The Many Firsts of a Fantastic First Quarter of 2021!
The Indian startup ecosystem got an impressive start in the first quarter of 2021. As per Venture Intelligence, Indian startups witnessed the highest investment in two years, and the capital flow was $4.2 billion!
This is not all.
Most of the startups saw a three-fold hike in valuation in their recent funding rounds. And among these, 10 got valued at more than $1 billion.
And hence, the Indian startup ecosystem received its new set of unicorns.
The unicorn story of 2021 is unique.
Because it is the one with many firsts.
The first health tech, social commerce, e-pharmacy, and infrastructure technology that made its way into the unicorn club.
According to the NASSCOM report, India will have 50 unicorns by the end of 2021.
But many industry experts and research firms believe that, if the current rate continues, India would easily surpass this number.
Here is the list of 10 Indian startups that gave 2021 a pleasant start.
- Digit Insurance
- Five Star Business Finance
The Beginning of Unicorn
If you know any entrepreneur personally, you may have an idea how difficult it is to raise the funds for a startup. It is definitely not a cakewalk.
The fundraising usually begins with family and friends. And as the company expands, it approaches angel investors, and then goes for the venture capitalists for the fund acquisition.
Even though it is a tough task for any startup to gain the investors’ confidence, some horses pass this race and achieve the unicorn tag.
For those who are new to the concept of unicorn, it is a startup that has a valuation of $1 billion or more in the venture capital industry. And Aileen Lee, the founder of Cowboy Ventures, coined the term ‘unicorn’ in 2013.
And since then, startups are continuously striving to attain this prestigious status.
India Didn’t Have a Great Start
When Aileen Lee coined the term ‘unicorn’ in 2013, the United States had 39 unicorns.
You may ask, what about India?
There was only one company called InMobi, the mobile-advertising services provider, that could make it to the unicorn club.
India was nowhere closer to the US in the matter of unicorns. The reasons were many:
- Limited funding
- Inadequate infrastructure
- A plethora of social and cultural challenges
- Lack of talent
- College students found entrepreneurship unappealing compared to the management jobs in large IT firms.
- The aspiring entrepreneurs often got rejected by the prospective brides and their families.
India Slowly Picked Up the Pace
Even though India’s unicorn story had a not-so-brilliant start, the current scenario looks promising.
As per Venture Intelligence data, there were only 10 unicorns until 2018, and since then, there has been the addition of 28 unicorns.
For an Indian startup, on average, it would take up to 8 years to turn into a unicorn.
India’s oldest startups, like Naukri.com, MakeMyTrip, and Justdial, which began its operation prior to 2005, took 15 years to achieve the unicorn title.
But this period has shrunk in recent times.
A recent report by Orios Venture Partners shows that the newer technology firms are hitting the billion-dollar mark in less time than their older counterparts.
The younger enterprises such as Swiggy, Rivigo, Razorpay, and Unacademy joined the unicorn club in 5 years on average. Whereas, Udaan, Ola, Electric, and Glance took just 2.4 years!
What could be the reason for this transition?
As per the Orios Venture Partners report, the reason behind the younger startups turning unicorn sooner could be:
- The prior entrepreneurship experience of the founders of these companies
- These founders know how to secure the funds more efficiently
- The growth mindset
There are two other reasons the investors from India, and all over the world, are backing the Indian startups with their funds:
- Indian startups leveraged the changing consumer behavior and quickly tweaked themselves to satisfy the needs of the customers
- These companies started functioning on the fact that “Focus on the market and the customers will ensure your growth”
Will ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ Soon Be a Reality?
India’s honorable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, raised a clarion call to the country to be self-reliant, aka Atmanirbhar in all senses.
He also outlined the five pillars of Atmanirbhar Bharat:
- Demography, and
You may ask, how startups can help in making India self-reliant?
The Indian startup ecosystem had a slow and steady evolution from one sector to the other, ranging from IT/ITES to e-commerce, deep technology to hyper delivery networks.
Today, startups also have the most favorable conditions to survive and flourish, starting from the funding, development of regulatory infrastructure, global mergers and acquisitions, the influx of global investors to internationalization.
Do you know what brought this revolution to the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem?
It is the government’s mission to get as many entrepreneurial stories as possible through its programs like Startup India, Stand up India, Digital India, and Vocal for Local.
And the unicorn forms one-tenth of new industries coming into existence every year.
