Indian Start-Up Ecosystem Not Fully Developed: Vivek Paul

10 Nov, 2011

The Indian start-up ecosystem is not fully developed yet, compared to the US scenario, as entrepreneurs here do not share ideas with each other, according to Vivek Paul, founder of the private equity firm Akansa Capital and enterprise social network KineticGlue.

"I feel that the Indian ecosystem is still not there. The one thing which I see missing is that start-ups are not talking to each other," said Paul at the NASSCOM Product Conclave in Bangalore on Thursday.

A mature environment is all about with whom you share your experience and from whom you learn. Although Bangalore is the Indian hub for start-ups, it is still not as well-positioned as it should be. However, things are becoming better every year, according to the former vice-chairman and high profile chief executive of global IT, product engineering and business process services segments of Wipro Ltd.

While addressing the packed audience of budding entrepreneurs, Paul said, "You should have absolutely no hesitation to go from business to business without any baggage. There is no age limit for an entrepreneur."

Paul also shared his views on how to digest outside opinions. "You must listen to everybody and listen to your own counsel at the end of the day," he observed.

According to him, an entrepreneur must go by what he/she believes in and not by what people say. "When one starts a business, one must plan for successes and also for failures," he summed up.

In this echoes a similar sentiment shared by veteran venture capitalist Vinod Khosla who feels that the willingness to fail is key to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Paul, who joined Wipro in 1999 and is credited to have led the company from $150 million in revenues to a billion-dollar giant in just about six years,  quit in 2005 to join the private equity giant TPG. The BITS-Pilani graduate with an MBA from the University of Massachusetts, had also worked with the conglomerate GE, consulting firm Bain & Co. and beverage & food giant PepsiCo. He, however, moved on to form his private equity firm Akansa Capital in 2009.

In July 2010, he also set up KineticGlue, a Cloud-based enterprise software company offering social applications for businesses. KineticGlue has recently acquired Injoos Web Solutions, a Bangalore-based provider of social media tools for enterprises, in an all-stock deal.

When asked about his venture, Paul said that Kinetic Glue preceded all other companies in this space and he was fortunate to be one of the early leaders. "We have started to focus on large Indian corporate houses and that has gone well," he added.

Currently, he also serves on the board of Electronic Arts, world's leading game publisher, among other organisations.

Paul also had some sharp remarks for the Indian IT services companies. "These companies are growing in terms of size that is becoming unmanageable and they are becoming bureaucratic in terms of fundamental design of organisation," he elaborated.

"Bureaucracy is killing customer satisfaction and it is very important to create self-governed and self-managed teams so that they come together. They have to figure out how they organise their scale and their size & structure," said Paul.

Talking about the emerging trends in the Internet space, especially in India, Paul noted that mobile and mobile-related infrastructure and financial services would be a key area of opportunity. According to him, projections for smartphones are much underrated. "It's going to be higher and faster than anybody has predicted. And that's because people are finding various reasons to use smartphones besides making calls and also leveraging various apps for those activities," he added.

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Willingness To Fail Is The Key To Success: Vinod Khosla