Friday, September 13, 2013

Perks of doing a startup in India

There have been several blogs on the problems of Indian bureaucracy and how businesses and startups find it tough in India. In this blog, I would like to present the other side of the story and showcase some advantages of doing a startup in India. This is mostly from personal experience and the perks I had when building KooKoo

1. Parents and In laws

There is no stigma associated with living with your parents: 
In fact society thinks you are a good son if you are living with your parents :) In early days of KooKoo, I had problems in meeting the EMIs(loan) of a house I had bought recently. So, I did the natural thing, packed up, rented out my house(the rent took care of the EMI) and moved in with my parents. That saved a ton of money and freed up my mind to concentrate on building the startup instead of worrying about other things. Well, now I am back in my own house,  but during the early days, it was a huge lifesaver.
photo by mikebaird on Flickr

Also, for younger people starting up, this is a good safety net. Once you finish college, you can stay at your parents house for a couple of years when you are bootstrapping your product. This can help you kick start your startup without the tensions of managing life.

Grandparents are the best baby sitters
Anybody with a kid and doing a startup will understand this. There can be no better baby sitters for your kids than the grand parents. Most important perk, they are free :)

I know, I am coming out sounding like a rip off, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. And if someone other than you believes in your dream, it has got to be  your family.

2.  Cheap food

Though food is not as cheap as Raj Babbar made it out to be :), you can certainly get good meals for a pretty cheap rate if you know your city. During the tough early years, I used to have good food for just Rs.80/day which is around $1.5. I am not sure if you can get some good food for that rate in the US. And if you are living with your parents, you can skimp on that too ;)

3. Cheap but good developers

If you know where to look, and have good contacts in universities, you will find very good student developers. I used to teach in colleges and this gave me very good access to the best students. And I used to give them real time research oriented work which was too risky to try out directly in Ozonetel. Being students, they loved challenges and I had the satisfaction of teaching students. It was a win win. And I did not have to spend a lot. Just some movie tickets to the latest blockbuster was more than sufficient. Just the sheer number of students in India will give you access to a huge talent pool. As an aside, many of my students are now my co-workers. This is now our primary hiring policy.

These are just 3 of the perks I encountered while building a startup out of India. If you know of other perks, please feel free to comment below. There is also a hacker street discussion and a discussion on hacker news if you are interested.