The increase in the number of tech unicorns is driving the investors’ interest in India’s startup ecosystem.
According to a report by NASSCOM, the startups in the technology field alone have created 60,000 direct jobs in 2019.
These data show that, if more startups come into existence, and get support from the investors and from the government, India could see a greater spike in job opportunities.
Atmanirbhar citizens make Atmanirbhar Bharat, don’t you agree?
Private Company vs Public Company
The difference is more than literal
Do you know why you cannot buy shares of a private company?
So, can you only buy shares of a public company like ONGC, IRCTC, Indian Oil, etc.?
Then why are the shares of private companies like Infosys and Wipro listed on the stock exchange? Are these private companies to begin with?
Do you know a private company cannot have more than 200 members?
OMG! Somebody please answer all these questions.
Yes, the difference is more than literal.
Let us have a cut and dried distinction between a private and a public company.
Definition of Company
Let us take the bull by its horns and get the definitions out from the textbooks.
Companies Act 2013
A company is a legal entity that is formed by different individuals to generate profits through their commercial activities.
Majorly, a company can be classified into two strands- public company and private company.
Before knowing the difference between a public company and a private company, it is of utmost importance to check on the definitions of a public company and a private company as per the Companies Act 2013.
According to the Companies Act, 2013, a “public company” is a company which—
(a) is not a private company
(b) has a minimum paid-up share capital of five lakh rupees
According to Section 2(68) of the Companies Act, 2013, private companies are those companies whose articles of association restrict the transferability of shares and prevent the public at large from subscribing to them.
According to the Companies Act 2013, a public company has to mandate all legal proceedings which are not mentioned in the definition under Section 2(68) of the Companies Act, 2013, which pertain to a private company.
Difference Between a Public And Private Company
Let’s look at all the major pointers which differentiate a public Company and a private company.
Minimum Number of Members
In a public company, a minimum of 7 members is required to form a company; whereas a private company requires at least 2 members to form a company.
Maximum Number of Members
In a private company, a maximum of 200 members can be present to form a company; whereas in a public company there is no such restriction on the maximum number of members to form a public company.
Invitation To Public
A public company can freely invite the public for subscription, which implies it can issue a prospectus. On the other hand, a public company is prohibited from inviting the public for its share capital, which means a private company cannot issue a prospectus.
Number Of Directors
In a private company, a minimum of 2 directors is required; whereas in a public company, a minimum of 3 directors is required.
Transferability Of Shares
There is no restriction on transferability of shares in a public company; whereas in a private company there are complete restrictions on transferability of shares, through its article of association.
A public company must disclose the annual financial report; whereas for a private company, there is no such obligation to disclose their annual report to the public.
Index Of Members
In a public company, it is mandatory to maintain an index of all members in the company, whereas in a private company, it is not needed to maintain the index of its members.
The minimum paid-up capital for a private company is Rs. 1 lakhs; whereas the minimum paid-up capital for a public company is greater than that of a private company. It is Rs. 5 lakhs for a public company.
In case of a public company, it is defined that total managerial remuneration cannot exceed 11% of net profits and in the case of inadequate profit, the maximum amount to be paid is Rs. 87,500. Whereas in a private company there is no such restriction on the maximum cap for directors’ remuneration.
Quorum For Meetings
In the case of a public company, it is mandatory to have a personal presence of five members in a meeting to constitute quorum, whereas in a private company, it requires a minimum of two members to maintain a quorum for meetings.
Below is an array with a list of pointers that differentiates a public company and a private company.
|S.NO||BASIS||PUBLIC COMPANY||PRIVATE COMPANY|
|1||MINIMUM MEMBERS||AT LEAST 7 MEMBERS||AT LEAST 2MEMBERS|
|2||MAXIMUM MEMBERS||NO MAXIMUM LIMIT||CAN’T EXCEED 200 MEMBERS|
|3||INVITATION TO PUBLIC FOR SHARE CAPITAL||POSSIBLE WITH THE HELP OF PROSPECTUS||CAN’T INVITE PUBLIC FOR ITS SHARE|
|4||NUMBER OF DIRECTORS||MINIMUM OF 3 DIRECTORS||MINIMUM OF 2 DIRECTORS|
|5||TRANSFERABILITY OF SHARES||FREELY TRANSFERABLE||RESTRICTIONS ON TRANSFERABILITY|
|6||ANNUAL REPORT||COMPULSORY TO SUBMIT ANNUAL REPORT TO ROC||NOT A MANDATE TO SUBMIT ANNUAL REPORT TO ROC|
|7||INDEX OF MEMBERS||MAINTAINING INDEX OF MEMBERS IS MANDATE||NO NEED TO MAINTAIN INDEX OF MEMBERS|
|9||DIRECTORS/MANAGERIAL REMUNERATION||CANNOT EXCEED 11% OF NET PROFIT||NO LIMIT / NO RESTRICTIONS|
|10||QUORUM FOR MEETINGS||5||2|
“The best investment is in the tools of one’s own trade.”- Benjamin Franklin
It is always better to be well versed with the tools of one’s own trade and the management of the inflows and outflows.
