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As NASSCOM 10,000 start-ups presents the second edition of India Fintech Day (#FintechIn5), the themes for this year's event clearly highlight that Fintech is no more a new phenomenon. In fact, we are no longer just talking about digital payments, which was every coffee table's discussion last year, particularly after demonetization. We are now in the new era of technological disruption, which even goes beyond SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, cloud) to spread out to artificial intelligence, blockchain, regtech, alternate lending and a lot more. Do attend the event, but if you are not able to, download this 4-pager document on Fintech Landscape as covered in NASSCOM Strategic Review FY 2017, to get the key highlights. 


(P.S - this is part of a paid report, and we are giving out for free, don't miss it)


Also, don't forget to follow #FintechIn5 on twitter for event updates and insights!

..............Excerpts from Strategic Review 2017: Software Products & Start-ups. Download the full report for insights on the India market from here

The structural shift from an on-premise to cloud is imminent, with public cloud growing 7.6X the growth of on-premise (Source: IDC). It is all market-driven and revolves around the growing need to save cost and build efficiencies. Amazon forayed into the market back in the times when larger players were not willing to accept this development.
Nevertheless, even the larger players now are investing in this space.

Oracle’s India Cloud Growth

  • Flexibility, cost, agility, innovation and time-to-market are driving Oracle’s cloud growth in India
  • From an enterprise focused mind-set to catering to largely-untapped small and mid-market customers
  • 50% business coming from new customers - Ola, Makemytrip, Jabong, PVR Cinemas, and Bookmyshow
  • Launched the company’s first “Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator” in Bengaluru
  • More centers to open in the future in Chennai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Noida, Pune, Trivandrum and Vijayawada
  • Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator to provide the following:

Structured mentoring

State-of-the-art technology

Co-working space

Access to Oracle customers and partners

Access to investors

Free credits on Oracle Cloud

For more such case studies and insights, click here to download NASSCOM's flagship report on software products and start-ups.

Flurry Analytics’ release of its ‘State of the App Nation in India’ report revives the conversation around Indian consumer’s appetite for apps. As an Indian, I can explicitly say that we as a nation are enthusiastic and experimental, when it comes to apps. We have always been open about social networking, gaming and entertainment apps. As for payments apps, lot of people had their reservations, but demonetisation was the required nudge to bring even the most reluctant to transact online.


As per Flurry Analytics, India app usage growth was 4X that of global growth (India - 43%; global – 11%). That’s a believable figure. App market is witnessing maturity in the western markets, real growth is meant to be driven by Asian countries, particularly India. With the internet traversing the nook and corners of the country (currently 375+ million Internet users), and the rising smartphone penetration (which is still less than 30%), one can imagine the kind of growth that is expected to come.


As per App Annie, in 2016, India had the highest total time spent on Android apps, and the highest downloads from Google Play.

App Market, Google Play

The country is on a growth path – India’s app revenue is expected to witness a 67% CAGR 2015-2020 - highest globally. While messaging and social apps continue to remain the most popular and engaging, higher growths are likely to come from music, media, and entertainment (witnessed 188% growth in usage in 2016) due to the advent of the likes of Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Saavn, and many more. Well, I hardly watch TV, so I can totally vouch for this! The next fastest growing segment as rightly highlighted by Flurry Analytics are the business and finance apps (witnessed 188% growth in usage in 2016).


As for Internet and Telecom, Jio has already revolutionised the data space with offers and freebies. This follows Vodafone-Idea merger, and Airtel acquiring Tikona’s 4G business. This along with government’s NOFN, free wifis, and the emerging concepts of Digital Village will take Internet to the hinterlands of India, further triggering increased usage of apps.


App Economy is briefly touched upon in NASSCOM’s flagship report - 'The IT-BPM Sector in India: Strategic Review 2017'. Refer to the attached file, and to download the full report, click here.


Happy reading!


Next article to follow - Internet Economy in India!


itsr2017 digitalindia appeconomy

Inside the boardroom of NASSCOM headquarters, takes place a serious brainstorming.

