Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 17 urged startup founders to not be limited by valuations and exit strategies, but focus on building long-lasting institutions and world-class products instead, moves that would help India become a global leader rather than a follower.
"I have a message for startup founders. Don't limit yourself to valuation and exit strategies. Think how you can create institutions that will outlast this century. Think how you can create world-class products that will set the global benchmark on excellence. There can be no compromise on these goals. Without these we will be a follower and not a global leader," said PM Modi while speaking at the Nasscom Technology and Leadership Forum (NTLF) 2021.
He further touched upon steps taken by the government to create a more vibrant startup ecosystem. "India has moved from a cash dependent society to less cash in 3-4 years. The sources of black money are coming down with digital transactions. The JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) trinity is helping benefits reach the poor."
He also spoke about the mapping reforms announced earlier this week, which earned praise from entrepreneurs, as it would spur innovation, lead to the next generation of mapping and unlock capital.
"Mapping and geospatial data has been freed from control. This will help Atmanirbhar Bharat. India is confident of security despite opening up the mapping sector. Startups need to get full freedom to take advantage of opportunities," Modi said.
The guidelines released by the government direct the Survey of India and other central agencies producing or owning maps and geospatial data to simplify procedures, revise/abolish various forms/licences and use modern techniques such as cloud, open APIs, to make its data accessible in an online format.
While Indian entities will be free to use this data and build on this data, foreign entities and foreign-owned or -controlled Indian companies can licence from Indian entities.
According to data from the latest Nasscom Strategic Review, India is now the third largest tech startup hub in the world, with 12,500 tech startups. Over 1,600 were added in 2020, the highest in three years.
India is expected to have 50 unicorns in 2021, according to a recent report from Nasscom and Zinnov.