Five points tech start-ups expect Union Budget to focus on
Shivakumar Ganesan February 25, 2015Shivakumar Ganesan, founder, Exotel lists various points the finance minister should announce in the Budget.
1. India does not allow patenting an algorithm. Imagine doing business in a country that does not allow you to patent your intellectual property. You cannot patent an algorithm that is a proprietary code that makes things happen in a unique way. On the contrary, in the US and European countries, you can patent user experience and design. For technology start-ups, that is crucial because intellectual property, or IP, has a very strong role to play in a start-up's valuation when it is raising funds from investors. Venture funds will show little respect to such ventures that can't protect their software. The government should revisit that stance. Besides, the Indian patent office is not that well respected globally.
2. It would be great if the government can set up a fund for start-ups to fight patent infringement cases abroad.
3. Technology start-ups like those in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry need to hire talent from abroad. Marketing talent in, say, the US is much more evolved than in India. The government should make it more affordable for such start-ups to hire talent from abroad with schemes such as paying a part of the salary of such recruits. Schemes like these already run well in countries like Singapore.
4. The Credit Guarantee Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises, or CGTMSE, has been around for several years and the mandate of the scheme is to give collateral-free loans to small businesses. Start-ups find it easier to deal with private banks than nationalised banks. CGTMSE, which runs with only half a dozen nationalised banks, should be extended to private banks as well.
5. Right now the regulatory regime is such that only large companies can provide services like VoIP and IP messaging services. The government should make it easier for small players to become Internet service providers. That will facilitate Internet penetration in areas where large companies are not able to reach.
Shivakumar Ganesan is Founder, Exotel.