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India’s start-up scene explodes

India is becoming an “innovation destination”, claims Nasscom chairman R Chandrasekaran. “India is already the fourth largest in terms of start-up ecosystem after the US, the UK and Israel,” he says, “and if the trend continues, within a year or two, we will be the second largest after the US in terms of start-ups that are coming to the fore.”

Chandrasekaran made these comments at the Nasscom Product Conclave 2015 earlier this week. Nasscom launched its 10,000 Start-ups initiative in 2013, with the aim of incubating 10,000 new Indian start-ups by 2020. However, if the sector’s growth and innovation continues at this rate, that milestone could be reached as early as 2017.


“We have 3,100 start-ups at various stages of evolution,” says Chandrasekaran. “If you have the right idea, you should be bold enough to start on your own and be successful because the stars are well aligned to support the start-up ecosystem.” This support comes in the form of the government’s self-employment and talent utilisation scheme, which makes funding available to start-up incubation centres. Larger tech companies such as Cognizant are also partnering with smaller, newer firms to combine their wealth of resources with the agility and innovation of a start-up.

If we needed further evidence that India is the new technological promised land, how’s this: Google’s Punit Soni is heading to Bangalore as the chief product officer of Amazon’s longstanding retail rival, Flipkart. Soni, whose resume also includes VP at Motorola, played a key role in developing Google Books, Google News and Google Plus, which makes this hire something of a coup for Flipkart.

“Flipkart stood out as the single biggest platform of change in the new internet economy,” says Soni of his recent trip to India and subsequent decision to quit Google. “The energy in Bangalore feels like the Valley, and Flipkart with a footprint of millions is at the forefront. It is the opportunity to create the biggest impact and made sense after the amazing journey at Google.”

India’s booming eCommerce market has grown out of a widespread increase in smartphone ownership, and is expected to be valued at $22 billion in the next five years.

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