleges to promote this? What will be the next step?

Basically, there are lots of pieces to this stuff. I think this is a longer term programme. First, we will be doing 300 odd events in the next 12 months. These are hackathons, these are business plan contests, these are successful companies talking about their roles that people understand what's going on.

We are also partnering with everyone that I had mentioned before, to be able to link them up. When you reach out to very many, you can't do it one on one so you need to use technology to do it. So, we're creating this portal where people can register and post their experiences. We are creating this major eco-system to do it. To be very honest, I think for us to say that we have thought through everything, is wrong because I think we are going to evolve as we go. We have thought a lot of what we are going to do for the next two years but I'm quite sure in the third or fourth year we are going to do something very different based on our experience.

Is there a time frame to this?

You know 10,000 (startups) started as a 10-year programme. That will come up. We have already given some metrics of what we will claim as success. We hope that from these 15 US$1 billion companies will come so it's not just about M&A and so on but you know what is going to happen is just that connect up is going to change things because today everything is localised.

India is so large so you have an angel network in Delhi and one in Bombay but deals are not shared. People in the North don't know what's happening in the South. Are there matrices? Somebody can do that. Can somebody create market places? So for us this umbrella will provide those connects and increase the whole deal flow that is coming in. We are also looking at how we will be able to get the government to put in some funding and give really early stage funding. Today people don't get early stage funding. If I want to start up, I don't need a million dollars. I need US$50,000, right?

Correct.

So people don't tend to get US$50,000 because they are saying, "It's too early a stage, I need to see success" but somebody has to take a risk and I think we have seen successful models elsewhere where early stage funding actually had more mortality but the upscale was much higher because you promoted very very early stage companies.

 

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