Thursday, August 04, 2005

Lack of Risk Capital

Almost all VCs operating in India seem to have come to believe that Indian entrepreneurs lack the desire to be world class and world scale players. I would think that this is an unfair judgment.
For example one of the biggest reasons why we don't have many world-class software product companies in India is because there is a lack of market size. Interestingly the reason behind it is rampant and deliberate use of pirated software by the consumers, inadequate IT spend by the enterprise customers (approx about 1% of there revenues which is amongst the lowest in the world) and presences of a large number of enterprises customers that don't pay in time, pay little or don't pay at all for the software they buy from local vendors. Given this it is impossible to have a healthy cash flow to build out thebusiness. 
The second and equally important reason is the inadequate availability of risk capital that can serves, as the buffer against the poor payment culture (as a cushion against its impact on the cash flow) especially in the initial years of the start-up, or as the resource base necessary to help target more lucrative and larger international markets. Such market conditions dampen the spirits of all but the bravest and the stupidest of the entrepreneurs.

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