Freedom To Start-up!

“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Rightly said by the Father Of the Nation and true to the spirit of the start-up world where mistakes and self-learnings have given way to new innovative ideas and undeterring inspiration.

From becoming the breeding ground for new innovations and providing a conducive ecosystem for startups, the Indian startup landscape has witnessed a tremendous growth over the past few years. Start-ups find their inspiration from existing gaps in processes. The ability to think big, innovate, harness opportunities, compete fairly, and build a large businesses. While freedom helps entrepreneurs create path-breaking solutions to problems, it also entails a great responsibility. Freedom is to an entrepreneur, what imagination is to a poet. On our 70th Independence Day, we speak to the Startup fraternity on what does freedom mean to them? Is it the freedom of doing business, create technology, or solutions to address key social problems.

Bhavin Turakhia, Founder & CEO, Flock

“Freedom for today’s entrepreneurs and employees means breaking away from the ‘Presence Paradox’ and experimenting with different work styles. From open-plan offices to working from home, our work lives have become much less restricted.

Companies across the globe are finally beginning to understand that mere physical presence does not translate into productivity. It is important to let employees find their own ‘productive’ zones; improved quality of output and employee satisfaction are bound to follow. The benefits of flexible working are widely recognised, especially in a market like India. This is because India grapples with factors such as relatively poor infrastructure, rising population, and increasing real estate and environmental costs. Even so, it is natural for companies to be hesitant take a leap from the traditional 9-5 routine to one where employees are empowered with trust and freedom to collaborate through flexible working. This is the essence of India’s Presence Paradox and here is where the new breed of collaboration tools, including messenger apps, can make all the difference. They come with more muscle and offer greater document control, security, and enterprise-relevant extensions, making work more effortless, fun, and productive for an employee. With technology providing all the answers, it’s time for offices in India and across the globe to move to a smarter, more flexible way of working. Freedom, after all, does begin at the workplace.”

Sachin Jaiswal, CEO,

“Entrepreneurship is freedom in itself - Freedom to move beyond traditional ways and rethink what is already in place. Freedom to innovate and bring about a positive change which can impact lives of millions. Being an entrepreneur in India is even more motivating - you get the freedom to solve a problem, and in turn, touch, optimise and make better lives of over 100 Mn mobile-first and tech-first milennials who are very willing to accept a change.

Sandeep Aggarwal, Founder, and

“The progress of a nation is determined by several factors, but it is the economic strength that can truly justify a country’s growth, and show how far it has come despite challenges. As India celebrates its 70th Independence Day, I feel this is the perfect time to acknowledge how much our country has grown over the past couple of decades. We have managed to conquer several obstacles head on, and if we continue to keep up with the pace of time, I believe we can strive to make India a force to be reckoned with in the future.”

Rahul Agarwal, MD & CEO, Lenovo India

“As entrepreneurship requires a strong sense of self and a passion to follow your instincts, freedom is a critical component that allows this motivation to translate into action. In India, we have seen a rise in entrepreneurs in the last decade, which underscores the independence present within this country. While freedom helps entrepreneurs create path-breaking solutions to problems, it also entails a great responsibility. A national sense of improved governance along with freedom, can therefore help boost the country’s economic standing and improve India’s performance on key global indicators such as the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index.”

Siddharth Jain, Co-founder, CAGRfunds

“Freedom is to an entrepreneur, what imagination is to a poet. It is innate and inevitable. Freedom for an entrepreneur manifests itself in many forms. Freedom to think, take risks, make decisions, execute, fall and rise again. An entrepreneur feels free to take a plunge into multiple pools of thought which range from being artistically creative to being mundanely operational. Exploring new opportunities and experimenting with new things is a routine activity. Lack of boundary conditions is what denotes freedom to me as an entrepreneur. From a financial point of view, I think, the freedom to take decisions around capital allocation is quite substantial. The sense of higher stakes attached to every minor money related decision makes it a massively responsible but free decision to make. As an entrepreneur, I am in-charge of my own destiny and that to me is freedom.”

Nakul Mathur, Managing Director, Avanta Business Centre

“Startups seek freedom from plethora of regulations prevalent in the market. Also, they want limitless interchange across states and GST has made it conceivable. It has incorporated all state and central level levies and taxes under one roof on the other it has increased the compliance.  IT infrastructure needed a lot more reforms and that was made easy GST.  Secondly, they want freedom from qualms of fundraising – like crowdfunding.”

Shiv Dave, Founder & CEO, Televisory

“Startups need to be freed from burden of undue regulatory compliances. Startups have several challenges as they manage substantial outflow of cash without any visibility of revenues. They have huge challenges in keep staff motivated. Along this process, regulatory promulgations which are purely aimed to satisfy populist sections, hurt start ups. Unlike in other places, India still doesn’t have system of subsidizing business for some of the costs that government burdens business with. If government cannot help this sector with any benefits, it should keep it frees of any burden at least.”

