Business Unusual: Startups and the Future of Entrepreneurship in India


As a strategic advisor in India for more than thirty five years, Alan Rosling has had the perfect vantage point from which to observe the evolution of the Indian business landscape. India is currently seeing a surge in the number of start-ups being formed - according to a 2016 Nasscom report, there were 4,750 start-ups with more than 1400 new ones that had been established in that year alone. This number is projected to reach 10,500 by 2020. In his new book ‘Boom Country?’ Rosling takes a look at this evolution and paints the current scenario in terms of the challenges it faces and the way forward.  

From just a few start-ups in the 1980s that mostly offered computer software services such as Infosys, the Indian start-up ecosystem has matured both in terms of the number of start-ups and the type of services offered. Apart from the traditional tech start-ups, today’s start-ups offer a variety of services from e-commerce (Flipkart) to tourism (Cleartrip) to fashion (Jabong) and others. While the start-up boom gained momentum after the liberalization reforms of 1991, only in recent years has the government recognized their potential and started putting targeted policies in place to aid their growth. In January 2016 Prime Minster Modi introduced the ‘Start-up India Action Plan’ which aims to make it easier for entrepreneurs to set up businesses – start-ups will be exempt from paying taxes on profits for the first 3 years and entrepreneurs will be offered subsidies as incentives. The plan has also made available a fund specifically for start-ups which currently has an amount of Rs. 2,500 crore and is expected to grow to Rs. 10,000 crores in four years.  

Entrepreneurs in India still however face numerous challenges – including a lack of mentorship in terms of industry knowledge and support, regulatory issues in the form of vague or restrictive laws, and difficulty of access to funding. While these are issues the government is trying to address, India still has some way to go to catch up to more advanced start up markets such as the U.S. or Israel. Join us as we take stock of India’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and its future in a discussion around ‘Boom Country?’ with Alan Rosling, Entrepreneur and Karthik Reddy, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Blume Ventures.

Alan Rosling founded Griffin Growth Partners. Rosling is also the co-founder and a Director of Kiran Energy, one of India’s leading independent solar power producers. He is a Non Executive Director of Coats Group Plc, Constellation Alpha and LNGaz, a Canadian small-scale LNG company which he co-founded. He is also Senior Advisor to Navam Capital, an early stage technology venture fund which nominated him to the Board of Vyome Lifesciences. Rosling was an Executive Director of Tata Sons Limited for five years from 2004 and was the Director responsible for internationalising the Tata Group. From 1998 to 2003 he was Chairman of the Jardine Matheson Group in India. His earlier career included the Policy Unit at No.10 Downing Street; Strategy Director at United Distillers, CEO of a division of Courtaulds Textiles and S.G. Warburg. Alan was educated at Cambridge University and the Harvard Business School. 

Karthik Reddy is the co-founder and Managing Partner at Blume Ventures, one of India's leading early stage Venture funds. Karthik's stints at American Express, Reuters Instinet and Bennett Coleman (Times Group) have given him a breadth of experience across the US and India in Financial Markets, Technology and Media. He is an alumni of IIT (Roorkee), IIM (Bangalore) and The Wharton School at Univ of Pennsylvania. At Blume, he has led the majority of the investments, and advises and serves on the boards of some of the leading investments at the firm - Zopper, Belong, Exotel, Grey Orange Robotics, Unacademy, Chillr, Healthify, Mettl, Nowfloats, Railyatri amongst other emerging stars.   

Event Details

Tue 03 Oct 2017
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Visitors Annexe, 159-161 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort, Mumbai 400023.

Add to Calendar 20171003T123000 20171003T143000 UTC Asia Society: Business Unusual: Startups and the Future of Entrepreneurship in India Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Visitors Annexe, 159-161 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort, Mumbai 400023.
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