THE BLOG

Next Generation of Global Tech Giants Will Be Founded in India

08/06/2015 10:41 BST | Updated 05/06/2016 10:59 BST

The next generation of Facebooks, Googles and even Microsofts could very likely be born and raised in India. While we in the West have been watching Silicon Valley for the next big thing, quietly and with great determination, new pioneering tech entrepreneurs have been finding their feet in India.

But why are so many of us sceptical about India's ability to make their mark in the global tech industry? After all, according to the Indian Finance Ministry's recent Economic Survey 2014-15, the IT business process management industry alone accounts for $119bn in revenue and grew by 12 per cent in last financial year.

Plus the export market in this IT sector is almost $100bn. So we know that India understands how to sell technology services. The difficulty for many people is envisaging young Indian entrepreneurs developing and implementing ideas robust enough to create the next tech giant.

Nikesh Arora, President and COO of SoftBank, has no problem envisaging a future full of Indian Facebooks. In an article for the Economic Times, he says: "I am sure we will have our wins and losses. But nothing will give more pleasure than to see India boast its own indigenous Alibabas, Facebooks and Googles. They all started with an idea. And a passionate entrepreneur or two." And nothing will give me more pleasure either.

I'm investing in India not only because I see the opportunities in a country that is on the very brink of hockey-stick growth, but also because I see that India is absolutely packed with talented, creative and ambitious entrepreneurs.

But I'm not one of those investors who think you can throw money at India, or any emerging market, and then sit back in London and wait for the profits to roll in. I'm investing in India's people and India's future. It's not about the short-term financial investment. It's about being a part of a transformational experience - on both sides. Foreign investing is, and always should be, a partnership. It's a long-term commitment to being part of the transformation of a country, seeing it succeed and even outstrip your own country.

A good investor should provide a different point of view, a global perspective. New perspectives, combined with local intelligence, generate new ideas and new innovations - and eventually, together, they create tech giants.

Of course, for this golden future to become a reality, the Indian Government must play its part; they must reform restrictive business regulations that threaten to throttle growth and put people off starting a business. India's urban population is projected to reach 500 million by 2017 and there is also much to do to renew the infrastructure to cope with this rising population. Finally, the media must support and celebrate ambitious entrepreneurs even when they fail - no success comes without failure.

These issues aside, why am I still so convinced by India? I have lived in India on-and-off now for more than a decade; I see the challenges. In India - unlike, perhaps, in the West - there is no social security safety net and life can be a real struggle. But if you have visited India, you will know that this doesn't 'beat' people; instead it challenges them to work harder and longer, and that's exactly what they do.

This burning desire for a better life drives Indian people to push that little bit harder. And when you combine this desire with the recent influx of highly trained, highly intelligent Indian students returning with degrees and PhDs from American, British and other European universities, you start to see that it's inevitable that India will be home to the next Silicon Valley.

Above all, I believe in India because the people have totally committed themselves to owning and building an impressive future for their country. And nothing will stop them. They grow in confidence every day. And every day they create bigger plans. India will do whatever it takes to be a world-beating economy within the next five years, if not sooner, and frankly, if you believe India will not create the next raft of tech giants then I have to say, you are very much mistaken.