“Can India produce a Google?”

This question inevitably comes up during chats and discussions in the Indian startup ecosystem. There have been heated heated NDTV Why India has failed to create tech giants like Google, Apple, and Facebook Read more debates debates Tech Story When Will India Create Tech Giants Like Google, Apple, Tesla Or Facebook? Read more and and Quora Why is India not able to produce a Google, Apple, or Microsoft? Read more deep deep The Rodin Hoods 5 Reasons why India is unable to produce the next Google, Facebook or Alibaba Read more soul-searching soul-searching The Indian Express Can India create the next Google? Read more exercises parsing the “why” and “what” of this question—it is a quest that is driven as much by our ambition to stand toe-to-toe with global exemplars as it is by our need for validation from foreign shores.

But in a sense, it is the wrong question to ask.

Measuring our startups against Silicon Valley behemoths is incongruous because these giants are the end result of more than 50 years of technology innovation and leadership. Our fledgeling entities and ecosystems are of a far younger vintage.

This desire is understandable, but instead of looking at companies that are already huge, it might make sense to look at younger startups. Ones that are at a much earlier stage in the startup lifecycle but are also “hot” in the sense that they are upcoming companies seen as next-gen leaders.

The question is if India can produce such companies.

While there are many companies across many genres that are “hot”, a good candidate to start with is a startup rather fittingly named Superhuman.com.

Founded in 2014 by Rahul Vohra, Conrad Irwin, and Vivek Sodera, Superhuman is an email application similar to Microsoft Outlook or Gmail. On the face of it, it might sound unoriginal and unexciting, but the company is widely regarded as a breakthrough startup. The Information recently ranked ranked The Information The Information 50 Most Promising Startups Read more it as the fourth-most promising consumer app in the world, and it has raised $51 million in funding from marquee investors such as Andreessen Horowitz.

AUTHOR

Sumanth Raghavendra

Sumanth is a serial entrepreneur with more than eighteen years experience in running startups. He is currently the founder of Deck App Technologies, a Bangalore-based startup attempting to re-imagine productivity software for the Post-PC era. Sumanth’s columns appear regularly in leading publications. He holds MBA degrees from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management, USA.

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