Participants - NASSCOM Products Team, NASSCOM Industry Research Team, and Zinnov (our process partner). A total of ~500 companies being screened and scrutinized on more than 30 business and technology parameters. Since I was already working on the Start-up Report - 2016 Edition - it became intriguing for me to draw synergies between our report and the EMERGE 50 Analysis. Some of the key findings are given below:


Tier 1 cities harbor maximum software product companies - tier 2,3 steadily making their visibility

Although Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad occupied more that 70% of the total application pool, companies from tier 2 cities were also becoming noticeable. Jaipur, Indore, Kochi, Coimbatore, Visag, Trivandrum, Amritsar, and Chandigarh - together accounting for 6% of the application pool. With >13 states having already established start-up policy frameworks, this number is bound to rise in the next couple of years.


B2B businesses are becoming prominent in India

65% of the applicants offered B2B solutions. In a country with 1.3 billion customers, with huge scope and opportunities for B2C companies, B2B software product firms are also making their presence felt - most of them catering to both Indian and global clients. B2B product start-ups (as per our start-up report) occupied 1/4th of the total start-up funding and their funding went up by 18-22% YoY.


Big data/analytics, cloud, and enterprise solutions are the most popular, IoT catching up fast

Of the top 50 companies recognized and awarded at the NPC, ~50% of the companies offered analytics solutions. 20% of them offered IoT solutions - in the HealthTech, CleanTech, EnergyTech, and Robotics. Top technologies as per our start-up report would be Big Data/Analytics, Cloud, IoT, ML/AI (~750 start-ups in India).


Product companies are exploring global markets

>80% of the total applicants had some form of global focus, highlighting that global scaling is on the top of their mind, prompting them to create world-class software products.


Finally, I will leave you with the list of the top 10 companies recognized by EMERGE 50 Awards.

Company Name
AVR EdGE Networks Pvt. Ltd.BangaloreHIREalchemyHIREalchemy is an end-to-end AI driven solution for workforce transformation
Cardiac Design LabsBangaloreMIRCaMMIRCaM is a single front line device for advanced cardiac diagnosis with intelligence which provides real time analysis and generates instant alarms on detection of problems informing a doctor ahead of time, thereby enhancing patient care and safety.
Ducere Technologies Pvt. Ltd.HyderabadLechal FootwearLechal is the one of the world’s first interactive haptic footwear - that helps in navigation and monitors fitness
Hansel.ioBangaloreHansel.ioA toolkit for software developers which allows them to fix crashes and dynamically communicate with users
iFuture RoboticsBangaloreArk RobotBuilds technology inspection systems (mobile robots) for small scale manufacturing industries
Indix Internet India Private LimitedChennaiIndix APIIndix Product API provides RESTful, programmatic access to offers and catalog information, and easily integrates with ecommerce platforms, business systems, and product information management systems.
LogicLadder TechnologiesGurgaonEnergyLogicIQEnergyLogicIQ makes energy data simple to acquire, understand and act upon. Using machine learning technology that turns facilities into conscious facilities that learn from and respond to every energy wastage.
Oslabs Technology (India) Pvt. Ltd.MumbaiIndus OSIndus OS is the world's first regional operating system made for smartphones in India & other emerging markets
Razorpay Software Private LimitedBangaloreRazorpay ServicesOffers developer-friendly APIs and hassle-free integration for fast, affordable, and secure way for merchants, schools, ecommerce, and other companies to accept payments online
SirionLabsGurgaonSirionA SaaS platform that helps technology buyers and sellers effectively manage costs and risks associated with complex service agreements


As you can see, Indian software product companies and tech start-ups are beginning to offer sophisticated technologies and platforms, foraying both locally and globally. Do share your thoughts today on how can these companies scale fast and sustainably.

For years together, NASSCOM Product Conclave has been the breeding ground for ideas and collaboration, bringing together various stakeholders of the technology product ecosystem. From the last couple of years, NPC has shown a strong focus towards start-ups and innovation. In line with this focus, and the rising interconnectivity with other global ecosystems, one of the sessions at NPC focused around the ‘French Tech Ecosystem and Initiatives’. Being a technology analyst and an ardent follower of the Indian tech start-up landscape, I got intrigued enough to attend the session.

Some of my learnings of the French landscape:Picture3.pngSome of the points to think over:

  • Although India stands 3rd globally in the number of start-ups, we have 140+ incubators/accelerators in India – less than France. Given India’s scale and growth, is this enough?
  • The investments by French govt. is 4.5 times what is promised under India’s Start-up India and Stand-up Policies. Again, is this enough?
  • Maximum applications to French Tech Ticket flowing in from India – could mean many things – Indian entrepreneurs looking for global markets because A) they find it hard to start-up in India or B) they are late entrants in categories which are already mature in India like eCommerce. Whatever the reason, is there a scope and possibility to make Indian start-up environment even more conducive to retain talent and companies, and by conducive I mean technologically, environmentally, and socially?

