An Undefined Case in Indian Start-ups: Nascent Stage to Zombies

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs, Apple Inc. co-founder, chairman and CEO

Technology start-ups have been emerging rapidly over the last few years in the global market. Of late, India has been the third largest place for start-up innovation. Well, one needs to compliment investors and venture capitalists for the major contribution towards the development for their consistent bulk funds that has been driving most these organisations over a last decade.

Notwithstanding the fact that market valuation of the Indian start-ups has grown significantly over past few years, a recent study by IBM, “Entrepreneurial India” found that 90% start-ups fail within the first five years and 77% of the venture capitalists believe that Indian start-ups lack technologies and unique business models. Where in, some start-ups succeed that capture the qualities such as vision, determination, social and fundraising skills, adaptive to changes, etc. which keeps them driving upwards in the market.

Why Fail?

According to Forbes, Since 2015, more than 1500 start-ups have shutdown in India and as per Tracxn, a research partner for venture capitalists & corporate development offices, more than 11,000 start-ups went dead-pooled or zombies due to lack of raising funds or went off track of runway.
Following are the key reasons for start-ups ceased or experienced a failure:

Absence of Vision

A well-defined or crisp vision is a skill or finesse that any company leader needs to draw in order to keep the business in a right flow. The most vital part of start-ups is to envision how to monetize every single activity or belonging. It is not the ‘money’ but the ‘passion’ that drives entrepreneur’s vision towards success and will serve as a compass at tough times.

Inadequate Mentorship or Guidance

According to Grant Thornton report, most founders of failed start-ups feel that the lack of guidance and mentorship in terms of industry knowledge and support is a major reason behind their failure. Every business needs help to grow, Advisory board will get the expertise and mentoring towards determining business area of need and keep the overall stuff in structure.

Financial Constraints

A successful start-up is efficient in managing its finances and able to operate very lean. But the one among major reason for failure is when the resources are limited and time is the essence, most of companies look at climbing the higher ladder at the earliest to achieve highest revenue which leads to utmost loss of funds and hence the firms exhaust their resources quickly and leads to doom. At this point, companies need to master the skill of doing more with less.

Social Skills

Networking is another reason for start-ups success. A founder or leader should always be in a dedicated network in and around the domain or industry. Most of the start-up founders turn to be introvert and keep themselves away from meeting people. Great start-ups have outstanding leaders because they love to talk and inspire people by sharing the thoughts and journey they have seen to build an empire! Such attitude not only leads to growth in business but also opens up doors for partnerships or to find investors.

Innovation and filing patents

Though initiatives taken by Government of India such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Start-up India Program’, etc. may have stimulated growth, but it’s no secret that innovation is a piece which still remains missing in the Indian Start-up ecosystem. The hard part is that India has been follower market – what we see in US and China today will start appearing in India tomorrow. As per the Global Innovation Index, currently India stands at 60th rank, which is 38 places behind China. Undoubtedly, India has top class talent, high market potential and global business skills one needs to start investing in R&D which helps in establishing links between the current social problems, technology & innovation.

Indeed, patent is the yardstick for innovation, India is miles behind Asian counterparts. According to World Intellectual Property Organisation, in 2016-2017 India has filed 9584 international patents, China has filed 48,882 international patents, and Japan has filed 48,208 patents. Emphasizing Innovation on social needs or issues faced by India leads to consistent business growth, sustainability and ultimately addressing towards significant changes in the common man needs.

“Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” – Drew Houston, Dropbox Co-Founder and CEO

In India, many new ventures do not succeed because the technology start-ups are very complex. There are several interconnected factors that could play a part in start-up failure such as founder characteristics, business & technical roadmap, practices and behaviour after start-up. Successful start-ups spend more time in planning, advises from professionals, customers, suppliers to understand the market needs before developing product or rendering services.

In general, more studies of the start-up development process needs to be identified by creating groundwork for more successful and increased success rates for technology & innovation start-ups. This will provide economic benefits and accelerate the development of solutions to societal needs and issues.

Revamping Technology Leaders to Transformational Technology Leaders: Who are they?

When you learn to program a computer, you acquire a superpower: The ability to make an inanimate object to follow your command. If you have a vision and you articulate it in a code, well, you can make it real! And once you have built your small systems that perform clever tasks then, you own a competency to parlay creative power into societal power because Technologists not only just build the systems that ease the operations of everyday life but also they make “The World a much better place”. Thus, a high-paying Tech. job, working on cutting edge technologies makes them leave a Technotopian Life.

But, here is the glitch! Many Technologists are precise towards building technology & over a time it becomes increasingly hard to ignore the fact that one should not be constrained towards Technologist view of thought and language. In fact, one should learn how the quantifiable, individualistic, computational view – that accounts for contribution with the whole expanses of cognitive experience & towards Leadership.

Igniting interest and enthusiasm within the team has its challenges. Moreover, getting employees active & more focused is furthermore difficult task. Technologists must focus on becoming transformational and professionally aligned so that they can actively engage with the team by inspiring, mentoring and persevering the day-to-day constraints that ultimately result in affecting the lives through the beliefs and values of peers.

Some of the Key Elements of Transformational Leadership are as follows:

Idealized Influence

There has been always misconceptions about leadership, including a belief that it requires being a highest qualified within the department, Having an impressive title or stand at a highest grade or graduating from a best institute because great leaders like Larry Ellison or Steve Jobs, who never graduated from the college. Yet, they were insanely successful and recognised to be greatest leaders. Strong leaders are people who earn others respect by serving as role models and bringing out best in them.

Inspirational Motivation

IT Leaders are in the position to develop, encourage and inspire their team. Transformational Leaders should not be confused with “pure” fascinating leaders because they intentionally or unintentionally fail to transform their followers as they cannot recognize the one’s need & hence fail or prohibit them to develop. Whereas, transformational leaders motivate their peers to become independent self-thinkers and to develop themselves.

Intellectual Stimulation

Transformational leaders value all the experience as learning opportunities & they attempt to be part of the learning process. They promote education and structural development activities to stimulate their peers.

Individualised Consideration

Usually, self-management skill results in individualised development that correlates to self-efficacy and vision accomplishment. Transformational Leadership is all about coming up with new ideas, evolving the self and improvising those around them.

As mentioned earlier, transformational leaders always focus on specific leadership traits that affects the lives of others and appeal to people’s beliefs and values. There has always been a positive relationship between the Transformational Leadership Traits and employees’ job satisfaction and motivation.

In the ever changing environment of technology infused business, technology leadership is a remodelling subset of leadership study and practice. However, there are differences between the Traditional Technology Leadership and Transformational Technology Leadership as it varies toward the approach in various factors like skills, traits, abilities and requirements, etc. Will it become equally prevalent that the best Technologists will have strong Leadership acumen? Or would it be necessary for a Technologists to gain apprehensive experience to make an impact towards business goals as well as individual goals that positions them to be a Transformational Technology Leaders?