Are India Startups Serious Business… 

…Are India’s tech startups serious businesses or will they just fade away when the funding stops

The other day, I came across an article on Rahul Yadav, who was CEO of a startup named till he was sacked by the board. 

I must admit the interview is old, having being conducted in 2015–However, there is one part of it which offers an interesting insight into what is wrong with Indian startups. At one point in the conversation, Yadav confesses that he doesn’t like ‘Excel sheets. “He says that when they were meeting potential investors, if the investor asked for Excel sheets, they would just drop that investor.”

Strange enough if any investor turned out to be the sort who was interested in discussing such things, these entrepreneurs just stopped talking to him and moved on to someone else. As Yadav says, with a sly smile at one point in the interview, that when an investor wanted too much detail, he knew it wouldn’t work out. 

Now there’s nothing unusual about this attitude. This has been a time-honoured tradition of Indian promoters since long before these digital days — avoid investors who are interested in too much detail, just look for a greater fool instead. However, I do feel that in the domain of technology startups, this attitude arises from a fundamentally different premise. 

They seem to firmly believe that as long as they have enough scale, that’s great, even if they are losing money on each transaction. This seems to be a widespread belief among Indian startups–yet the opposite view, that a business is a business and cannot defy the basic logic of sales, expenses, profit and loss for too long, is seen as something that doesn’t apply to new, technology-based businesses. 

So based on the article I wonder why India’s zombie startups reach their logical end sooner rather than later. 


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