Adhil Shetty, CEO & Co-founder,

“Freedom from stereotyping: Start-ups find their inspiration from existing gaps in processes and endeavour to close those gaps through better technology, targeted services, or a mix of the two. Very often, the technology they develop is an entirely new way of doing things and is a marked shift from the way things were being done before. For instance, when BankBazaar started paperless processing of loans, we took uploading of documents for verification to another level to mitigate fraud. This is not something being done by anyone yet, and today, this is changing the way the finance sector looks at documentation. We are happy that we were recognized by the ecosystem for our efforts at every level. It is essential to acknowledge the potential of these disruptive technologies individually instead of generalizing them, as they are what would drive the industry and take it forward.”

Archit Gupta, Founder & CEO ClearTax

“India currently ranks at 130 in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ survey. ClearTax would like to see Indian start-ups become free from red-tapism and unnecessary administrative practices that make it difficult for entrepreneurs to launch their ideas. The government's recent campaign is a helpful move in this direction, and hopefully, there will be more to come in the near future.”

Dr. Vivek Bindra - International motivational speaker & CEO Coach

“The short term profitability mindset has chained our entrepreneurs to their balance sheets which has taken their focus away from the creation of valued product and services. They need to understand that value creation is much more important than innovation. This mindset has given them incremental growth but has kept them away from exponential growth.”

Anand Jain, Co-founder, Clevertap

“For starters, CleverTap desires freedom from straitjacketed government operational and tax regulations. Provision of a more simplified regulatory framework for startups less than 5 years in the business, vastly improved infrastructural, connectivity facilities coupled with robust logistical support would all go a long way in ‘liberating’ some of Startup India’s major existential roadblocks. There needs to be greater acceptance of failure in the industry; percolating down to investors and governmental stakeholders. This Independence Day; it is fair to say that we have come a long way; but, a lot still needs to be done before India realises the true potential of her startup ecosystem.”

Sandeep Goenka, Co-founder, Zebpay

“Start-ups are a small boat in a storm of marketplace, regulations and technology. On Independence Day, we want that the Government has an open mind towards startups in disruptive sectors if it wants India to lead the new world.”

Ritesh Malik, Managing Director, Innov8

“Founders need freedom from their controlled mindset. India has developed itself into a very supportive startup ecosystem, but whatever freedom the government grants is of no use, if we have mental barriers. Freedom from thoughts of self-doubt, fear should be controlled and checked. The only thing which founders need is GRIT. Focus on being perseverant, talent doesn't matter, what matters is grit. Don't quit, create products for national soil. Happy Independence Day.”

Shashank Dixit, CEO, Deskera

“Freedom for me is access to possibilities. We have seen Independence of ideas and evolution of thoughts among the youth of the nation. Let us paint the world with the colour of Indian Entrepreneurship by making India a land of possibilities and opportunities.”

Puneet Kumar, Vice President, Nexus Venture Partners

“The freedom to entrepreneurs mean the ability to think big, to innovate, to harness opportunities, to compete fairly, and to build a large businesses. Entrepreneurs truly feel the freedom when they are able to work beyond social and regulatory constraints with the government and society cheering and supporting you rather than coming in the way.”

Alok Gupta, Director Clean India Venture

“India is giving birth to new technologies/innovations, thanks to Startup India initiative of Govt of India. However, there are many changes required on the bureaucratic front. It is lack of trust of Indian bureaucracy on our businesses that is hurting the industry. There shall be rotten apples in every industry but that can’t be the benchmark for lack of trust. We can do wonders if provided with the right platform. We need Independence from our mindset that foreign companies are better than Indian companies. We know our problems more than them. Bureaucrats should promote Make in India initiative and promote Indian Startups.”

Deepak Kothari, Co Founder, ftcash

“Freedom is the ability to move an idea from concept to reality without going through the corporate maze or red-tape. Freedom means empowering people to take risks and make decisions with imperfect information in a constantly changing environment.”

Parag Agrawal, Founder and CMD of Janajal – safe drinking water ATMs

“While startups have become frontrunners in contributing to the development of New India, they are fraught with risk given that most budding entrepreneurs are high on energy and ambition yet low on experience and wisdom. It is imperative for the Government of India to provide the startup world complete support in terms of regulations and law enforcement as while on one hand the risk of failure is very high, those that bear potential to succeed are likely to face obstacles from investors bearing a vulture capital mindset or market forces that can be extremely hostile. Thousands of startups go down every year fighting a battle against factors that are external to their core business and there is no protection that they receive from timely law enforcement. Every startup burns a lot of money and midnight oil in aligning itself with the vision and mission of the government and given adequate support, I believe that their success can contribute significantly to the growth and GDP of the nation besides boost the morale of the youth of India.”

Susir Kumar, Executive Chairman, Intelenet Global Services

“Being an entrepreneur is akin to being a parent; it takes a host of grit and determination to see your metaphorical child grow. Paving this growth path however, requires freedom in many forms, from making business decisions basis unique situations that you come across, to challenging the norm and setting new precedents for the industry and the business. In fact, freedom is at the very core of the entrepreneurial spirit and in my opinion, I believe India has been able to leverage this potential well in the last few years. The burgeoning start-up industry is testimony to this encouraging business environment present in the country.”

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