Sharad Sharma, co-founder of iSPIRT (Indian Software Product Industry Round Table), is one of the best known startup evangelists in the country. Sharma, former head of Yahoo! R&D centre in India, has invested in more than two dozen startups besides running his own startup BrandSigma Inc that offers analytics for brand management. Teltier Technologies, the first startup he co-founded, was bought by Cisco way back in 2003. At iSPIRT, Sharma, along with other leading tech entrepreneurs, is helping the government in framing policies that can help build a strong startup ecosystem. In this interview with VCCircle, Sharma talks about the challenges faced by Indian startups, the current squeeze on funding and a conducive policy framework for startups. Edited excerpts:
We have seen several startups closing down this year and a simultaneous slowdown in funding. Is there some stress in the system?
I have held a view for many months now that we have a localised bubble. That bubble is in the consumer space; especially in hyperlocal and food-tech. It is now becoming difficult to raise additional rounds of funding in these sectors. Remember, this is a localised bubble; there are large pockets which do not suffer from these valuation bubble, particularly enterprise tech.
Hopefully, this unwinding in consumer-tech will be gradual. If it's quick, there will be collateral damage to other sectors.