An avid tradesman associates their trade to generate profits and simplify the trade complexities by forming a company. These differences stated above lay down the basics of companies and form a guided path for a better approach to start with a company.
Here Is Why Entrepreneurs Should Go Out and Start Networking
Don’t hide behind. Face your circles. It’s high time you start networking.
We have often watched Hindi films where protagonists aspire to be a rich men as a kid. And hence they start thinking of different business ideas to be successful.
Well, this happens in reality as well. Who doesn’t dream of starting their own business one day, right?
However, business is not as easy as eating a piece of cake. And no, you don’t need to have a Ph.D. or an MBA degree to start a business.
You just need to have clarity of thoughts; about the business idea, sales and marketing, and most importantly, NETWORKING.
Today, everyone needs everything. The circle of needs and demands has become wider. Everything in entrepreneurship is becoming more interconnected. Just like the Past, Present, and Future in the web series “Dark”.
Networking is the one and only way to get to know what’s around you. From having conversations with your parents to your fruit vendors or even your house helps, you never know what brings you to the peak of your business.
We will share our two cents to convince you enough to go out and start networking if you are a budding entrepreneur. Pardon us if these two cents become 4 or more, but you will definitely not regret reading this till the end.
Entrepreneurship And Networking
The first thing that any budding entrepreneur does, while starting their own business, is to spread the word about it.
The first set of people that they talk to are their family, friends, and even banks (for financial purposes). Although these efforts may or may not materialize into something fruitful, you learn a thing or two about the ABCs of networking.
Networking is one way to get clarity of thoughts about your business. It’s like building a blueprint of your business in mind. You not only know the industry better but also get to know the loopholes and healthy shortcuts that will save time and increase efficiency.
In the ABCs of business, “A” stands for “recognizing the needs and expectations of people around you.”
Networking is the first step to recognize the gap between demand and supply. It’s similar to providing electricity to those areas with no light, and the idea and motivation behind it.
So now that you are still reading, let’s go further and discuss the importance of networking in entrepreneurship:
Builds Trust And Respect
You may or may not earn money every day from your business. But once you earn trust and respect in the market, there is no way that people will forget you easily.
It’s a fact.
Earning money is easy.
But earning trust and respect takes more effort.
Networking with your business peers or veterans will get you noticed. Initially, you won’t find them paying heed to you, but once they do, they are never going to leave you.
People believe in aggressive marketing to increase sales and business. But try aggressive networking instead, and there will be no stopping for you in the future.
Remember, making friends in schools and colleges? It’s a similar situation in entrepreneurship, too.
Going social is one way you get confidence in networking with people in the future.
Did you ever come across someone who would go to a restaurant with you and start talking to the waiters and receptionists?
Well, you may feel awkward about it, but that’s their first step to get to know the surrounding market.
Start from a party that you attend, be it a family party or a party with friends. Join a group of your choice and listen to the conversations. Once you get the grip of it, start by putting forth your views and then turn it around to your business idea. This may look boring and slow, but slow and steady will definitely win the race.
Today, there are many millennial-made apps, like Bumble, LinkedIn, etc. that encourage people to build an entrepreneurial network in any industry of their choice. Start posting. Start swiping right to the connections that interest you.
For that matter, you can even join dating apps to build professional connections. Your first conversation about your business will be a good ice-breaker (You’ll thank us later for this pro tip).
Don’t Be Selective In Your Own Circles
A very common mistake that most “choosy” or “picky” people do, is being very selective in deciding who to network with.
Today, almost all industries are interconnected. A top-class hospital will always need catering or food services for their staff and patients. A hotel will always want to have options for good clothes vendors for room and restaurant linen.
So if you limit yourself to one or two industries, and sideline others, chances are that you may lose a lot of opportunities.
