Key Start-up Trends 2018 and Outlook for 2019: PwC

It looks at things India needs to do in 2019 to navigate the challenges in the sector and what is the biggest ask

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Murali Talasila Partner and Innovation leader at PwC, presented his views on the key start-up trends in 2018 and the outlook for 2019.

The key trends/ challenges that we saw in 2018
* The momentum gained so far shows no signs of slowing down. Startups have been the force multiplier to catapult the country like India to empower more problem solvers.

* Customer Validation and Commercial Viability still remain to be challenge. Fighting perceptions for Failure isn’t a taboo anymore but only treated as learning.

* People will compare us to Silicon Valley and China – it’s like comparing apples and oranges. People will complain about how exits are few and far between. Well, we are a complex and nuanced market and things are coming together. And, yet, there’s Flipkart – not a flash in the pan. Its acquisition by Walmart is a milestone.

How does the area evolve in 2019?
* Tech startups will  continue to take the lead in bolstering the regional economy.

* We are also likely see an increase in the amount of Indian money that finds its way into the funds that VCs are raising.

* More players or stakeholders joining the triumphant sector in 2019, especially the APAC regional growth. As the market size increases, the cost of doing business will be brought down.India has enough potential to be both producer and consumer, which means that Indian startups have a wide range of consumer classes, products and services, and business models to choose from.

* Missing ingredient: The regulatory framework continues to evolve at its own pace, and in many cases, government regulations are unable to keep up with new innovations and ideas that startups come up with. In such cases, even as the official machinery works to incorporate new regulations keeping in mind the benefit to society at large and creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurs, the period of limbo in between can be one of the largest challenges that startups face. For instance, the tax on angel investments receives much slack from startups, investors and ecosystem alike.

Things India needs to do in 2019 to navigate the challenges in the sector and what is the biggest ask.
* Institutionalise innovation in the Government by way of bringing a cultural change to promote innovation.

* Interventions of different levels to drive adoption – innovation bootcamps, workshops, hackathons, innovation management system.

* Introduce accountability by creating new roles – Chief Innovation Officer, Innovation Ambassadors across districts and State level.

* Identify the successful models and regions to implement the models for nurturing and fostering rural innovation.

* Create a platform to reduce the asymmetry in information availability across the nation. Make startup-relevant information available in vernacular languages, for example have a Wikipedia for startups, in regional languages.

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