Geography becoming history for start-ups

Feb 17 2013, 02:12 IST
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SummaryAsk early stage investor Sasha Mirchandani how promising entrepreneurs in small towns of India are, and the answer lies in the excitement in his voice.

says Mirchandani.

He cites the example of a small company from Shimla called Interview Street that subsequently moved to California and now has the potential to become a global company. It is happening from Shimla to California even as we speak.

If a business plans works in Shimoga, it will work in the rest of the country too, depending on the kind of business you have, he says. For example, Groupon started in Chicago but they had no idea whether a group discount would work in Boston, but they tried and it worked across the country.

K Srikrishna, executive director of NEN, says new technologies also enable breaking of geographical boundaries. The growth of cloud technologies is permitting young entrepreneurs to get started with far less investment and to access markets that are not confined by geographical boundaries, he says.

Dayasindhu N, senior director at Zinnov Management Consulting, believes start-ups in the IT space can theoretically be located anywhere, but the reality is that they have clustered around the existing IT hubs of NCR, Bangalore and Pune because of a ready ecosystem. Dayasindhu feels a big driver for the growth of start-ups across the country would be folks returning to their towns after working in these clusters. IT is a great leveller; everybody is using the same Google and Facebook, so start-ups from smaller towns can leverage technology to fill the gaps in their ecosystem, he says .

He says the government should set up incubators, offer funding support and incentives, hoping Budget 2013-14 will prove to be a start.

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