Expand yourself. Even if you are not sure about it at first. Take that first call that says “our budget is low”, when you know that you have a different area of expertise to explore.
Your Shyness And Fear Will Only Put You Behind The Race
Entrepreneurship requires you to go “out-of-your-circles” more than going “out-of-the-box”.
You are likely to face uncomfortable situations all the time. You have to become an extrovert if you are a highly introverted person. You can’t hide from people who you dislike. You can’t say goodbye to those people whom you are done working with.
Your fear, your shyness will start putting you behind the race of a successful entrepreneur.
You have to be outspoken. Pave your way and lead it too. Take others along the way and build a huge business “family”.
Remember Abhishek Bachchan in the film “Guru”?
No, you need not be exactly like him, but you are expected to know why to be like him. And take your own decisions from the existing lessons.
It’s A Long Road That Will Definitely Lead You To Your Vision
Networking is a continuous process. You don’t stop after a certain level of achievement.
Starting a business is not enough, you have to keep it running. And for that purpose, you may need to explore your potential networks.
It’s often expected from budding entrepreneurs to network only with business-minded people to start and run a business successfully. What they don’t realize is that business is made by people, for people, and with people.
So start networking – whether virtually, or face-to-face. Get that business idea in place, get started with your plans, and you will surely reach a place where you can write “successful entrepreneur” in your social media bio.
World’s Top 10 Bitcoin Billionaires Featured in Forbes (2021)
Bitcoin – A bubble for the bears, an ocean for the billionaires!
Bitcoin made a record high of $20,000 in December, 2017.
To the joy of the uninformed crypto-currency haters, it never reached there again for almost 3 years.
The cryptocurrency bears made sure they left no stone unturned to demoralize the bulls during this period.
Most of the cryptocurrency investors, or Bitcoin investors; as Bitcoin was the major cryptocurrency back then before the advent of so many other crypto coins; gave up to their cash crunch by selling their Bitcoins.
But there were a few who weathered the storm and thought otherwise.
Patience and conviction separated the men from the boys, whom we today call as billionaires.
Also read: Why Is Everyone Going Mad about NFTs?
The Bitcoin Season
The price of Bitcoin broke out its previous high of $20,000 in November 2020.
It rocketed up to a high of $61,844 in March 2021. The current price is $59,964 as this article is being written.
The huge buying of cryptocurrencies has moved the total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies up north to $1.5 trillion.
Established institutions are joining in on the rally of bitcoin and adding Bitcoins to their balance sheets. Bitcoin now has a place in the balance sheets of companies like Square and Tesla.
Bitcoin has become the world’s first and most successful blockchain-based cryptocurrency.
The Forbes List
As many as 12 crypto billionaires made it to the Forbes’ 35th Annual World’s Billionaires list, up from just four last year.
Let’s meet the top 10 Bitcoin billionaires.
1. Sam Bankman-Fried
Sam Bankman-Fried currently sits at the top of the crypto world, making him the wealthiest billionaire in the cryptocurrency world.
The 29-year-old MIT graduate and a former Wall Street ETF trader founded Alameda Research, a quantitative trading firm. He also founded FTX, a popular cryptocurrency exchange built by traders in the cryptocurrency space.
In 2020, he came in the spotlight when he donated $5 million to support Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
2. Brian Armstrong
Net worth: $6.5 billion
Brian Armstrong, 38, co-founded Coinbase with Fred Ehrsam in 2012 after working at Deloitte and Airbnb. It is now the most valuable cryptocurrency business in the USA.
Coinbase is one of the most favored places to trade crypto, generating around $3 billion trading volume every day. Armstrong holds an estimated 20% stake in Coinbase. Coinbase is planning to go public on the stock exchanges as well.
The crypto assets of Brian Armstrong increased more than 6 times over the past year during the boom in cryptocurrency prices.
When asked about the motivation behind leaving his blossoming career and taking up cryptocurrency investing, he told Forbes- “I wanted the world to have a global, open financial system that drove innovation and freedom.”
3. Chris Larsen
Net worth: $3.4 billion
Chris Larsen co-founded an online lender, Eloan, with Janina Pawlowski in 1997. Eight years later, he co-founded a peer-to-peer lender, Prosper.
He then co-founded Ripple with Jed McCaleb in 2012 to facilitate international payments for banks through the blockchain technology. The token of Ripple is called XRP.
