Ready with plan to lobby for Indian startups: IndiaTech CEO
IndiaTech’s top priority right now is to get easier listing norms for startups, says CEO Rameesh Kailasam
Bengaluru: After the exit of Sachin Bansal from Flipkart earlier this year, IndiaTech, the lobby group that was Bansal’s brainchild, is trying to kickstart operations by hiring staff and pursuing a three-point agenda with regulators.
Under its new chief executive officer (CEO) Rameesh Kailasam, IndiaTech has formulated an agenda that includes seeking a level-playing field for Indian startups, loosening of initial public offering (IPO) regulations and a differential voting structure that would protect the interests of Indian entrepreneurs against powerful investors. “Our top priority right now is to get easier listing norms for startups,” Kailasam said.
“We want to ensure that institutional investors get an opportunity to invest in the growth of Indian startups and, at the same time, give exits to the investors who funded the startups in the early years. We’re also asking regulators to ensure a level-playing filed for Indian startups and for entities incorporated in India. We’re not seeking preferential treatment. We’re just saying that entities that are not incorporated in India but who are doing business here should not be allowed to get better treatment.”
IndiaTech’s founding members are MakemyTrip, Ola and investment firm Steadview Capital. The lobby group was launched in September 2017, driven by the efforts led by Flipkart co-founder and former executive chairman Sachin Bansal. It aimed at representing the interests of Indian startups to fight international rivals in the market.
However, after the sale of Flipkart to American retail giant Walmart Inc. in May and the subsequent exit of Bansal, IndiaTech lost direction. Its first CEO Gyanendra Badgaiyan resigned earlier this year.
Now Kailasam, who joined in August, has been tasked with reviving and adding to Bansal’s agenda of promoting the interests of Indian entrepreneurs and startups.
Kailasam, who’s a reform and policy strategist, was until recently the acting managing director of public relations firm APCO Worldwide. He also had stints at IBM, Oracle and the Centre for Good Governance with the government of Andhra Pradesh.
IndiaTech will hire four to five full-time employees by the end of the year to help Kailasam with lobbying. The organization is also assessing and trying to attract other applications from startups, well-known entrepreneurs and investors.
“We’re still finalizing the criteria for signing up members but the overall objective is to represent Indian founders and startups,” Kailasam said.