Our start-up ecosystem is maturing like never before, but we continue to need more impetus and push from various stakeholders of the ecosystem – impetus in the form of funding, structured mentoring, and ease of doing business in India. With the hope that the French start-up ecosystem makes its mark globally and flourishes as one of the key hubs in Europe, I also bring to notice that India can’t become complacent on any front – we should continue being aggressive and take the imperative of becoming the ‘Silicon Valley of the East’. Can we?

Guest Speech by Shri Talleen Kumar, Principal Secretary, Information Technology & Electronics Department, Government of West Bengal

Highlighted that technological disruption is on the way. New age technologies such as SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, cloud), artificial intelligence, IoT, etc. will take a clear precedence over other technologies.


Keynote Speech by C P Gurnani, Chairman, Nasscom, and CEO, Tech Mahindra

Gave an enthralling speech, corroborating Shri Talleen Kumar’s highlights on technological disruption. Indicated that India gives us the scale to do our businesses. We make good products, and bring forth great ideas, but we only fall behind in sales and marketing. Nevertheless, India is undergoing a paradigm shift. Every business is being re-written, and no one can stop this disruption. Every 10-20 years, 40 percent of the top 100 companies die out, only because they waited long enough to react. Question is ’Are we reacting to this change? Or, are we participating in this change?’ The answer to this question will determine the likelihood of success. He emphasized that Nasscom will be there to facilitate this change, but the onus is on companies to re-imagine their entire tech businesses, in order to stay ahead.


Chat Session on ’IT growth in Kolkata’

An open discussion on key elements challenging IT growth in Kolkata. 4 key challenges were discussed:

  • Overall perception of Kolkata
  • Problems around efficiency
  • Shortage of manpower (IT-skilled)
  • Government Policies

It was also highlighted that for the Kolkata campuses and branches to flourish and attract talent across the country, it is pertinent for leadership teams to be based out of Kolkata itself. Their presence helps in growth of the campuses, and instill more confidence. When asked about Nasscom’s imperatives to promote IT growth in Kolkata, the panel clearly highlighted Nasscom’s continuous endeavour in bringing out a positive image of Kolkata.


Workshop 1: Robotics and its value proposition to industry by Kavi Arya, Associate Professor, IIT-Bombay

A truly intellectual session that makes you feel proud of India’s premier institute – IIT.

Kavi Arya was there to make a value proposition which was quite simple. The ICT landscape is changing – hardware/software costs are coming down – significant breakthroughs in cognitive computing – embedded systems getting inter-connected (IoT – smart homes, smart cities, smart grids), so on and so forth, creates huge opportunity for innovation and entrepreneurship. India definitely has the talent, but the question is how we capitalize that talent. The answer was simple – by the e-Yantra initiative.

e-Yantra: An initiative by IIT-Bombay that aims to create the next generation of embedded systems engineers with a practical outlook to help provide practical solutions to some of the real world problems. Its components:

  • eLSI: eYantra lab set-up initiative, where IIT-Bombay helps set-up eYantra lab infrastructure within other colleges.
  • eYRDC: eYantra resource development center, is a portal developed for eLSI colleges, through which content and resources are shared, to enable them establish their eYantra facilities effectively.
  • eIP: eYantra innovation and entrepreneurship, incubating winning ideas from innovation workshops, and ideas competition.
  • eYS: eYantra symposium, engagement through eYantra Ideas Competition (eYIS)
  • eYRS: eYantra robotics competition, an annual competition for undergrad students in science and engineering colleges. Selected teams are provided with robotics kits and tutorials to provide basic knowledge of embedded systems and microcontroller programming. The winners of the contest are provided summer internship at IIT-Bombay.

eYantra is growing exponentially. The registrations for the robotics competition is coming from PAN-India. Given below is the eYRC 2015 reach (just see the crowded red dots!!):


…. And so is the distribution of e-Yantra labs. A total of 152 labs already established, and 118 in pipeline.

Mr. Arya’s message was loud and clear, ‘Give us real-life problems, be it related to urban services (waste segregation, cargo sorting, fire-fighting); urban farming (fertilizing, weeding); smart services (recyclable waste management, gas leakage detection robot), and many more, we will find you a solution.’

