"I don't think we have as many really disruptive start-ups in India as we do overseas"-Ratan Tata

Posted by Vivek Nama on October 12th 2017

I don't think we have as many really disruptive start-ups in India as we do overseas," said Mr Ratan Tata, while speaking at an event organised by venture capital firm IDG Ventures India in Mumbai. The reason, Tata believes, is not so much talent as is the lack of an encouraging ecosystem. 

"We don't have an environment where somebody says, 'you have a great idea and so you need to be supported.' We have instead an attitude of 'we don't need to have this, we can do well with what we have," he rued. 
Several of Tata's personal investments have been in consumer internet companies, he is betting big on the medical research sector to scale up rapidly in India and globally. "In the 10 years that we have ahead of us, we may well see diseases that were terminal being treatable instead, and much of the work will be done in India," he said. 

With entry costs in India being low and talent available in abundance, the country is poised to become, "one of the centres of biological or biosciences in the future," Tata said. 
Given India's open economy, the country could well be home to the next Google with support from the government and investors, the former Tata Group chairman said. 
"The government should and could play a major role in (developing India's startup ecosystem) provided they can embody the entrepreneurial spirit which would be necessary," he said. 
"Young people graduating with heavy technology skills is another bucket that we can grow if we encourage the creation of high-technology enterprises. Somewhere (jobs through infrastructure and tech-enabled automation) will come together at a later point in time, complementing each other," Tata said. But for automation and job creation to co-exist, he added, the government must play a more defining role without veering towards interference. 
"We must create an environment where (an individual) can be motivated here (in India) and that requires a community of investors, capitalists who take risks... Then you'll get those (globally successful results) here too. It cannot be a typical, bankable project. It has to be risk-bearing and there will be failures. The failures themselves will be lessons leading to successes." While Tata also has his eye on new technology such as artificial intelligence, he said the onus of balancing rapid automation and creating jobs will have to done by both - robust infrastructure that enables heavy employment along with high-technology startups and enterprises.
This was first published in  Economic Times


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