Disha Singla is a qualified Chartered Accountant and alumna of University of Florida, USA. She is the co- founder at Supreme Incubator helping early stage startups elevate to higher performance levels.
India has the third-largest start-up industry in the world, where reportedly at least three tech start-ups are born every hour, on an average. Considering that 2019 was a remarkable year in the history of start-ups in the country with $14.5 billion funds raised cumulatively, the expectations for 2020 were immensely high. However, the global outbreak of Covid-19 heavily disrupted the financial markets, leaving the world on the edge of an economic meltdown. Although corporate giants have also felt the brunt of the pandemic, it has majorly been the small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs who have emerged as the most vulnerable groups.
However, amidst all the chaos, the good piece of news is that a vaccine has arrived on the scene and things are expected to soon go back to normal, or at least some semblance of normality is likely to be restored in how businesses will function going forward.
Here are some ways in which the start-up ecosystem is expected to change post – COVID:
- Flexible Remote Working
The Covid-19 pandemic has been the harbinger and accelerant for the adoption of remote working. This has made it necessary for organisations to make provisions for easy transition. Even businesses that were considerably against the idea of remote working adopted a new model. In light of this transition, millions of employees and business owners have benefitted from the non-existent commutes, greater flexibility & free time on hand, and greater control over their work environments. As people are working literally from any part of the world, it has made them more productive as now the focus is on the output. Owners are saving money on the office expenses and witnessing their businesses thrive.
- Diverse Teams Mean Diverse Ideas
Remote working means no location constraint when on boarding people from diverse walks of life. Hiring people from different backgrounds means bringing more creativity to the team as each person would come with their own set of ideas. When such diverse people collaborate, there is bound to be greater innovation and creativity in the team. This will also motivate team members to move out of their comfort zones and brainstorm more. This will also widen the pool of talent to choose from as business owners can pick from a wider choice of staff with specialized skills, thus saving on training.
- Work-Life Balance Gains Renewed Importance
On the face of it, bringing work home could seem counterproductive. However, the reality is much different. When working remotely, employees tend to face much less distractions, thus increasing their productivity. Also, due to the lockdown, many working professionals took time off for themselves from their hectic schedule and spent quality time with their family and friends. Going forward, founders can also encourage their team members to prioritize themselves as well along with the work, and take some time off to rejuvenate as that is very important for better professional outcomes.
Striking the right work-life balance translates into higher employee retention since people have a job they love within the comfort of their own home, in turn leading to long-term success.
- Setting Up Venture with a Purpose
With the advent of recent events, it has become even more essential for entrepreneurs to step up and bring a social angle to their ventures. Entrepreneurship is all about problem-solving, and the first leg of the lockdown saw a surge in innovators bringing out products to make the times easier on various stakeholders. This lesson can be applied in day-to-day business building as well, where startups focus on creating purposeful and meaning solutions to real-life issues..
- Rising Investor Interests in Certain Sectors
Covid-19 has brought in a significant change in start-up investment patterns. Venture capital firms are now shifting their focus to sectors like OTT & home entertainment, online grocery delivery, healthcare, EdTech, FinTech, and cyber security as these are now witnessing a growing user demand. The global pandemic has no doubt affected adversely the start-up funding scenario in India, but simultaneously it has led to new opportunities for those start-ups that are agile and are manoeuvring to adapt to the current circumstances. Some of these start-ups are even displaying trend-defying growth, which is attracting more venture capitalists and angel investors.
It’s a practical certainty that Covid-19 will have a lasting impact on entrepreneurship in the times to come. The pandemic has forced business founders to undergo many transformative and sudden changes to survive the emergency conditions that arose as a result of the lockdowns.
The good thing is that the resulting lessons have not been ignored. The combined power of people, power of the internet and the power of doing good deeds will bring about a fundamental shift in the kinds of entrepreneurs and ventures that will emerge in the coming years.