How Nikesh Arora Stepping down will affect the Indian startup ecosystem

Nikesh Arora Steps down - Effects on Indian Startup Ecosystem

The news that Nikesh Arora has resigned as the President of SoftBank came in yesterday and ever since there has been a lot of debate on how exactly will his departure affect the startup ecosystem in India. While there appears to be a divide in terms of people who are saddened by the news and those who are neutral towards it.

PayTm Founder put it brilliantly in a tweet as to what he felt about the entire event:

“@nikesharora Why o why? That’s a big setback for Indian startup ecosystem. Best wishes and hoping even bigger impact next.”

That is only one part of it, though. There have been many who believe that the move would have been devastating had it happened a year ago. In the current scheme of things, it appears that the move doesn’t really matter. To add value to the claim talk about the fact that Softbank has invested little or rather no money in any startup in the year 2016.

Softbank is the same Venture Capital that invested around a billion dollars in the latter half of 2014 investing heavily in taxi aggregator Ola, real estate classified website in Housing and in India’s second-largest e-commerce firm, Snapdeal.

SoftBank has announced plans of investing another $10 billion in India, hence, his presence or absence might not really matter to Softbank or the startup ecosystem in general in India. Nikesh Arora has definitely given a push to the ecosystem by investing heavily but he has also been criticized by going too heavy in the early stages of the startups that were not even ready to handle that volume of funds.

While his exit might not affect the overall ecosystem, it might affect the investments that SoftBank makes next. In terms of the companies in their current portfolio, they aren’t worried, yet.

“SoftBank Chairman Son-san has already reached out expressing his support for, and we look forward to a similar, direct relationship with him as we continue to transform the business.”

Jason Kothari, CEO,

Nikesh Arora has been a great supporter and mentor to our business. Softbank will continue to provide financial and strategic support to our company and the transition at Softbank will have no impact on our business.

Kunal Bahl, Snapdeal

Nikesh Arora is such a great friend, guide and mentor to me personally. I am sure he will continue to be a source of support and inspiration to the Indian startup ecosystem. I look forward to engaging with him in his role as an advisor to SoftBank in the time ahead. SoftBank as an investor, has played a key role in Ola’s growth story and we will continue to leverage the vast network and expertise that they bring to us as partners, in our mission of building mobility for a billion Indians.

Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO and Co-Founder, Ola.

The confidence of the companies that are part of SoftBank’s portfolio speaks volumes about the companies as well as the reputation of the VC in general. Irrespective of what has been said, there is a lot that a change in the hierarchy can ruin or build. It will be very interesting to see where SoftBank and its investment in India go from here.

Keep a check on this space for more.


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