India’s startup market is worth betting on, though it’s still “a few years” behind China’s, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin has said.
According to a CNBC report, Saverin said his investment company B Capital was deploying “a lot of dollars” into India and was thinking about the long-term success of new companies there.
The Facebook co-founder shared these views during a panel discussion at the Forbes Global CEO Conference that was held in Singapore on September 26 and 27.
“I think India is a huge market with just tremendous potential,” Saverin said in response to a question on why the country's startup ecosystem had not generated better returns.
"And I think as the market continues to mature, and as you get into a better macroeconomic environment, it is a market to bet on, combined with Southeast Asia.”
Much of the growth in India would come from enterprise tech companies, Saverin said, adding that B Capital had put money into an electronic health records company and contract management companies.
Enterprise tech companies are those that create software that serves businesses.
Underpinning India’s entrepreneurial success was its large population and the country, along with Southeast Asia, would soon have more people than China, Saverin added.
But get warned that the pace of evolution of India’s startups was lagging China’s in areas such as ease of asset exits and liquidity.
According to an August report of India’s finance ministry, the country’s foreign direct investments (FDI) in the first quarter of the year lagged China’s. China received more than $100 billion in FDI, while India’s inflows were around $17 billion.
As the talk moved to the so-called funding winter for startups, Saverin said entrepreneurs needed to seize the opportunity to “build mission-critical products.” “Mission critical” refers to services and goods necessary for the operation of a business, he added.
“And I think environments like this create resilient businesses and it’s actually a time to invest, not to pull back. So entrepreneurs would actually look at this as an opportunity to acquire, to bring in companies while others are looking inward, for them to be aggressive and acquire and consolidate... And actually, some of the biggest companies out there, I think Microsoft started during a recession,” Saverin said.He reportedly said “climate tech” was going to be “huge” and his company would double down on biotech.