What if the past financial year had gone differently, and instead of a host of problems to deal with today, startups had plenty of reasons to celebrate? — Here’s a look at a ‘What If’ version of the Indian startup ecosystem
This is obviously a parody about Indian startups on April Fools’ Day. And no, we didn’t use ChatGPT to come up with this.
This is the best year we have ever had with record profits, but unfortunately, this has come through growth at all costs in some areas. As we focus on sustainable growth, we will have to shut many verticals that were ONLY adjusted-EBITDA positive and not actually profitable. But don’t worry, there will be no layoffs.
We are committing to a no-layoff policy even in this transition, and take full responsibility for the business decisions that went just slightly wrong. To make up for these mistakes, we are repaying the entire salary taken by the three cofounders last year, back into the company through a contingency fund to plan for the future.
This fund will ensure that even if we face some headwinds, our most valuable resource — the people — feel secure in their jobs.
As you know we sold our shares in secondary rounds to make millions last year — see our previous Slack message about it. And we are using all that wealth to retain our employees even as we cut some verticals.
Investors Bullish About Our Valuation
What also remains secure is our valuation. While all our projections have been on the mark, there is some investor pressure to do better. But instead of layoffs, we are giving up our comforts and perks.
As ever we have been transparent to the board and our shareholders, and made timely disclosures to the MCA for the separate fund.
Over the years, we have helped investors get huge returns on their investment and conviction in our startup, which should make all of us proud. Our technology edge has disrupted traditional players and customers have embraced our products faster than ever before.
Gunning For IPO
Now we are now set for our next phase. Within the next quarter, we will be ready for an IPO, and are in the process of getting all approvals from SEBI. Bankers are excited and investors love our diverse business model that is profitable almost across the board. Market sentiments have never been better.
The contingency fund — spread across multiple banks for our financial security — will also go towards repaying employees after the new one-time ESOP tax rule, and make the IPO worth everyone’s efforts.
We have always been a startup but as we become a publicly traded company, we need to bring in more responsibility in our operations and business. But we will never let our business decisions impact employees directly through layoffs and pay cuts.
The Best Time To Be An Indian Startup
This is already a long message, but we think this last bit is worth saying and bears listening:
Our hope is that what we have done today serves as a lesson to other startups even as the market is booming.
We have seen record hiring across all startups this year. There’s never been a better time to build globally from India and the ease of doing business has improved by 20 ranks last year.
The crypto space has boomed thanks to clarity from policymakers in the past year. And now we are making plans to use large language models such as ChatGPT in our product. A lot about our country excites us.
In fact, we had a very attractive term sheet from a US-based VCs, but turned it down as it would mean moving our HQ away from India. We want to be here because this is where consumers and businesses are paying real money to buy our products.
This is the best time to be a startup in India and we are so thrilled to have you all with us through this boom.
— From The Founders
We all know April Fools’ Day is one for pranks, satire, parodies and jokes. But we think a joke has been on us all year long, with startup founders straight up lying about revenue numbers, and banking on GMV and other vanity metrics. Which is to say, for some founders, every day is April 1.
Of course, a prank would be doubly insulting for those laid off in grim cutbacks at unicorns. And while we could dream up any number of parodies, they might not match up to the fanciful and very real business models that have crumbled in the past year.
But we still wanted to have some fun and push the envelope. So this April 1, here’s a glimpse at an alternate reality.
What if the past financial year had gone differently, and instead of a host of problems to deal with today, startups had plenty of reasons to celebrate?
And what better way to take a tour of this ‘What If?’ version of the Indian startup ecosystem than a company-wide Slack message from a typical founder of a profitable — and obviously fictional — unicorn.
Instead of IPOs being cancelled and delayed, what if we had dozens more publicly-listed tech cos, and instead of layoffs, employees for once enjoyed stability and got their share of the startup wealth creation.
Instead of grabbing headlines for the wrong reasons, startup founders turned into corporate governance role models. Of course, we know this didn’t happen, but it’s nice to think about what could have been.
We hope you enjoyed this brief peek in to this alternate reality for Indian startups. Happy April Fools’ Day