No it isn’t lack of capital or lack of role models or lack of infrastructure or too many accelerators or too much of fokat gyan. Nope. Wrong. These are too first world problems. The biggest challenge Indian startups are facing is the nemesis of prospective in-laws. Nemesis of doting parents and their self-inflicting concern for you to have a job and a wife as the single channel of nirvana that a human being can possibly have. Whether the job is shitty-rewriting-someone-else’s-code-bitching-at-watercooler-making-snore-worthy-ppts-spending-rest-of-day-bitching-about-job-how-you-will-quit-to-startup-someday job, it doesn’t matter.
I mean, what were you really thinking. Really. What were your chances. First, you have to survive one of the most outdated education systems that there is. You are already like 23-24. You are expected to marry and settle down by 27. So, that leaves you with 3-4 years to
- Figure out life and its nuances, after slogging through first 23-24 years
- Figure out what you will like to do for next 5 years (which is ~13% of your work life)
- Get a job (Oh ya!) and do well
- Get a girl
- Get married
- In between, if you get time, get an MBA & fool around or get an MS & fool around or get a PhD and die.
Or if you are insane like I am, then you will startup, two years into the grind. Not the brightest idea, especially if you are from IIT. World expects you to be some millionaire by now. 3 years is like the litmus test of survival for any startup. And that’s when you are expected to marry. Well, a broke founder(ok, not really broke. Yet) of a crazy idea isn’t a hot selling product, after all. Is this bad? Na na. It gets worse. Most likely, at this stage, your idea is hardly understood by anyone. Mostly, they will be other founders and few angels (if you are lucky). Your parents won’t get it. And your ex will be happy cuddling to her new found job-wala-guy, thanking her stars for breaking up. But your parents want you to get married, so that you become more “responsible” as you are not responsible enough by leaving a well-paying job and not thinking of taking up a job and doing the mainstream stuff. And here is when you are introduced to random folks, carefully curated from the greatest Indian-web-tech-innovation matrimony sites.
Next moment you are pitching yourself to girl’s mama, chacha, jija, dudhwala or anyone remotely educated, that your prospective in-laws can get their hands on, to pass judgments on you, your idea and your startup’s potential.
Nothing is more emasculating than this. Nothing. Yep, you will be judged by the prospective in-laws in-house expert, who has a shitty-rewriting-someone-else’s-code-bitching-at-watercooler-making-snore-worthy-ppts-spending-rest-of-day-bitching-about-job-how-you-will-quit-to-startup-someday job. To make matters even worse, in most likelihood, you will be rejected, firming your parents opinion that startups are shit, you are irresponsible, IIT has screwed up your head, no one will marry you, job is the path to attain moksha, job is what chicks dig for, job is what makes iron man, iron man. Ok, not the iron man bit. But ya, you get the drift.
And this repeats. It’s an in-efficient carnot cycle, the one I call “in-laws carnot cycle” where the maximum temperature is based on your stubbornness(your will) and parents decide the sink temperature, while all sort of prospective in-laws suck up all the work. This goes on and on, till something gives away. Mostly, your will, because you are responsible towards your parents after all, whether or not they believe it. And another startup bites the dust.
If you are still reading this and are a girl. Don’t let this happen and marry a founder. Trust your instincts, your guts and choose the right person. Trust me, you won’t find more passionate, intelligent guys anywhere else. They will try to solve problems and not aggravate them. They will be pleased with even slightest bit of pampering, as they have never been pampered. And most of all, they will be extremely loyal. They are loyal to one idea, remember. Only catch being, be a little patient with finances. Educate your parents. If there is anything that India needs, its more startups. We are a growing economy and have shit loads of huge problems to solve. Else, you will be sending your kids to Dhirubhai Ambani school instead of having the chance of owning the school.
And yes, I am single and willing to marry someone, who believes in entrepreneurship. Help me, find a real life partner, lest another startup will bite the dust. Spread the word about me. Save me and my startup, if you know what I mean.
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