Investments, Valuation & Losses- The Dirty Game Of Startups In India

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First of all, I feel very sorry about the so called startups in our country.

India may be a land of startup eco-system but not at all a land of entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship is something which has two well blended pillars

1. Venture Which is Problem Solving

2. Venture Based on some unique concept or Idea.

All that I see around us is the copy paste ideas with some added salt, sugar or spice.

Some guy goes to some foreign country for their internship, jobs, honeymoon, family vacation and see a business model running there, come back to India and copy paste the same and start calling himself as an entrepreneur.

The good part is that this model sometimes work outs and becomes a huge hit in India,  as India is far more behind than other countries like USA, UK, China, Australia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy in terms of technology and creativity as well as lack of such new and innovative business models. I am not saying Indians are not creative, they are but ofcourse creative, but their creativity is depicted in copy-pasting and adding salt and sugar to adjust the taste rather than creating something very different and unique, this is why we see that companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Whatsapp and many more were never started in India.

It is the lack of creativity, out of the box thought process, lack of risk taking factors, patience for research, attitude to initiate, as well as approach towards creating and building something all by themself which has always been a hurdle in growth & development of India & Indians. That is the reason even after 73 years of Independence and 138 crore population, India is still a developing country and not yet developed.

We Indians are able to work on big salaries and perks as CEO, CFO, CTO, CMO of big giants like Adobe, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple but never own them.

Coming to the main theme of this article, recently we had seen a big shift in the startups in our country, people in our country have developed lot of startups but there is still some lack of entrepreneurship factor in them to create something unique and different, all we see is just a copy paste models of other startups running in different countries.

Be it Ola, Hike, Oyo, Paytm, Swiggy, Zomato, Byjus, Delhivery, Quikr and many more, mostly are copy pasted models of business models running in other countries since decades.

For Some reasons even after being a copy paste model without any uniqueness and new concept or idea, these startups are able to do well in the country and are able to get public attention and support that is discounts & cashback

Indians love discounts, you can sell anything to Indians if you offer them discounts and this is what is happening in India with the present startups, launch the startup, offer discounts and cash backs and you are a next big player in another 2-3 years, if you offer them something below the standard market price, you can be a big hit even in 1 year.

But now the question that arise is how these startups are able to offer such heavy discounts to the public and why?

The answer to how is venture funding or angel investment and to why is to acquire customers and increase the turn over.

startups in order to play this game dilute their share-holding, sell the shares to acquire investments and offer discounts and cashback to end client to gain customers and build a strong customer base.

If we look in the recent past there had been a numerous companies which had been running in huge losses even after multiple investments

Paytm
Rivigo
Little Black Book
Byjus
Coverfox
Shadowfax
True Balance
Urbanclap
Hike
Traveltriangle
Policybazaar
Pepperfry
Cardekho
Josh talks
Zomato
Snapdeal
Toppr
Faasos

These all the above companies have taken crores of Investments from the Investors by selling their shares and diluting their ownership in their own business, even after turning their revenue models touching hundreds and thousands of crores, they are still a loss making company.

They feel proud to be called as Unicorn or even Decacorn but internally the company has become a desert or a sand pillar which may fall every now and then once any investor pull back their investment and the simple reason is that even till today, they are not able to make any profit and still in losses.

The so called founders of these companies work on heavy salaries paid by the investors and they work like the employees in their own ventures started by them, takes a good salary package by the investors but still not able to make it to the profitable model. Simple reason- no good strategy to survive in the market and acquire customers than to offer heavy discounts and cashbacks.

Indian startup owners should think beyond the discounts and cashback strategy to survive in the market, let us tell you that even at the time when flipkart was sold to walmart, they were still in heavy losses.

The discounts and cashback strategy will not work for long, today one venture has got funding, they may offer discounts, what are you going to do once the investment is over? Look for another funding or close the operations?

Tomorrow another company gets funding, they will start the discounts and cashback games and this will go on.

The startups now a days have changed the entire meaning of business, earlier business profits and sustainability and not a days business means funding, sell in losses, increase valuation and then sell & exit.

Indian startup owners should come with better strategy, better plans, better marketing tactics to lure and acquire customers than to solely rely on this discount game else they will always remain in losses and will never be able to stand on their own feet.

Disclaimer: This Article is written based on Individual observations & research and is an outcome of the individual thought process and opinions. Inventiva as a magazine and its parent company or any other individual associated with Inventiva is not at all responsible and can be held liable for the views expressed in this article.

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