AAP, an Indian e-com startup

There have been multitude of blog posts/tweets comparing AAP to a startup. I am not sure about the comparison in general but there are eerie similarities between AAP and the Indian e-commerce(e-com) startups of the yesteryear.

1. A lot of Indian e-com startups where founded by IITians and just this IIT tag was used by them to secure irrational funding. AAP supporters do not shy away from touting Arvind Kejriwal(Ak)’s IIT credential.

2. Majority of Indian e-com startups secured funding from foreign VCs. Recently, there have been allegations that this was a way for foreign players to gain foothold in the Indian retail scene which was insulated from FDI. AK is alleged to have got financial boost from Ford Foundation. Questions have been raised by rival political parties around this.

3. Indian e-com stood on the shoulders of urban middle class for it’s growth. AAP’s core supporters tend to be from this demography.

4. There have been claims of Indian e-com founders raking in exorbitant salaries/benefits. AAP’s SUV cavalcade bears some resemblance.

5. Indian e-com was the darling child of everyone a few years back. As of today, AAP is the poster child of Indian/international media.

6. People who called the bluff on Indian e-com a few years back were ridiculed. The same treatment is meted out today to anyone who does not believe that AK is the second coming of Jesus Christ.

7. There have been some nasty internal feuds in Indian e-com and AAP is not left behind in this.

8. The most poignant of all, Indian e-com propelled itself with freebies(free delivery, discounts, selling below MRP, buy today pay later, etc etc). AAP rode to power with free/low priced electricity and water(There might be more freebies, I have not read their manifesto).

Indian e-com companies which defied the basic laws of economics have been either forced to shutdown or secure more rounds of funding or to course correct their former splurging ways. In the case of AAP, it is the tax paying, law abiding citizen who will have to bear the burnt of their irrational populism. Indian e-com made a fool out of it’s investors, AAP is making a fool out of the gullible Indian citizens.

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