Let’s Celebrate Failure – An Open Letter To Indian Startups, Entrepreneurs, VCs & Startup Employees

Source | INC42 : By Bhavin Turakhia

Hi Folks,

Over the last few weeks, there has been consistent bad press around a few startups in India concerning lay-offs, (ref. TinyOwl, Zomato,, Vizury), bad decisions, hostage situations (ref. TinyOwl) and more. The general air has been negative and I had to pen down my thoughts, as someone who belongs to this community. I am disheartened by the negativity and I want to provide some perspective.

I was motivated to write this post after witnessing a general level of negativity over the last few weeks with comments like “This is what you get when you join a startup” and “The whole country is crashing.” etc. doing the rounds. Here are my opinions, perspectives, advice and candid two cents in no particular order for entrepreneurs, employees and VCs:

There Is No Such Thing As Failure

  • One of the most important reasons why the valley has been so successful in creating some of the greatest tech companies in the world is that culturally the valley recognizes failure as a stepping stone to success. You will find literally hundreds of entrepreneurs who have had failure after failure and continue to pursue the next idea and continue to receive funding interest.
  • Valley VCs know that someone who has failed on various occasions actually carries with them valuable lessons reducing the risk of failing at a subsequent venture.

I love how the Valley infact has re-defined failure. They don’t even call it that. They call it a “PIVOT”. Now isn’t that a mighty word? No one ever fails. You simply pivot ? The perfect case in point is the Pinterest story(Check) which was founded during the recession, survived early failures and developed as a company for the long-run.

Let’s Get Some Perspective On The Failure Rate

  • Over 95% of startups are expected to fail. In fact I think we are doing considerably better in India at least as far as valuations go for the time being.
  • Here are some stats about Y-Combinator – one of the most successful startup accelerators. Their acceptance rate is about 3 to 5%. Within the ones that do get accepted the odds of success are 10%. (Read more here)
  • General industry thumb rules point to the fact that 1 or 2 in 10 startups eventually succeed. Most fail or remain mediocre.

Read on…

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