V Vaidyanathan, ManagingV Vaidyanathan, Managing Director and CEO of IDFC First Bank

Speaking at Moneycontrol Startup Conclave 2023, V Vaidyanathan, the Managing Director and CEO of IDFC First Bank, emphasized the evolving entrepreneurial landscape in India and the country’s transition from a land of job seekers to entrepreneurs. Vaidyanathan regarded the new generation of startup entrepreneurs as the driving force behind this significant shift, attributing their success to their adaptability in the digital era.

Addressing the recent challenges faced by startups due to a shortage of funding, Vaidyanathan offered an optimistic outlook. Referring to it as a ‘funding winter’, he expressed confidence that the startup ecosystem would persist despite a temporary slowdown in cash flow from venture capitalists. He highlighted India’s robust growth, young population, and overall comfort with the digital ecosystem as factors that would continue to support the startup landscape in the long term. Vaidyanathan further emphasized the value that startups and FinTechs bring to traditional workflows by modernizing them, stressing that the industry would ultimately thrive despite the funding constraints.

Furthermore, Vaidyanathan discussed a sweeping pan-industry trend wherein traditional businesses are transformed into new-age ecosystems. He explained that through integrating technology stacks, various startups are making traditional establishments, such as Kirana shops, digital and more efficient. Each step of the customer solicitation and data collection processes witnesses startups plugging themselves in to enhance the overall workflow. According to Vaidyanathan, this transformation epitomizes the synergy between traditional and modern enterprises.

Concluding his address, Vaidyanathan touched upon the challenges faced by startup founders, including the struggle to attract talent and achieve profitability when the brand is relatively unknown. He acknowledged the dilemma when founders are forced to choose between two unfavorable options. In such situations, he emphasized the importance of maintaining a grounded perspective and reminding oneself of the responsibility to attract talented individuals who can contribute to the startup’s growth. Vaidyanathan encouraged founders to consider the larger ecosystem and, at times, opt for the lesser of two evils, understanding the power of reputation in the long run.

By Sujata