IPOs will drive startup revolution in India, says Amitabh Kant

Digitisation has provided an impetus to the startup ecosystem in India and IPOs will drive the country’s startup revolution, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said on Friday. Addressing a virtual event organised by Innovation Venturing and Entrepreneurship in India Network (iVEIN), Kant said among 17 economies, India has emerged as the second-fastest in digitisation.

“IPOs will drive our start-up revolution. Indian start-ups will raise money in Indian markets from the Indian public,” he said.”This is truly Aatmanirbhar Bharat. Digitization has provided an impetus to the start-up ecosystem in India.”

His comments came on a day when Zomato
made a stellar debut on the bourses on Friday, as its shares surged nearly 66% against the issue price of Rs 76.

Its initial public offering (IPO) last week ended with a bumper 38 times subscription.

In a large and diverse country like India, the ability to rapidly execute and scale up programmes to reach 1.3 billion citizens, in vernacular languages, is important, Kant noted.

“Startups should leverage technology for social good. The pandemic has provided an opportunity for this,” he said.

According to Kant, the intersection of e-commerce and the internet has created opportunities for business.

The development of world-class technology products needs inputs from AI, he said, adding “our curriculum needs to be redesigned to produce world-class AI scientists and designers”.

Kant also noted that failure is an integral part of the startup movement and every parent and every investor in India need to understand this.

He was quick to add that nowhere in the world would startups get the size and scale of data as they do in India.

“Data sets provide the opportunity to use AI and ML across a range of areas like health, agriculture and education,” he observed.

Speaking at the event, Infosys Co-Founder Kris Gopalakrishnan called for a significant increase in investments in research.

“We also need to have a category of investors – HNIs with deep pockets – who do not have time horizons. They need to look at seeding the deep tech,” he added.

Using the example of the Department of BioTechnology, Gopalakrishnan said they had done a phenomenal job in seeding startups, especially during the pandemic.

“Not for profit does not mean that you will not create profits. These entities must be run with financial discipline and should be sustaining,” he noted.

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