Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

From startups surviving funding winter to Robin Sharma's advice for CEOs, here are our most-read stories of the week

Complexities of Dharavi redevelopment projects, the Maldives controversy, are some of the stories that piqued the interest of our readers this week

Published: Jan 13, 2024 10:00:00 AM IST
Updated: Jan 12, 2024 04:34:03 PM IST

From startups surviving funding winter to Robin Sharma's advice for CEOs, here are our most-read stories of the weekImage: Shutterstock

1) InsuranceDekho and the cover drive
From startups surviving funding winter to Robin Sharma's advice for CEOs, here are our most-read stories of the week

The funding winter of 2022 was harsh. And scenes were not different in the InsuranceDekho war room as they were preparing to hit the funding market after being incubated at GirnarSoft for four years. They survived the winters of December 2022 as they heard of deals bombing left, right, and centre--reliance on traditional funding models for working capital helped immensely. And in February 2023, InsuranceDekho finally scored. Series A funding had been secured with contributions from Goldman Sachs Asset Management, TVS Capital Funds, Investcorp, Avataar Ventures, and LeapFrog Investments. This is the story of a startup that braved and thrived.

2) Tale of perseverance
From startups surviving funding winter to Robin Sharma's advice for CEOs, here are our most-read stories of the week
Anup Agarwal had spent eight years at Jefferies and five years at Kotak Investment Banking. For nearly two decades, he wielded power, framed the game rules and decided the winners. But when the tables turned, and Agarwal was pitching Mintifi, a B2B supply chain financing firm, the veteran faced 20 rejections. But Mintifi was growing--from ₹30 crore in FY19 to ₹1,500 crore in FY22; revenue from  ₹2.8 crore to ₹59 crore in the same period; a tidy profit of ₹3 crore in FY22. Was Mintifi just another fintech company, one more NBFC, one more addition to the crowded market? Not really. A recent credit note by Crisil explains the difference and why Mintifi was later overwhelmed with investors' interest as funding winter gripped the Indian startup ecosystem.

3) India vs the world
From startups surviving funding winter to Robin Sharma's advice for CEOs, here are our most-read stories of the week
2021 was a dream year for any founder or entrepreneur looking to raise funds for their organisation. Everybody basked in the spring of funding. But as the second half of 2022 approached, the winds of winter started to flow, and they quickly turned fatal towards the end. Look at the numbers. From $4.96 billion in funding in April 2021, the monthly numbers dipped to $2.65 billion in 2022 and then plunged to $989.5 million in 2023. The Indian startup ecosystem has seen many ups and downs in quick succession. Tracxn's latest annual report, 2023, takes a deep dive into the ever-changing landscape around the tech world. Here are some fascinating numbers and tidbits from the account.

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1) Uncertainty of Dharavi's redevelopment

From startups surviving funding winter to Robin Sharma's advice for CEOs, here are our most-read stories of the weekThe reports around Dharavi's proposed redevelopment have filled pages in the regional newspapers as political parties use it for daily fodder. A recent eye of the storm is the Maharashtra government's notification on the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR), which political parties allege gives an unfair advantage to the Adani Group and increases real estate prices in Mumbai. However, the Dharavi residents suffer from the lack of infrastructure, political compassion, and clarity on the future state of their houses. They are fighting for their rights and an opportunity to be heard. Adani Group is planning education programmes and surveys to clear the doubts about TDR and other attached complexities, but the path ahead remains bumpy.

2) Robin Sharma's advice for leaders
From startups surviving funding winter to Robin Sharma's advice for CEOs, here are our most-read stories of the week
Recently, we hosted Robin Sharma, known for international bestsellers The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and The 5 AM Club, for the From the Bookshelves of Forbes India podcast. The author and leadership coach talked about his forthcoming book The Wealth Money Can’t Buy and the relevance of self-help books in the age of motivation content fatigue, thanks to social media. He also discusses why hubris takes down many great people and companies, why most CEOs and billionaires are “cash rich and happiness poor”, how technology takes us away from creativity, and the secret behind how successful people separate good advice and decisions from all the noise.

3) Vibrant Gujarat: Report card

From startups surviving funding winter to Robin Sharma's advice for CEOs, here are our most-read stories of the weekWhen Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat in 2003, he started Vibrant Gujarat, a business event to attract investment into the state. As Narendra Modi finishes his tenth year as the Prime Minister of India, Vibrant Gujarat Summit is also hosting its tenth edition and focuses on the theme 'Gateway to the Future', which will include discussions on and investments in semiconductors, green hydrogen, space technology manufacturing, electric mobility, sustainable manufacturing, renewable energy, and Industry 4.0. This podcast gives you a perspective on the big announcements made so far and takes stock of MoUs signed over the years.

4) Opportunity out of controversy
From startups surviving funding winter to Robin Sharma's advice for CEOs, here are our most-read stories of the week
This entire week, Maldives was subjected to online abuse and boycott from Indians after three Maldivian ministers made negative comments about India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Travellers are cancelling their plans to visit the islands, and even online travel aggregators have suspended their services to the archipelago. Everyone appears to be shifting their focus to the domestic destinations. As travellers search for hidden gems of Indian tourism destinations and focus on Lakshadweep for their next getaway, travel agencies are also introducing new offers to boost domestic spots. But the question remains: Will infrastructural challenges, connectivity, and permissions play spoilsport?