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Amit Agrawal on India’s Startup Boom

The financier warns foreign investors that familiar business models might not work

3 min read
Amit Agrawal on India’s Startup Boom
Encouraging Entrepreneurs: India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, is backing a plan to improve the business climate for startup companies.
Photo: Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

What’s the current state of the startup scene in India? “Everything is sparkling,” says Amit Agrawal, director of the investment advisory firm Access Capital Advisors, in the New Delhi area. Agrawal matches startups with private investors, and he says the entrepreneurs he works with are full of optimism: “They see the sun, and nothing [else].”

The numbers back up their confidence. In 2015, investors poured US $9 billion into Indian startups, according to Your Story, a news and research website that covers India’s entrepreneurial sector. And now the government wants to add its support: In January, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced a “Startup India: Action Plan” [pdf] with much fanfare. The provisions, many timed to take effect on 1 April, include tax exemptions and regulatory easements for young companies. Modi also promised new investment funds, incubators, and research parks to help startups thrive.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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