Sanket Deodhar, Vice President -TATA Group & Unicorns, SAP Indian Subcontinent

Sanket is the Vice President for the TATA group & Unicorn business at SAP INDIA, focusing on innovation, customer-centricity, and building long-term strategic partnerships with customers. In 2021 with a renewed focus on India’s Vibrant Startup ecosystem, Sanket will be responsible for the relationship and business with the startup ecosystem in India. With over 19 years of experience in the IT industry, Sanket has held several leadership roles managing high performing teams in enterprise sales.


India is home to the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world, with many of its young companies having broken new ground and gained market momentum. But as per reports, up to 90% of Indian start-ups falter within 5 years of inception. This begs the following questions: how can more of these up-and-coming start-ups find their feet in a complex and dynamic economic landscape? Or, having earned a level of success, how are they able to sustain that momentum?

The answer may well be a complicated one and involve a few elements. Let’s analyse some.

Sustainable Profit

Paytm’s IPO was set to be the stock market debut of the year. However, the listing didn’t exactly turn out according to plan. For other start-ups nurturing dreams of going public, it seems, being a business solely focused on revenues isn’t solely the way to ensure market success or investor trust.

The need of the hour is a sustainable plan for profit and growth. Bottom-lines remain crucial, but a start-up’s impact on the environment and society has never been as important. Studies show that sustainable businesses are profitable ones. An investment on making a positive impact may seem sizeable in the short-term but has been known to provide long-term benefits.


While a business’s core area of focus must remain strong, diversification will be a strategy of some value to start-ups looking to scale up. Whether it’s Ola or Swiggy, India’s top unicorns are already betting on providing a more varied set of offerings.

Diversification can lead to extraordinary rewards and if risks are tackled with balanced, researched decision-making, betting on new business categories will pay off even after the pandemic fades away.

Regulatory Hurdles

Despite many Indian start-ups using homegrown IT platforms, when it comes to listing on markets or fulfilling other regulatory requirements, turning towards formidable tech platforms can give them both transparency and a functional edge.

With a cost-efficient, centralized system to manage administrative tasks like Employee management, finance, procurement or supply chain, start-ups will be able to enhance core competencies and surpass regulatory challenges with the ease of a larger enterprise.

New Age Tech

We are already seeing Indian start-ups embrace “deep tech” like machine learning, AI, augmented and virtual reality etc. The opportunities in this space are endless, whether it’s VR-based product visualization tools or Blockchain based disruptive ideas like open banking or open supply chains. As these advanced solutions become more common, it would bode well for Indian start-ups to tap their potential early.

We are the cusp of a new era in Indian business, and it will be interesting to see if the new brigade can match the achievements of the country’s corporate stalwarts. Either way, India’s growth story is only gaining speed.

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