Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal (Print ISSN: 1087-9595; Online ISSN: 1528-2686)


Emerging Leadership Issues in the Landscape of Unicorns and Soonicorns

Author(s): Aparna Mendiratta, Rajat Mendiratta and Varun Chotia

The study aimed at understanding and comparing the dynamic HR challenges and practices prevailing in the Indian e-commerce start-ups categorized as Unicorns (a start-up with a valuation of $1 billion) and Soonicorns (a start-up that is set to become a Unicorn). The paper also aims at developing a model highlighting the leadership styles adopted by the startups vis-àvis their urge for expanding the market share and sticking on the strategic intent. The study comprised a series of Focused Interviews of leaders of selected start-ups. In the case of Unicorns, the study was successful in ascertaining that the EE factor i.e. ‘Employee Engagement’ was one of the most important challenge faced by the start-up employee’s and one of the most critical drive through which it is being catered by the leaders is enriching and augmenting the employee experience through varied. The second most important aspect on which the leaders seemed to be focusing was the issue of ‘Inclusion and Individuality’. The study has also been successful in suggesting a leadership adaption model, which would help the startup leaders to decide their leadership style. The study will further help in understanding the best practices in leadership with regard to managing the talent issues in start-ups.

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