Unlike money, entrepreneurship doesn't go in short supply during slowdowns. Why? Because opportunities don't get scarce in a downturn and nor does innovation. In fact, slowdowns-and the consequent cash crunch-make potential entrepreneurs look harder for real opportunities (as different from false ones) and work on sustainable innovations rather than fanciful ones. In other words, businesses born during troubled times should have a stronger immune system and therefore a better chance of success.
That's what we set out to find in this year's listing of India's Hottest Start-Ups. How is the generation of start-ups that's come up after the 2008 global financial crisis different from the earlier generation? Among several dozen new businesses that we scanned to prepare a master list, we also included some start-ups that were set up a little before 2008, but had to transform themselves because of the crisis. Our final line-up of entrepreneurs for this third special issue on Gen Next businesses is exciting and insightful.
Ever heard of narrowcasting, as opposed to broadcasting? That's exactly what K.A. Srinivasan and his investors are betting their money on and are fast scaling up their business-so far. How about getting into a business of producing high-end photo books within 48 hours of a shooting assignment? Have doubts? Well, wedding photo albums alone is a billion-dollar business already. Our cover package is full of such examples. There are also some perspective-altering advices that entrepreneurs shared with us. Sample: "Free advice is most expensive" and "It's not people who aren't credit-worthy. It's banks that aren't people-worthy."
The power of collective bargain is something most consumers were aware of, but seldom used. After all, you can't buy 10 television sets just to get a heftier discount on each. Now you can-thanks to a clutch of new start-ups building their businesses around demand aggregation. Stories on and of start-ups in this issue point to one not-soobvious conclusion: The spirit of entrepreneurship benefits everybody, no matter what careers or business we may be in.
Taking calculated risks, spotting opportunities and being innovative is a good way to conduct professional- and personal-life. This is one valuable learning, among numerous others, I sign off on my second stint with BT. There is a new leader at the helm. You will get to know him on this page in the next issue. I thank you for your support and faith in BT all through my stint-and from much before. You will see BT reaching newer areas and touching new heights in future.