Mr. Arya and his team is developing the backbone of the supply-side of robotics and automation. The demand-side is now expected to come forward and help complete the supply-demand loop, helping commercialize the ‘WOW’ technologies.


Workshop 2: How we got 80 million app downloads! By Alok Kejriwal, Co-Founder & CEO, Games2win India Pvt Ltd

A highly engaging session, and I, personally, was bowled over. Alok Kejriwal - a typical cool Mumbaikar standing amidst the intellectual Kolkata crowd – trying to put forward a perspective that we had never thought of before. Now businesses are supposed to be serious, right? When you enter a workshop that is going to tell you how to get multiple downloads for your gaming apps, you chose to believe that some serious discussion on KPIs, numbers, and standards are underway. To my surprise, and great delight, he came up with a simple message for the success of gaming apps:

‘The seven deadly sins - Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Pride. All human beings are inflicted with these sins (although some may choose to believe they are not!). A gaming app should be able to capitalize on these 7 deadly sins.’

What you can’t do in real life, make a game that enables you to do that. No wonder combat games get so many downloads because they capitalize on wrath. Games that temporarily makes you a detective, also temporarily boasts your pride. Isn’t that an ingenious idea!


Examples and cases went on and on, leaving the crowd completely agog and inspired at the same time.


I do hope somebody writes a post on the other sessions that I missed!! All-in-all, I went back home highly inspired. Thanks Kolkata team for putting together a great show.

There are 2 things that prompted me to write this blog today – 1) Some amazing findings published by Tracxn on the food tech start-up industry, which gave me some ‘FOOD’ for thought, and 2) my very own life saving experience with one of the food ordering platforms.

Hungry as hell, I could only muster up my energy to write this after the company delivered some mouth-watering food.

Digressions aside, some of my key understandings from Tracxn’s Report on the global food-tech market, are as follows:


Number of companies founded: The number of food tech companies founded, have grown from 155 in 2010 to 569 in 2015, a whooping CAGR of 30 percent. If I extrapolate this growth to 2016, 700-750 companies should ideally get incorporated in this year. However, only 45 companies have been founded so far (just ~6 per cent of the expected number). Now, 2016 is otherwise estimated to have a lower number, because after 5 years of solid growth, the number of companies does not matter as much as the overall sustainability and maturity of these companies. But what is bothersome for me is that the number is too low from a global perspective.

Does this mean people are running out of ideas, OR are facing challenges in establishing themselves, OR are unable to get seed funded? This takes me to the next point on funding.


Funding Scenario: Overall funding looks promising in 2016, since H1 numbers for the year has already surpassed 2014’s total funding. Now, 77 per cent of this has come from late stage funding, which has steadily risen its share from 40 per cent in 2011. With huge chunk of late stage funding, start-ups at early/ideation stage seem to have been deprived, which could be one of the reasons for so few companies being founded. What is the panacea for this? The industry clearly needs angel investors, and more so, crowd funding. A conscious effort has to be made to engage start-ups with crowd-funding organizations at incubators/accelerators, national events etc. Even the crowd-funding sites, which are currently available, need to be well organized, so that investors can easily navigate from company to company, read their profiles, understand terms and conditions, and then contribute accordingly. If the amount being contributed is significant, a scheduled meet-up could be arranged, for a personalization. (Now, there’s an idea!) The other reason for lower funding at initial stages could be the presence of too many ‘Me-too’ companies with same ideas and proposition. The investors are waiting to be ‘Wowed’ by novel, yet marketable ideas.


Top investments in last 1 year: (USD 1.3 billion; Shanghai), Baidu Waimai (Shanghai), Womai (Beijing), and BigBasket (India), are the start-ups that have each bagged more than USD 150 million in the last 1 year. China, clearly, remains the biggest destination for investments, setting newer standards, particularly (China’s biggest meal delivery service), which has become a success story. The company is highly focused on instant deliveries and quality of service, and wishes to make ‘complaint’, a thing of the past.

In terms of investors, Sequoia is on the top, having invested in labels such as DoorDash,, Grofers, Ricebook, Zomato etc. 


Top Business models: Globally, by funding, food ordering platforms, and groceries, have been the top businesses.



