DNA India: Nov 13, 2017

YourNest India VC Fund general partner Dr Vivek Mansingh, an IT veteran who has worked with the likes of Steve Jobs, Michael Dell and John Chambers and successfully launched and exited his own start-ups, has turned his attention to mentoring start-ups in the “evolving” ecosystem of India. Here, he tell Praveena Sharma the biggest challenge in the start-up ecosystem was “overcrowding”. His early stage start-up fund recently raised Rs300 crore.

Many believe that the Indian start-up ecosystem is maturing, do you share the same view?

The Indian start-up ecosystem is in an evolving stage and not yet as mature as in the West. Similar evolution happened in the Silicon valley in the United States and in Israel but they have now reached a level of maturity.

The challenge in India is that there is overcrowding of start-ups in certain segments, entrepreneurs have less exposure of global markets, ideas and talent are limited in deep technology domain, limited availability of money at an early stage and mentor ecosystem is not as evolved, among few other things. The start-ups have some clever ideas but they may not be unique and the differentiated value proposition is in general not very strong. If the venture has a global product, the value proposition has to be globally competitive along with effective global sales and marketing strategy.

However, India’s start-up ecosystem is moving in the right direction and I have no doubt that we will be among the best in the next few years.

Where do you see maximum traction in terms of verticals and location/cities?

Bangalore and Delhi continue to be start-up hotbeds with Mumbai (fintech), Pune (Auto), Hyderabad and Chennai (SAAS) right behind.
There is a lot of focus on B2B in addition to B2C. Many B2C are turning into B2B2C.

Among the verticals, software as a service (SaaS), internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), Fintech, Healthtech, enterprise software, ecommerce and mobility are most pursued.

There is a view, among many economists and experts, that start-ups would be one of the ways to create jobs in future, do you think start-ups are able to contribute in improving the employment scenario when we are seeing largescale job losses due to automation (adopted by start-ups) and many new ventures failing due to faulty revenue/business model and other reasons?

Start-ups have and will create significant jobs and economic development in the country. In USA, VCs have invested in more than $500 billion in over 50,000 start-ups and have created more than 15 million jobs (15% of work force) and combined revenue of over $3 trillion over the years.

I have no doubt that India’s start-up ecosystem will create the same results over the long run.

What are your ten commandments for entrepreneurs?

They are: Know your space, spend a lot of time and effort on understanding competitive landscape to keep your differentiated value proposition strong, stay focused, devil is in the details, be a great story teller, get a mentor, have high conviction in your vision but keep taking the feedback from customers, market and competition seriously so that your venture or vision evolves in the dynamic nature of our industry, know your numbers and create execution excellence, create a team that is top-notch and balanced, create a winning culture and motivate the team to be as committed to the vision of the company as you are, keep innovation and creativity quotient high in your company, have fun and enjoy the journey.