Startups Deserve Backing of Corporate Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram: The second edition of Destination Kerala Startup Awards was held in Thiruvananthapuram recently under extremely trying circumstances. As you are all aware, the economy is fumbling and consumption has not yet picked up. One of the earliest to get impacted are initiatives like ours that depend on marketing spend. Luckily we have few partners who still believe like us that such platforms ought to sustain for greater good. And so, 10 winners who were selected by the jury of eminent business leaders were honoured and their success celebrated.
It is heartening to see the passion and caliber of these entrepreneurs as they go about harnessing technology to address business and social challenges. More power to their tribe and to Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM).
As someone who tracks this space closely, I have to admit this is something that makes me wonder: why do Kerala’s super successful entrepreneurs, HNWIs and wealthy family offices not invest in our startups? It is disappointing that business leaders from Kerala are not even willing to invest in startup ideas closely related to their core business, like say an NBFC exploring investments in fintech.
This has to change if our ecosystem has to expand. No startup ecosystem can grow only with government patronage. Kerala-based startups attract private capital even from outside, but are yet to find takers back home!
Yet the numerous startup success stories emanating from Kerala seem to tell that the Malayali entrepreneurs behind these ventures do not seem to have been discouraged by the near absence of private capital from the State to support them in their innovative, mostly tech-enabled, businesses.
Another ‘investor’ behaviour in Kerala that startles me is the demand for 51 per cent stake for any funding offered to a startup. This is again very unfair and does not foster a win-win playing field for startup entrepreneurship to prosper.
When startup success stories like the ones we honour and celebrate annually under Destination Kerala Startup Awards have to admit that they became what they are, not because of us, it’s time to rethink for corporate Kerala.