The Tracxn report highlights that across the globe, significant early stage investments have also started in the IoT-enabled kitchen appliances market, with companies such as Juciero, June, and Tovala, having closed multiple rounds of funding. IoT and AI are some of my personal favourites. Across geographies, there is a palpable scope for IoT/AI-enabled kitchen products. That would promote cooking healthy food easily at home, given that life-style diseases have become an integral part of every household. Click here to read about the global food-tech companies that use AI, IoT, and smart technologies. (Tracxn Blog, 2016).

Overall, the sector is expanding, and witnessing significant activities, and scale-up. 2 things would determine the health of the sector:

  1. How are the older start-ups able to sustain, and scale-up? – By Learning from mistakes and global best practices
  2. What new market-ready ideas are newer start-ups bringing on the table? – IoT/AI/smart tech/B2B products - where there is still a lot of white spaces with regards to the Indian market.

An important highlight of the Microsoft Think Next event was the investor and media pitches made by some very interesting start-up companies. Given below is the list, and brief description of their products:


Start-ups icons.png


start ups.jpg

Think Next events are hosted by Microsoft Accelerator with an objective to bring together the thought leaders of the Indian Technology Innovation Ecosystem. Here are the key learnings from one of the foremost thought leaders in Indian technology industry - Nandan Nilekani:

1. Indian growth path will be different from other Asian tigers

Nilekani kept opining that India cannot copy China. When China, Korea, and Japan started out, they had no established competition, and had universal literacy. India will have to chalk out its own growth strategy driven by digitization, connectivity, cash-less/paper-less economy, and start-up innovation ecosystem.

2. Key drivers of growth for Indian economy will be domestic consumption, services-led growth, and SMBs-led growth

As opposed to the common notion of growth being led by exports, manufacturing industry, and large businesses, Mr. Nilekani highlighted that the key drivers of growth for Indian economy will be domestic consumption, services-led growth, and SMBs-led growth. Quite remarkable, and made sense given the current industry and economic trends.


SMB, Service, domestic.png


3. Indian economic growth will be driven by the rising tech adoption

Rising smart-phone penetration (700 million smartphone users by 2020); internet penetration (331 million users); Aadhaar UID (1 billion users; can authenticate 100 million transactions per day, in real time); and India Stack (a complete set of APIs for developers which includes Aadhaar for authentication, e-KYC, e-sign amongst others); will propel technological disruption, digital connectivity, growth of tech start-ups, and the said vision for India.

4. Technology will allow businesses to transact easily and efficiently, and thus, contribute faster to the economy

Launch of new devices such as Samsung Galaxy Tab Iris which features an iris scanner that is Aadhaar and STQC certified, will enable cashless and paperless services for banking, passport, taxation, healthcare, etc. All these, along with Immediate Payment Service, Unified Payments Interface, micro ATMS, mPOS and financial inclusion programs by the Government (such as the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), will aggressively pave the way for digital payments in India. Hence, we will continue to see adoption of payment solutions such as mobile wallets, cash cards, bitcoins, platforms, and POS (Point-of-Sale) services.

Coming back to India stack, and how it will revolutionize the space of business, and fuel innovation, India stack comprises of these key layers: consent layer, cashless layer, paperless layer, and presence-less layer. As mentioned earlier, India Stack is a complete set of APIs for developers which includes Aadhaar, e-KYC, e-sign, UPI, and secure data-sharing within the stack. What this means for tech-start-ups and app developers is that they can readily create novel business apps using the infrastructure provided by the stack.

Most importantly, because of all these developments, Fintech software and services, which is currently valued at ~USD 8 billion, will be one of the fastest growing segments.


india Stack~2.png

5. India will become a data-rich nation in less than 5 years – creating opportunities around big data analytics and artificial intelligence.

Mr. Nilekani showed how connectivity and digitization will lead India to shift from a data-poor nation to a data-rich nation in a mere 3-5 years span. This whole gamut of data being created from payments, digital identity, eCommerce, social media, and the paperless processes, will pave way for data-driven analysis, bringing ample opportunities in big data analytics, and artificial intelligence.


Data rich.png


To conclude, we cannot emulate other economies. Technology and digitization will propel growth in India. Digital Bharat is the goal, which will create opportunities for all stakeholders and industries alike. The cashless and paperless economy is catapulting small and medium businesses, making it easier for them to transact. So much of online data and transactions is again creating huge demands for cyber security, storage, web performance, and faster computing. The fact of the matter is the overall tech innovation ecosystem is expanding; my question is ‘Are you a part of this?’

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