Vivek Wadhwa on Indian Entrepreneurship
This is a great take on the future of India's technology strategy
But college-dropout tech entrepreneurs like Gondal are extremely rare in India. Most make the wise choice to complete their education before joining a startup. So far, the biggest inhibitor of youth entrepreneurship in India has been the social stigma associated with failure and the low social esteem bestowed on startups. In the arranged-marriage system—which is still the norm in India—a young male who joined a company such as Infosys or IBM would command the best marriage proposals, and those who took the startup path risked trading down. No longer. All of the young entrepreneurs I met said either that they had told their parents that they would find their own partners, or that their parents supported their decision.
It also used to be that nearly all the graduates of India’s prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) would join investment banks or take senior positions in the outsourcing industry. Given the huge salaries these workers commanded, entrepreneurship was out of the question. Yet I met dozens of entrepreneurs who had left these institutions and were now risking it all on entrepreneurship. Two such are Pavan Thatha and Rakesh Thatha.
The Indian technology industry got its start running call centers and doing low-level IT work for western firms. Then, in the 2000s, it started taking on higher-level IT tasks, offering management consulting services, and performing sophisticated R&D. Now there is another transition happening, one far more significant: a transition to development of innovative technology products. Instead of providing IT services as the big outsourcing companies do, a new breed of startups is developing high-value products based on intellectual property. The Indian industry group NASSCOM estimates that in 2008, the country’s software product revenues totaled $1.64 billion. It forecasts that this will grow to $11 billion per year by 2015.Read more at techcrunch.com