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[Tuning In] Tanul Mishra gives her lens on the startup ecosystem in India

Written by Taro Ishida Published on 

Mishra is the founder and CEO of Afthonia, an incubator for fintech startups.

Tanul Mishra is the founder and CEO of Afthonia. She leads Afthonia’s vision to handhold early-stage fintech startups as they traverse the Indian financial industry, helping them to incubate their ideas and accelerate their innovations. She also co-founded Eatelish, a food service that bridges artisan food makers across India with consumers.

Tanul is also an active member of the startup community in India, and had spoken in events for Google Business Group, Robinhood, and education institutions.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Kr: Give us a bit of insight into your background and how you came up with the idea of Afthonia Lab.

Tanul Mishra (TM): In 2012, I started a food-based startup, Eatopia, with my co-founder Shipra, and exited it in 2019. And at that point in time, I realized that India lacked a structured environment for entrepreneurs to grow their business, reach out to the right network, and scale faster. This is because many of them are first time entrepreneurs, and the average age is also going down.

Hence, Afthonia Lab was created with the vision of acting as an incubator for these startups, not only focusing on bringing them capital, but also mentorship to help them scale globally. There are a lot of founders that have come straight out of college, but also, some of them have a few years of corporate or startup work experience, so we have a healthy mix.

Kr: What’s the situation of the fintech sector in India?

TM: India has just started entering the space of fintech, and the scope is not just in urban areas, but also rural spaces in tier one and two cities. We’re poised for growth right now, and we’re just getting started. I believe that when you create a solution in India, this solution can be implemented globally. This is because our huge population size has accounted for all the different behaviors that could be exhibited by consumers, as well as businesses.

Kr: Who is responsible for this growth in the wider startup ecosystem in India?

TM: India has the third-largest number of startups, and this is spread across sectors. There’s buying power, youths, and there’s also the middle-aged population.

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