(Failure Story -1) Why Start-ups are not continuing up
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
After the celebrated start-up boom of 2013-2015, it is now time to re-evaluate why so many Indian start-ups have failed already and others are biting the dust as 2017 comes to an end, some long before their first birthday.
For all the ones that didn’t start off, there were others who had to fold, still, others who sold out and there remain countless more that are uncertain about their growth. This article hopes to address some of the problems Start-ups face and their best way of overcoming a bleak future.
Indians, by and large, have a follow-the-herd mentality. In 2014 when angel investors first turned East, towards the Indo-China start-up ecosystem, every IITian suddenly had a start-up idea which seemed brilliant and many of them really were. However, most failed to make it to 2016, and 2017 was a dismal year for the Start-up.
This downward curve was the result of many factors, previously not keyed in by the creators.
Most of the start-ups were so eager to jump into the market, that they didn’t do their customer research thoroughly. Others simply replicated their Western counterparts and forgot to consider factors key to India like cheap labor. For example, an online washing and laundry start-up like Door Mint was unable to break through the market due to the availability of cheap labor such as a ‘dhobi’ in every Indian locality.
Not Unique Service
For the slew of start-ups that entered the fashion industry or the food industry, at least half had shut shop by 2016. There were simply too many start-ups with the same, or over-lapping ideas.
We know the basic economic concept of Demand and Supply. Too much of Supply, and nobody makes any profit! Zupermeal, TinyOwl, Fashionara, Ladyblush dropped their shutters once funding dried up.
Swallowed by Whales
Smaller fish get eaten up by bigger fish, this is the law of the ocean. It seems to be the rule of the start-up system as well. Many smaller Indian start-ups had to sell or merge with larger giants once they were visible enough to be a threat. A merger is a personal decision by CEOs, but persistence sometimes pays in the long run. Some notable Indian start-ups that got acquired were Red Bus by Ibibo, Book pad by Yahoo and Junglee by Amazon to name a few.
Inability to Pivot
Once a start-up has reflected on their business plans, they soon find out they built the wrong product, for the wrong people. However, most still decide to go ahead with their original plans, leading to sure-shot failure. This mostly causes a drainage of funds, resources and time. The inability to be flexible and pivot, lack of dedicated members and little to no guidance all set them up for doom.
This is far from being an exhaustive list. It is time that newer ventures learn and study the fatal flaws of their senior counterparts. So not repeating these textbook mistakes would lead to a brighter future for the Indian start-up and their founders.
Stay tuned for more stories coming up.