By Sarikha Malhotra
On Saturday, The Oberoi at Bangalore was witness to important discussions, the implications of which can directly impact startups in India. UKTI (United Kingdom Trade and Investment) India, a government of UK initiative, extended a hand for partnership to make entry of Indian startups in the UK easier. We, at YourStory, were proud to host this event along with UKTI where some of the big names from the startup industry in Bangalore were present along with delegates from the UK.
The event kicked off with a very friendly introduction from James Bryce, Deputy Director, U.K. Trade and Investment, India. He was followed by Soumitra Sharma of IDG Ventures,who dived into a deep talk about opportunities in India and the areas of focus that go a long way with regard to collaboration between the two countries. He highlighted some very interesting facts: for instance, 30% of the top 1,000 companies in the world have R&D centers in India, reflecting the scale and quality of India’s engineering talent. Sectors like healthcare are going to be huge in India and present an opportunity of more than $60 billion by 2020. Internet, Mobile and Technology are the three broad sectors startups will capitalize on and this can go a long way in establishing two way ties between India and UK.
Shradha Sharma, Founder of YourStory.in, then gave a brief about the startup landscape in India and how YourStory has been enabling the ecosystem grow from about 4 years and how it has seen the industry shape up. Some very interesting startups from the UK were also present and they demoed along with the Indian startups invited for the event. The demos were wrapped up with a session which probably had the most value add for the delegates from UK.
A Panel Discussion — comprising of Suresh Narasimha, Founder & CEO Telibrahma; Kishore Mandyam, Founder & CEO, PK4 Software Technologies; Was Rahman, Advisor – Global Technology Industry, UKTI; Soumitra Sharma, IDG Ventures and moderated by Ravi Gururaj, Vice President – Products, Cloud Platforms Group at Citrix — had some insights that any entrepreneur would love to have. It covered a range of issues from ground level realities about doing business in India to the factors which are most important while setting up businesses in India to what Indian entrepreneurs look for in terms of support.
As a consensus, what emerged was that Indian entrepreneurs still have US and Silicon Valley as their Go-To place and the hub where they aspire to be, but this initiative from UKTI can go a long way in opening up minds to the kind of support a startup can get from UK as well. UK can be the entry point to Europe for companies in India and a very important market to target. All in all, the session which was a very fruitful one, and also pointed out ways in which these bonds can be strengthened. These include access to UK mentors for entrepreneurs in India, internship exchange programs, and leveraging on the excellent design talent in UK along with engineering talent from India. Definitely very actionable plans: expect many developments in this space in the coming times.