There are Hard, but Interesting Problems to Solve

Rahul Panicker, Ashwini Asokan and Kiran Karnik talk about how India is on the cusp of new possibilities for entrepreneurship

Nilofer D'Souza

These are exciting times and India is on the cusp of new possibilities for entrepreneurship. That's the general view of the entrepreneurs and experts we spoke with in this first podcast in our series titled 'Indian Entrepreneurship: The Next Ten Years'. The guests: 

  • Rahul Panicker, president and co-founder, Embrace Innovations
  • Ashwini Asokan, co-founder of Mad Street Den
  • Kiran Karnik, former president of Nasscom, who is now associated with the India Innovation Fund 

To illustrate how things have been changing, they point to a handful of start-ups that are very different from what went before: Team Indus, which is trying to put a spacecraft on the moon; Ather Energy in the electric vehicle space; Freshdesk in the customer service space; Mapmygenome; and D.Lite and Greenlight Planet that sell solar LED lights.

On the challenges, Asokan talks about how she struggles with the bureaucracy and the “bro culture”. Panicker recalls the early days of Embrace, when it was hard to get people to join a start-up—it was seen as too risky and the notion of being compensated with stock options was alien.

But things are changing. Karnik says, there is money out there looking for breakthrough ideas. There is hope that if your idea is promising, you can raise money even before you have proof of concept ready.

India is also a good crucible for new ideas. Asokan talks about the low cost of experimenting in terms of the ability to experiment quickly with so few resources.

Coming Soon:   

In the next few days, we will bring you more on

  • How Indian start-ups are differentiating themselves
  • How big US companies with their deep pockets are changing the entrepreneurial landscape in India
  • How the new breed of entrepreneurs is different
  • What lessons can we learn from past experiences to make the future better  


Independence Day Special

Twenty five years ago, India was in turmoil and a closed economy. A new Prime Minister had taken over who kicked off painful reforms . As India move closer to Independence Day, we look at how our lives have changed since then.

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About the author

Nilofer D'Souza
Nilofer D'Souza


Whenever people ask me "what do you do for a living?" I always quip back saying, "what do I not do?" In my career as a journalist and now at internal communications, I've had the privilege of seeing both sides of the coin: an external and internal environment. I have also moved across various platforms like radio, print, television, the Internet and social media in both environments.

It's been an interesting journey as it has deepened my understanding of what works and how you can leverage the learnings in both to maximize your reach as a storyteller. Ultimately, as a communications professional, there’s no greater high than having your communication effort reach the right audience.

My favourite platform has always been radio, and it is here at Founding Fuel that I will anchor their podcast offering. I will work with the influential contributor network to build out distinctive world-class audio shows. I will also anchor my own show based from my perch in Bangalore.

I have an M.A. degree in audio-visual communication from COMMITS, a mass communication institute in Bangalore and a B.A. degree from Mount Carmel College in Psychology, English and Communicative English.

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