India is one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world. The country is also ripe for disruption by savvy entrepreneurs who are willing to go the extra mile, given the following developments:
- Rapidly rising disposable incomes among India’s middle class
- Access to increasingly affordable smartphones–smartphone penetration increased from 13% in 2013 to 37% by the end of 2019
- Availability of high-speed mobile internet at just USD0.26/GB compared to USD12.37/GB in the US and USD9.89/GB in China
- A growing presence of investors that cumulatively invested USD14.5 billion in Indian startups in 2019
- Large population new to the internet
- Affordability and accessibility of high-speed mobile internet
- Prevalence of basic tech talent
- Lack of capital relative to the number of tech startups in the ecosystem
- Limited domestic enterprise software market means growth is limited in this typically highly scalable space and startups must target customers elsewhere from the onset
- Indian entrepreneurs’ copy-paste model from the US and China means markets become too competitive too quickly
Long perceived as a copycat market that appropriates ideas from the West, the Indian startup scene is reinventing itself by building exclusively for the next billion Indians who are joining the digital realm for the first time. The Indian startup ecosystem is taking its own shape of its own—one that is very different from the US and China—and is building new services for people who have leapfrogged several use cases. Many unique models have emerged that will redefine how Indians interact with technology over the years to come.
However, challenges do exist: a scarcity of high-quality talent and liquidity prevent the ecosystem from reaching its full potential. Some interesting spaces include financial services companies offering products taking advantage of the country’s new payments infrastructure, personal and enterprise mobility solutions, next-generation e-commerce, technology-based enablement of agent/broker networks, and user-generated content creation and consumption.
Promising startups to look out for
Fintech | Mumbai
Turtlemint makes it easy to understand and buy insurance. The company intends to “demystify” insurance by explaining the jargon in a simple way and providing smart tools to help users make the right choice. From search to purchase, the entire process can be completed online in just a few clicks! Turtlemint also has a team of friendly insurance advisors available on chat, phone, and in-person sessions to help users with purchase and claim services.
Edtech | Bangalore
Unacademy aims to build the world’s largest online knowledge repository for multi-lingual education. The platform uses technology to empower great educators and create a community of self-learners. Unacademy’s vision is to partner with the brightest minds and democratize education for everyone looking to learn.
Mobility | Bangalore
Bounce is India’s first smart mobility solution, with a mission to make daily commutes stress-free, time-saving, reliable, and convenient. With breakthrough technology that lets users access the bike with just an OTP, Bounce’s state-of-the-art Keyless bikes have not only done away with keys, but the whole process of renting a bike has just become devoid of any physical or human intervention.
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Disclaimer: all content within this startup ecosystem summary is written by and reflects the personal perspective of Pratik Poddar.