In the popular imagination, a successful start-up founder in India is a young male IITian who struck gold in his first business venture. But data on Indian start-up founders shows that this is largely a myth. Successful start-up founders indeed largely belong to pedigreed institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) but they tend to have plenty of experience compared to founders whose start-ups fold up.
The analysis is based on data for over 330 start-ups and 560 founders. The start-ups selected are businesses built around an innovative product or a tech-enabled platform. This definition precludes any companies that offer pure services or consulting solutions. The data on each start-up founder has been verified using at least two public sources.
The shortlisted companies were split into two groups—those start-ups that have shut shop versus those that have scaled up—start-ups that are active for the past two years, and have raised more than $10 million. The ideal differentiator between successful and other start-ups would have been profits but given how elusive profits have been in the Indian start-up ecosystem, this analysis uses total funds raised as a proxy for scale. Among the 330 start-ups, 151 start-ups have folded while 179 start-ups have scaled up.
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