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Sashi Chimala, Executive VP-NEN interacts with Deccan Herald

“Entrepreneurship is like Game of Thrones,” says Sashi Chimala, Executive Vice President, National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN).

Making his keynote address at the Startup Capitals 2015 conference in Bengaluru on Thursday, he said, “Entrepreneurship is about fighting for the throne. And in the process, many will get kicked off.”

Speaking to Deccan Herald about how India can be the next Silicon Valley, Chimala said, “We don’t need to be Silicon Valley. We can learn from Silicon Valley.”

Silicon Valley is Silicon Valley because of its entrepreneurial ecosystem. “Although we have come a long way, India is still very weak when it comes to innovation,” he said.

“The core of an entrepreneur is freedom, we don’t need money to be an entrepreneur.”
“Just a few years ago, no engineer in India ever thought that he can be on his own. While there always were role models like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, they were far from what the Indian youth could relate to on a personal level,” he said.

With inspiring entrepreneurs like Rohit Bansal, Sachin Bansal and Kunal Shah, among others, emerging, India’s dearth of local role models seems to be satisfied, he added.

About India, “There is a deficiency in innovation. With all other factors in place, innovation is nowhere near where it should be,” he said.

“We have a large population of educated and inspired youth. But the focus is very narrow. Copycat ideas are ruling the roost,” he said, adding, “This is where we need to take inspiration from the US.”

“Take the food tech category for example. It went through a very quick cycle. Many got funded and many will shut, simply because the industry has not been disruptive here.”
In his opinion, Bengaluru, Delhi and Pune are the startup capitals in India. These cities have the key ingredients of good academic institutions, and a young and thriving entrepreneurial community required for a startup, he said.

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