India is a nation of entrepreneurs. With 80 percent of the workforce either self-employed or in casual employment, you might argue there’s no better place to launch a startup.
But like many countries, including the US, the odds of unicorn success are slim. In a nation of 1.38 billion people, only 42 unicorns arose in 2021 (compared to 240 in the US).
Don’t be fooled, however: India is still the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world. The country leads in innovation (ranked second globally) and has enjoyed almost double-digit growth in investors, incubators, and funding in the last five years.
Bimlesh Gundurao and Santosh Panda spotted the emerging trend and started Foundership earlier this year (April 2021) to help Indian entrepreneurs launch, scale, and exit. As well as providing coaching and capital, they also host a community of leading founders to help entrepreneurs execute better and faster.
Today, they can also help founders get Acquired or pursue M&A growth opportunities through their partnership with Andrew Gazdecki’s Acquire, the world’s most founder-friendly startup acquisition marketplace. Together, they hope to support the 99 percent-plus of founders who don’t create unicorns achieve a smaller yet still life-changing exit.
Launched in 2019, Acquire has helped close over 500 acquisitions with a combined valuation of over $200 million. The platform lists 1,000s of startups, connecting sellers with over 100,000 buyers, and now includes an M&A advisor directory and data-driven valuation tools.
“India is one of the fastest-recovering economies post-Covid, creating digital-first opportunities to build new businesses that elevate society,” said Bimlesh Gundurao, Foundership’s co-founder. “With Acquire, we can help founders who’re ready to exit find buyers quickly and even help them pursue growth through M&A.”
Local Impact on a Global Scale
India is the 5th fastest-growing economy in the world, reports Nasdaq. But it’s still generally seen as an underserved market due to its sprawling size and population. The penetration of technology services is especially weak, for example.
While many entrepreneurs have shifted focus to foreign markets like the US, the real impact, Foundership and Acquire believe, is in helping entrepreneurs create economic opportunities in their communities.
“This partnership wants to empower entrepreneurs to have local impact but on a global scale,” Gazdecki said. “With Foundership providing the guidance and investor network and Acquire simplifying the acquisition process, we hope to help entrepreneurs build businesses that have a positive impact at home as well as abroad.”
Financial services and healthcare, for example, are ripe for disruption in India – as is agriculture, which over 50 percent of the population depends on. Also on the rise are “Jugaad” applications, subtle innovations under restrictive conditions, of which bootstrapped entrepreneurs are a good example.
“India is cresting a tidal wave of M&A activity,” said Santosh Panda, Foundership cofounder. “Founders tackling global problems also create economic opportunities locally, so there’s a real need for mentorship and exit planning. It’s incumbent on platforms like Foundership and Acquire to help those less-experienced navigate M&A and succeed in their goals.”
Why Entrepreneurs Need Support
You won’t find a guidebook to entrepreneurship. Sure, many entrepreneurs have written about their experiences, but every startup is different. What works for one founder won’t necessarily work for another, so you usually have to learn from your mistakes.
That said, founder-friendly platforms like Acquire and Foundership can help you make better decisions and avoid common pitfalls. Advice like that is rarely afforded unless you’re speaking to an investor or M&A advisor or some other industry specialist. Acquire and Foundership, however, offer that support throughout the entrepreneur’s journey.
“It’s hard enough building a business let alone acquiring one or getting Acquired,” said Gazdecki. “By educating founders on M&A and consolidating and simplifying the acquisition process, we hope to make it another tool in the entrepreneurial toolbox. We’re there for you when you’re ready to exit and we’ll be there again when you Acquire for the first time.”
Decoding successful entrepreneurship is a never-ending endeavor, and founders need the expertise of those of Panda and Gundurao to meet their potential. And when it’s time for that life-changing acquisition? Gazdecki and the Acquire team will be there to help.