A couple of weeks back I attended a talk by Mr Sanjay Bhargava an angel from        venturemutiny in geekdom woods (formally working with payPal) in IIM A, he spoke about the need of startups and helped us realize whether it was a startup we were looking for or not. The talk basically circumambulated around what it takes for a startup to initiate in India and a couple of things were made very clear: One that angels or VCs always feel more confident working with people who are putting some money from their own side as well and Two that startups in India need less seed as compared to that in the States, so if your looking for a seed, it better be reasonable. What I find intriguing is that, the extremely talented human resource of this country should find itself in a much better condition to take risks now than it had been, say five-six years back, right now almost any engineering graduate from any discipline will get a decent job in Bangalore. Given this fact it is comparitively easier to take a risk and plunge into the business world with ones own idea, but theres something that holds one back, probably the risk factor, the insecurity, the investment or the sheer social pressure to get a job and settle quickly.
Most of the successful startups are attributed to college dropouts, so the age the grand idea clicks you is then, and starting a software business then is even more secure as all you need is a desk/lap top. So eventually it all boils down to the age old hardwork conquers theory. Most of tech college goers are too damn satisfied with software jobs with high attrition rates. People interested in startups are not just interested in wealth, they are genuinly interested in contributing to the society or at times have too much of an authority problem to have a boss. Techcrunch writes about a new startup almost 3 times a week and let me assure is very selective and the number of innnovative companies I can think of in India are very few, Webyantra-the techrunch of India, Indianpad, Wallet365 (a recent e commerce tool), Dhruva Interactive (a premier gaming company), Web chutney (started by a 19 yr old college drop out), Signion.. of course Im missing a few (will be glad to read about more) but the fact remains that we are one of the top notch of software/design skill and so secure in terms of jobs and still so few initiatives.
I also met Mr Beerud Sheth, CTO of Webaroo and earlier founder of e-Lance at the same talk in IIM A. He says that he knows a lot of people trying to create Indian versions of youtube and myspace but theyr not considering the prospects of such things in India, when they should be looking to solve problems like bandwidth. Webaroo is a brilliant offline search tool that is freely available for download. The company is working to develop mobile search that Mr Sheth considers is going to be a mass tool. Now thats a cool idea! . Hes also pro the idea of joining a startup, it could be as promising as a startup as it gives one ample opportunity to explore. He even compared joining a startup to snipers and commandoes sent out in enemy territory to explore and joining the big brands to policemen doing routine work!
According to business today, Dhruva interactive is also a company worth mentioning, it is trying to find the profit at the bottom of the pyramid by producing games for the ten minute players new to gaming, playing in the lunch time. Web chutney has been very successful in viral marketing especially with their Ramayana makemytrip ads. Both Mr Sheth and Mr Bhargava stress upon the need to give it a try before coming to any decision, especially when one is in college, buzzwords are thinking, innovating and trying. More information about angels/vcs at venturewoods.