Why startups are IITs playground?


Do you know, IITs create more entrepreneurs than IIMs? Around 200 IIM graduates take up entrepreneurship every year, while around 1,600 IIT students annually turn entrepreneurs. 50% of Economic Times’ Startups of the Year- 2014 have IITian founders.

The founders of FlipkartHousing, Zomato, Snapdeal, Druva (NASA is one of its clients) and are IITians. The awesome actor in this mentos advertisement who wears a watermelon as a helmet to escape the cops is an IITian. Arvind Kejriwal, a man who changed the way of politics in India is an IITian. IITians have even directed & produced movies! So the question now is pretty simple what separates them from the rest. Why did they decide to do something different while others didn’t?

Which engineering college in India boasts of the most successful startups

In a study by Thomson Reuters, out of a total of 478 founders and co-founders of funded start-ups, 228, 47% came from the IITs and IIMs. That’s a lot. Even for funded companies that is a lot.

Which universities do tech founders graduate from

Which universities do tech founders graduate from

Why More IITpreneurs?

Interestingly, IITs, which teach students to become engineers and scientists, end up becoming the breeding ground for fledging start-ups in a stark contrast to IIMs where students learn how to manage a business.

“Management institutes are for managing businesses not for generating businesses. Engineers are supposed to innovate and make products. They know how to take risks, whereas IIM graduates don’t know how to take a risk, they are only taught how to analyze and then take a calculated risk,” says Mahesh Gupta, Chairman, Kent RO, who graduated from IIT Kanpur in 1975.

Being a high-risk profession, entrepreneurship goes well with IIT students. Right after the studies or within a few years of professional life, they have nothing to lose as they have fewer chances of having to pay back huge bank loans as compared to IIM students. So, this reduces the risk-taking appetite among IIM students.

Incubation Centers

Inside of Technology-Business-Incubator-IIT-Delhi

Inside of Technology-Business-Incubator-IIT-Delhi

Startup incubators
are a growing trend and a great thrust to support first-time entrepreneurs across India. Most of the IITs have incubation centers of their own, where a seeding idea, an entrepreneur mind is nurtured.  Moreover, Big Accelerators and Incubation programmes like Microsoft Accelerator and 500 Startups are looking to support startups provided you have that IIT brand on your back. For others, it’s a bit difficult to convince them.



Investors’ Favourite

Traditionally, investors, particularly VCs, who invest in growing businesses, have themselves been mostly from IITs. If not, the money, entrepreneurs believe that having an IIT tag will at least fetch them one round of meeting with investors.

Why is it that nearly 50% of funded companies have founders from top colleges? Is it a selection bias – given that over 60% of investors (VC’s) are from IITs and IIMs?

Job does not make you rich, it just makes you money

If you want to be wealthy, at some moment of your life, you will have to create a source of income other than your salary. This is an evident and crushing reality. In his book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” Robert Kiyosaki said that the rich do not work for money; they generate assets that work for them. If you want to learn how to work for money, go to school. If you want to learn how to work even harder, you should get an MBA.

An entrepreneur is the next cool

Another issue is what is perceived to be successful on campus. In the final year, getting a high paying job in an investment bank or a consulting company or getting through the IIMs is seen as cool. Starting or joining a startup is seen more like a desperate move to save one’s career. Everyone on the campus. therefore, wants to be seen as doing something cool.
Start-ups are designed to fail. Successful startups are just an exception to the rule. Only the person who has that ‘idea’, who feels confident to take risks, has the brand value to get the heads turning and have a backing of a strong alumni base at his back can afford to take a risk.


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