Mr. Sanjeev Bikhchandani CEO and Founder of Infoedge India speaks on Entrepreneurship and the Venture Capital ecosystem in the online space. Excerpts from his interview that appeared in the book “Enterprising India“.
The Way Indian technology entrepreneurial space is shaping up
Well, it is a sea change, compared to the situation 20–25 years ago. There are role models in the IT services space, like Infosys and HCL and other companies, that really inspired a lot of people to become entrepreneurs…and I think this generation of new companies will spawn the next generation.
Environment for entrepreneurship in India compared to 2 decades ago
First of all, it has become socially acceptable to be an entrepreneur by choice, not just because you couldn’t find a job, or that the family was in business. Secondly, enough people are doing it now. It has become aspirational and mainstream in business schools and engineering colleges in India. Funding is more readily available, whether as angel funding, VCs or organisations like the TIE, which have built this whole network of mentoring senior entrepreneurs, junior entrepreneurs, etc. The ecosystem has got built, which is why we are seeing a kind of entrepreneurial explosion in India that we have never seen before.
What is crucial for an entrepreneur ?
The ability to generate trust—your customers must trust you, the investors must trust you, your employees must trust you, your
colleagues must trust you. Secondly, persistence; we ran without external money for 10 years—we bootstrapped. Thirdly, you must really know your customers well. The greatest businesses are based on deep customer insights, so you have got to know your customers.
Finally, Role of VCs in creating new ventures in India
Ten or twelve years ago, we were really short of capital and there were no venture capitalists in India. I think there is ample scope for funding the new businesses here and the kind of VC boom we are seeing in India, is testimony to that. Many of these companies will scale up and have successful IPOs or strategic exits and big companies will be created. India Infoline, Edelweiss, Makemytrip are all good examples. I think VCs will have a role to play, as India is a capital-scarce country and good ideas need to be backed.