Indian startups need to reserve cash, listen to customers to stay afloat

Indian startups fired more than 18,000 employees in 2022 amid a funding winter and macroeconomic uncertainty.

New Delhi: As Indian startups face turbulence in the global funding winter, experts on Monday said they need to reserve cash, create a long-term goal and adopt a culture of customer feedback to survive in 2023.

On the occasion of the ‘National Startup Day’, envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, industry experts said that the founders must continuously monitor the trends which are happening in the world.

Indian startups fired more than 18,000 employees in 2022 amid a funding winter and macroeconomic uncertainty.

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“Investing in R&D can be one of the finest ways to actually tackle disruption. Make sure that as a business, you keep some of your profits or your balance sheet reserves for investing into R&D to actually learn more,” Dr Ritesh Malik, Director, Alliance for Digital India Foundation, or ADIF, told IANS.

“If you feel that there is a platform like Instagram where the go-to-market strategy is more efficient, start learning Instagram and start promoting your products there,” he added.

According to Tejas Khoday, Co-Founder and CEO of trading platform FYERS, this year is special as India has emerged to be the third largest startup ecosystem in the world.

“While the past year was turbulent with IPOs of several well-known startups not doing too well, the ongoing funding winter and related layoffs, in the long run, all this will be a blip on the radar,” he said.

That said, this will help the ecosystem to mature and hopefully we will see startups achieve a better balance between scale and profitability in 2023, Khoday noted.

While interacting with over 150 startups, PM Modi last year announced the commemoration of National Startup Day on January 16 every year. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry marked an entire week as National Startup Week, from January 10 to 16.

According to Malik, startups must hear back from their customers.

“The more you hear from your customers, the more you will be able to understand their changing needs. And the more your product becomes dynamic and you constantly change that product to the whims and fantasies of the customer,” he noted.

Ravish Naresh, CEO and Co-founder of Khatabook, said that there is a stronger acknowledgment of Indian startups’ role in solving core problems of emerging economies to bridge the socio-economic gaps.

“This year, our primary aim is to turn profitable and scale up the digital lending offerings to meet the unmet credit demand of Indian MSME businesses. We are optimistic about the Indian economy and its opportunities for the startup ecosystem,” he said.

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