So the highly anticipated Startup India, Standup India event is now live and we are bringing you comprehensive updates along with live coverage, straight from the event. The venue just played host to Masayoshi Son, CEO of Softbank who shared his insights upon the Indian startup ecosystem and what he sees in its future.
Kicking off his interview on a positive note, Masayoshi Son praised the country’s momentum in business and stated that the 21st century belongs to India. He also spoke at length about his bank’s role in the Indian startup ecosystem — the bank invested USD 2 billion in India — adding that his company, if it re scales, will only do it in the upwards direction.
On being asked about the Governments role in the startup ecosystem and how it seems to want to play only the facilitator without actually getting directly involved, he had two important topics. First, that a hard licensing process isn’t very conducive to the growth of a business — particularly when it’s in its growth phase. Secondly, startups can not take care of things like infrastructures which are capital-intensive and the actually needs to involve itself at someplace.
On the topic of whether he could see an Indian start-up bring out an IPO — which of course, is the high point of any company – Mr. Son responded by stating that while it was definitely possible in the upcoming 5-10 years, there was no need for companies to rush to their IPO, taking the moment to laughingly remark upon his company’s commitment to keep them supplied with funds in the meanwhile. Speaking about the kind of companies, Softbank would want to back, he said
It is not the technology that we will back, we will invest in companies that use technology to disrupt businesses,
Adding that analyzing and using the power of computing for disruption would also play an important role for business models, considering that artificial intelligence could possibly outstrip humans in 30 years on many fronts.
He also emphasized upon the bearing, the quality of the leadership of any startup would have upon it attracting Softbank’s attention – and funds too, reiterating that unless that kind of leadership and commitment was found, his company would had no qualms about pulling its hands back and moving on.
On the topic of the most common mistakes made by startups, he stated that companies and their founders should not misunderstand and misinterpret investments. After all, they are not there to enrich a particular person but simply to aid the company along its enterprise.
[They] shouldn’t think that just due to investments, they are already big fish
Mr. Son also talked about the upcoming information revolution, which he said would be 100 times larger than the industrial revolution and will lead to the springing up of opportunities everywhere.