In January 2018, the cryptocurrency boom briefly boosted his fortune over $17 billion. XRP tanked with the rest of the market when the bubble burst later that year. The recent crypto bull market has him on the top billionaire’s list. He holds a 17% stake in Ripple Labs and owns around 3 billion XRPs.
4. Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss
Net worth: $3 billion each
Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss are former Olympic rowers.
They are best known for accusing fellow Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg of stealing their social network idea. The Winklevoss brothers sued Mark Zuckerberg in 2004, claiming that he stole their ConnectU idea and used it to establish the much popular social networking website, Facebook.
In 2012, the siblings began to invest in bitcoin. The twins founded Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange in 2014, and bought Nifty Gateway, a digital art auction platform.
5. Michael Saylor
Net worth: $2.3 billion
Michael Saylor is the co-founder of a software firm, MicroStrategy. He gained fortune and lost it quickly owing to the dot-com bubble in 2000.
Two big moves landed him on the list of the top bitcoin billionaires.
- In December 2020, MicroStrategy used its cash and borrowed $650 million to buy 70,784 Bitcoins for $1.1 billion, which is now worth above $2.5 billion. This has helped the shares of the company go up more than 300%.
- Saylor has around 17,732 Bitcoins for an average buy price of about $175 million, which is now worth a massive $650 million.
Michael Saylor’s net worth is $2.3 billion, thanks to his early investments in Bitcoin.
6. Jed McCaleb
Net worth: $2 billion
Before entering the crypto world, McCaleb was known for creating file-sharing service eDonkey2000, which settled a 2006 lawsuit from a company over copyright infringement for $30 million.
Mc-Caleb, 46, helped launch three crypto firms.
- In 2010 he founded Mt. Gox, the first big Bitcoin exchange, which he sold a year later.
- In 2012 he co-founded Ripple but soon left over disagreements with other founders.
- And in 2014, he co-founded Stellar. Stellar is a competitor of Ripple that aims to pace up cross-border payments.
A major chunk of McCaleb’s wealth comes from the estimated 3.4 billion XRP he still holds, from the original 9 billion XRP he made as a Ripple founder.
7. Changpeng Zhao
Net worth: $1.9 billion
Zhao, a former software developer, sold his house in Shanghai in 2014 to invest all in Bitcoin.
He founded Binance in the summer of 2017, and in under a year, it became the most popular place to buy and sell crypto.
Since then, it has launched various businesses ranging from a venture capital fund to a Bitcoin mining operation. Also, Binance has introduced a debit card facility that allows the Europeans to spend in cryptocurrencies.
8. Barry Silbert
Net worth: $1.6 billion
Barry Silbert sold his startup ‘Second-Market’, a stock trading platform to Nasdaq in 2015. Silbert, the Emory University graduate, thereafter launched a digital currency group, a conglomerate consisting of five companies.
Its largest revenue generator is the digital asset manager named Grayscale. It supervises $28 billion worth of Bitcoin, Ether and other assets.
Capitalizing on a first-mover advantage, Grayscale won the regulatory permission to sell securities backed by Bitcoin to institutional and accredited investors. It generates an estimated $590 million in revenue annually.
9. Tim Draper
Net worth: $1.5 billion
Draper, a founding partner of a venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, has made many venture capital investments in companies including Tesla and Theranos.
In 2014, he bought 29,656 Bitcoins that had been seized by the U.S. Marshals from the shuttered Silk Road black market. Silk Road is an online black market that allows people to sell drugs and other illegal goods.
Those Bitcoins are now worth a whopping $1.1 billion.
10. Matthew Roszak
Net worth: $1.5 billion
Roszak was charged with insider trading during the initial days of his career. He settled those charges with legal help in 2006.
Currently, he is the co-founder and chairman of Bloq, a Chicago based blockchain technology startup that advises on projects such as helping banks store digital assets securely.
He is a longtime crypto believer and started accumulating for his crypto portfolio in 2012. Roszak recently co-led a program to give each member of the Congress $50 worth of cryptocurrencies, of which only some accepted it.
Bubble Or a Puzzle?
We haven’t seen the last of Bitcoin yet.
We don’t know if $20,000 is coming next or building up for $100,000; though the latter seems promisable.
It is still a bubble for the hard-core skepticals and a puzzle for the others.
It is a tussle for the FOMO victims, and a chance for double for the overcomers.
We know bubbles are bad.
But becoming a billionaire out of a bubble must not be that bad- as the above billionaires have told us.