Journalists are not cheerleaders, should critically analyse the start-up ecosystem : Mihir Dalal on July 7 and 8, 2022

While India has at least 100 unicorns, journalists should not be cheerleaders but critically analyse the start-up ecosystem, said ace reporter and author Mihir Dalal in a lecture to ACJ-Bloomberg 2022-23 students.

“As a business journalist, your job is to identify which story is a bubble and which one is a bust”, he said in an interaction on July 7 and 8. Unicorns refer to those start-ups that are valued at $1 billion or more.

Dalal began the lecture by outlining what a start-up in today’s setup essentially means and talked about the significant affinity between the internet and start-ups in the 21st century. “The present and future of startup is going to be the internet”, Dalal said.

He spoke about the various stages of a start-up, how they raise money, their revenue models and how they measure performance. Dalal also gave practical advice on how to report on start-ups, and how to build sources at every level of the organisation. Further, he spoke about the significance of network effects for start-up platforms.

Dalal also elaborated on the role of venture capitalists and how venture funds function in the ecosystem of Indian startups. He pointed out how only about 10 percent of venture capitalists who have funded Indian start-ups have been able to return money to their investors.