SoftBank will offer financial and strategic support to a new lobby group – Indiatech – for Indian internet startups to fight foreign rivals, according to The Times of India.
The development is important for the Indian startup ecosystem as SoftBank has made significant investments in Indian internet companies such as Flipkart, Ola, Oyo Rooms, Paytm, Grofers and Snapdeal among others; and they are involved in a close battle with global counterparts like Amazon and Uber.
“SoftBank is one of the several other investors including Matrix and Kalaari in Indian internet businesses such as Ola, Flipkart and Hike, which is supporting Indiatech. Our intent is to work with the government to support the development of the rapidly evolving internet ecosystem in the country and we hope the organisation would facilitate this,” the spokesperson said in her statement.
Led by Sachin Bansal, Indiatechorg is a non-profit entity. The organization aims to become the Nasscom for the startup space and help companies to lobby for policy support with the government and other stakeholders.
Ola, Flipkart, Quikr, MakeMyTrip and Hike are the part of outfit’s executive committee, along with many other startups.
Last year, Bansal and Aggarwal iterated on multiple occasions about measures required to be taken to safeguard the interest of home-grown startups against foreign players. Both are locked in intense battles for market share with the Indian subsidiary of US-based heavy-weights – Amazon and Uber, respectively
“SoftBank has got the highest stakes in all these major companies, so it has decided to back the association as their portfolio companies have major foreign rivals, especially Amazon. Much like the big startups relying on SoftBank in India, the association will see significant assistance from SoftBank,” a person directly aware of the development said talking to TOI.
However, the foreign rivals have refuted any such narrative, claiming they are incorporated in India and are as much of an ‘Indian’ company as others.