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By: Dr.Y.Bala Murali Krishna

The multi-billion dollar firms Apple and Microsoft are examples of the world's greatest start-ups- firms that began from a scratch, powered by the vision, hard work, dedication and enterprise of their founders.

In India, we have the inspiring story of Infosys, and in recent years, internet-driven enterprises such as Flipkart.com, Naukri.com or MakeMyTrip.com, India's leading online travel portal.

Start-ups are driven by the vision of a business that promises to change the way we do things. This vision is then pursued with rock-solid determination, dedication, spirit of innovation and readiness to face challenges.

What are Start-Ups?

A start-up is an entrepreneurial-driven venture formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model, according to YouTern, which has a significant influence on young careerists the world over.

A start-up is a company in the first stage of its operations. These companies are often initially bank rolled by their entrepreneurial founders as they attempt to capitalize on developing a product or service for which they believe there is a demand.

Due to limited revenue or high costs, most of these small scale operations are not sustainable in the long term without additional funding from venture capitalists.

The start-up companies are in the private sector and are generally new ventures in the phase of development and research for markets.

The bankers generally do not take risk to offer capital to the upstarts unless they are thoroughly satisfied with the venture and the market demand of the products planned. Hence, most of the upstarts suffer initial trauma of lack of working capital. Once they make the mark, the funds flow from the financiers.

India has been witnessing birth of many start-ups particularly from the dotcom era in late 1990s followed by their fall due to various defects.

When Did this Mega Trend Emerge in a Big Way in India?

The megatrend of start-up companies began in the late 1990s with the “dotcom” boom. Venture capital was easily available then due to a rush by investors speculating on the emergence of these new types of internet-driven businesses.

Unfortunately, most of these internet start-ups eventually went bust due to major oversights in their underlying business plans, such as a lack of sustainable revenue.

However, there were a handful of internet start-ups that did survive when the dotcom bubble burst. Internet bookseller Amazon.com and internet auction portal eBay are examples of such companies.

There are at least six successful start-up travel websites in India including makemytrip.com and yatra.com; besides flipkart.com and indiatimesshopping.com. We can buy anything online including medicines these days.

Why are Start-Ups Important for India?

Technology driven or not, start-ups are important for the Indian economy. The country is full of young talent which has to be suitably moulded to lead them to self-employment and thereby self-reliance as jobs cannot be provided to all. The youth which constitutes more than 50 per cent of the population, will be the driving force of the country in future like in China.

The lending institutions, particularly commercial banks and venture capitalists should come forward to help entrepreneurs as the initial funding is not large unlike in the case of major defaulters like the Kingfisher Airlines.

The trend is on rise in the country with a variety of new enterprises providing a range of goods and services that were not available earlier.

Where Can One Find the Best Examples of this Mega Trend in India Today?

TAccording to a study, there are 100 top start-ups to watch in 2013 in India where they are poised to grow exponentially since launch in early 2008. Examples.

• HealthKart: Founded in March 2011, it sources the best health and wellness products from across the globe to Indians through online shopping. India's e-health megastore is run by highly qualified professionals with experience in India and USA.

• NewsHunt.Com: It is a new revolutionary product of the Eterno Infotech allowing mobile users to access latest news from more than 30 leading Indian newspapers including regional language dailies.

• Olx.in: It is one of the world's biggest free online classified sites.

• Policy bazaar: India's prominent online life insurance and general insurance aggregator.

• Olacabs: It is a Mumbai-based technology-driven car/cab rental service provider headed by an IIT graduate who quit his job at Microsoft Research to start Olacabs in August 2010.

Where Can I learn More About this Mega Trend?

The USA, particularly the Silicon Valley, is the mother of the start-up culture.

The spark that set off the explosive boom of “Silicon start-ups” in Stanford Industrial Park was a personal dispute in 1957 between employees of Shockley Semiconductor and the company’s namesake and founder, Nobel laureate and co-inventor of the transistor William Shockley.

His employees formed Fairchild Semiconductor immediately following their departure. After several years, Fairchild gained its footing, becoming a formidable presence in this sector. Its founders began to leave to start companies based on their own, latest ideas and were followed on this path by their own former leading employees.

The process gained momentum and what had once begun in a Stanford research park became a veritable start-up avalanche. Thus, over the course of just 20 years, a mere eight of Shockley’s former employees gave birth to 65 new enterprises, which then went on to do the same.

While there are start-ups foraying into all types of businesses, and all over the world, some locations and business sectors are particularly associated with start-up companies.

The internet bugle of the late 1990s was associated with huge number of internet start-up companies, some selling the technology to provide internet access, others using the internet to provide services. Most of this start-up activity was located in the Silicon Valley, an area of northern California renowned for the high level of start-up company activity.

While Steve Jobs often spoke of Apple's "start-up" culture, the New York Times referred to the seven-year-old airline Virgin America as a start-up.

Start-up companies, particularly those associated with new technology; sometimes yield richer returns to their creators and investors – a recent example being Google, whose creators are now billionaires through their share ownership. However, the failure rate of start-up companies is very high.

Who will Benefit Most?

People aspiring to make a mark with a spirit of dedication and entrepreneurial skills will benefit the most.

The government can provide the necessary environment, financial support and infrastructure to encourage a culture of entrepreneurship in the country. Such an environment will benefit all, giving rise to self-employment generation in a big way.

How is this Information Relevant to me?

With 'think global - act local' philosophy becoming stronger in India's tech-savvy community, Bangalore is emerging as the start-up capital with 34.78 percent of companies that participated in the 2012 “Your Story Research Survey” on the “State of the Start-up” preferring the southern city, followed by Mumbai (20.90), Hyderabad (9.88), Chennai and NCR (9.09),Ahmedabad (6.71), Pune (1.97) and others (7.58).

A global start-up ecosystem seems to be emerging in India, particularly in the above cities. This can be fully realised if the business schools and educational institutions help students become entrepreneurs, financial institutions extend support, authorities resolve market problems, and provide with business models and proper management support to cope with any situation.

These measures strengthen the start-up ecosystem enabling entrepreneurs to meet market demands/challenges within the country and abroad, taking advantage of the talent boom and the strong broadband and mobile networks.

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