Startups, VCs in India request ‘relief package’ from the government to fight coronavirus disruption

More than six dozen startup founders, venture capitalists and lobby groups in India have requested the government to grant them a “robust relief package” to help combat severe disruptions their businesses face due to the coronavirus outbreak.  startups requested the government to bankroll 50% of their workforce’s salaries for six months, provide interest-free loans from banks, waive rent for three months and offer tax benefits among other things. Among those who have signed the letter include Mohit Bhatnagar,  a managing director at Sequoia Capital,  which is in advanced stages to close a fresh $1.3 billion fund for India and Southeast Asia, Gaurav Agarwal of online medicine store 1mg, Debjani Ghosh of industry body Nasscom, Karthik Reddy of Blume Ventures, Anand Lunia of India Quotient, Deepinder Goyal of Zomato, and Sriharsha Majety of Swiggy. Some prominent startup founders and VCs including Vijay Shekhar Sharma  of Paytm, and Ritesh Agarwal of Oyo, have also held a meeting with Piyush Goyal, the commerce minister in India, for a similar relief. The request for bailout comes amid a national lockdown in India that has disrupted countless businesses. New Delhi ordered a 21-day lockdown last month in a bid to curtail the spread of Covid-19. Many investors will move away from thinking about ‘growth at all costs’ to ‘reasonable growth with a path to profitability.’ Adjust your business plan and messaging accordingly,” they said. Companies asking for a bailout is not limited to India. Oil giants have sought similar help from the U.S. President Donald Trump — and VCs and startups are beginning to explore their options. Brent Hoberman, chairman and co-founder of Founders Factory and Firstminute Capital, urged the UK government to provide some relief to startups last month. But the government has yet to do much about it, just ask Deliveroo -Graphcore and other big UK startups .

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