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Startup Country Guide: India

With a growing presence of investors that cumulatively invested USD 14.5 billion in Indian startups in 2019, India is ripe for disruption by savvy entrepreneurs who are willing to go the extra mile.

Edited by Pratik Poddar, principal at Nexus Venture Partners

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:

Ecosystem Summary

Differentiators

  • Large population new to the internet
  • Affordability and accessibility of high-speed mobile internet
  • Prevalence of basic tech talent

Challenges

  • 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

Country Outlook 

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

Turtlemint

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.

Unacademy

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.

Bounce

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.

Are you interested in learning more about this startup ecosystem? Check out the full Startup Universal Country Guide. For additional questions or to become a contributor and showcase your own ecosystem, connect with Startup Universal on Twitter (@supuniversal) or reach out over email (hello@startupuniversal.com).

This piece was produced in collaboration with our content partner Startup Universal, a platform that covers global startups, with over 25 detailed country guides and news from over 100 countries. 

Disclaimer: all content within this startup ecosystem summary is written by and reflects the personal perspective of Pratik Poddar.