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Naveen Tewari, Founder & CEO, InMobi in conversation with Govind Ethiraj

 

CvsFKKZUAAAjmOz.jpg                                       Photo credit: Kiran Kashikar

 

We keep hearing this phrase “the journey of a startup.” Naveen had an interesting take for a Cricket crazy nation. At NPC 2016, he said, it’s like graduating from T20 to one-day and finally the big stage of test match, a similar experience and exposure which a cricketer finds in process. However, there’s a vital difference. In startups, unlike cricket, the progression is seldom linear, the format unannounced, and one is thrust into the middle without quite knowing which way things will go.

 

The margins in his business are handsome and yet it took several years before he started making money. Being a tech-driven platform, the investments in the earlier years were heavy and one of the major reasons why profitability kicked-in late. Naveen estimates that the Mobile Ad Tech has the potential to be a 250 billion USD industry in the next few years. InMobi is of course among the frontrunners in this space. The Ad Tech business is driven by emotions, and a very US-centric view of the world that global players are experimenting with at present.  

 

He shared an interesting thought on VC funding. He said, it can often spoil startup founders and lead to wasteful spending such as undertaking massive unwarranted changes in org structures, unless one is mindful of it at all times. The aim should be to invest in new ideas, a philosophy which he has been successfully following at InMobi.

 

The media likes stories which are laced with extremities – both of success and failure. They will never write about everyday operations which is most boring for readers. Hence, there is always a tendency to exaggerate conditions to draw eyeballs, especially when it involves exits of high profile execs from some of the fastest growing companies. In India, it is a common enough practise to hire from traditional companies, but many a times, the cultural shift becomes a challenge and can land the startup in a quagmire. It is wise to part ways under such conditions, and is healthy for both parties concerned. The ability to transition to a wholly different culture or the lack of it, is the real reason why people leave. Here, Naveen did some straight talking and his candidness was rather impressive. He has a mnemonic for people who stay and that includes him as well. ASS. A for attitude, S for smart and the second S stands for skill. It is absolutely essential for people who stay, to believe in the company’s vision. Just as people need to be appreciated for what they do, at times, hard calls need to be taken and there’s blood on the table. It’s unavoidable if one is running a successful venture.

 

On being queried, why it is that few “people” really understand his revenue model, he shrugged off with customary candour – well, it’s a B2B model so he is really focussed on making enterprises understand what InMobi does!

 

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s Naveen Tewari for you – the face of a new ambitious India which knows what it wants and is constantly working towards it.

 

Want more blogs, session updates, videos and discussions from NASSCOM Product Conclave, 2016, Bangalore? Use the hashtag npc2016  and find them all.

The new report on startups by NASSCOM was unveiled at the NASSCOM Product Conclave, 2016, in Bangalore recently. The report as expected has been one of the most anticipated ones of the year and has been quoted by media extensively. Here is a brief of the coverage. If you are interested in state of the startup ecosystem, this should interest you.

 

The Economic Times

 

Online: http://tech.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/startups/with-4750-startups-india-retains-its-position-as-3rd-largest-startup-base-nasscom/55083919

 

Read here:

 

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The Hindu

Online: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-in-school/10500-startups-by-2020-in-india/article9272456.ece

 

Silicon India

Online: http://www.siliconindia.com/news/startups/India-Will-Be-Home-To-10500-Startups-By-2020-Nasscom-nid-199314-cid-100.html

 

CIOL

Online: http://www.ciol.com/india-will-be-home-to-4750-tech-startups-in-2016/

 

Communications Today

Online:http://www.communicationstoday.co.in/index.php/5550-india-will-be-home-to-10-500-start-ups-by-2020-nasscom

 

Daily Thanthi

 

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Navbharat Times

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Dainik Bhaskar

 

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With L4k New Cos, India Retains Startup-hub Tag

Chamath Palihapitiya, Founder & CEO, Social Capital in conversation with Shripati Acharya, Managing Partner PRIME Venture Partners

 

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       photo credit: prime venture partners

 

Disruption is often associated with startups, finds resonance in new funding theories as well. A session title, well earned. Arguably, the volume of money doing rounds earlier had caused inflationary conditions to prevail. It is also interesting to note how capital is now being allocated. Some of the mandatory norms which got people funding ten years back, has clearly become antiquated. One can get funded even over Linkedin, if the messaging is compelling enough and packaged well. Today, one does not even need a high school education to get funded.

 

The rise of everything-as-a-service essentially means it’s like a tap. You turn it on when you need it. Why can’t funding be the same way? Why can’t people have access to funds just as easily as they do for software?

 

Social Capital has invested around 1 billion USD in a whole lot of ventures including Healthcare, Fintech and Enterprise SaaS. Chamath believes that it is imperative to understand the business before investing. Mathematical models can be derived successfully once a deeper understanding is gained, which can also be used for other investment decisions. The insights drawn from Capitalism can be automated to provide systematised learning. There has to be new ways of getting funded without having to give up a substantial stake in business.

 

Right now the funding ecosystem is buffeted. So far, young entrepreneurs were riding the high GDP growth and not expending enough efforts on building fundamentally strong businesses. Unit economics was yet to kick in for many. Once there is a structurally broken business, it’s almost impossible to claw back. One should strive to create value to derive more “pricing power” and be able to shift the benefits back to customers. The Pricing Sensitivity Model of Social Capital for instance, is also made available to people who don’t get funded.

 

As an investor, some bets obviously don’t work but one has to be prepared to be flexible. It is most essential to be in a constant state of preparedness where you know you are capable of beating the best. Ego and bias gets in the way when one bets incorrectly or misses an opportunity completely. The real learning should be about divorcing oneself from these negative traits, and not really linger on what has happened. The parameters of deciding whether funding can be made would depend on the business model - whether it is B2B model or a consumer business.

 

Often there’s a dilemma whether to go with hedge funds or capital markets. Essentially these are different stages in the lifecycle and one has to be prepared that once they go public, VCs are likely to abandon them overnight. Well so be it.     

A CEO is an investor. He invests on human capital, finance to create value and ultimately he is in the business of generating returns. The aim should always be to drive down the cost of capital over time. For the investor it is most important to get out of the way and let the CEO run the show.

Building a customer-centric organisation: The hike in the Unicorn world

Kavin Bharati Mittal, Founder & CEO, Hike Messenger in conversation with Syna Dehnugara, Features Editor, CNBC TV 18

 

The latest entrant in the coveted club of Unicorns, Hike was founded in 2012. Most interestingly, the first set of customers were from Germany and Middle-East. Kavin explained to us, at that time Hike had a 128-bit encryption, a not-so-common feature those days, and Germans being a stickler for security absolutely lapped up the idea. It became consumer-centric in a completely different part of the world.

 

To be able to build a sound product for India, one has to gather a deep understanding of consumer behaviour. As Kavin says, that is exactly where Hike scores very high and is able to hold its own even globally. The Indian consumers’ needs are very specific and has to be catered to in accordance. He gave an example. Smartphones in India are a shared device and even children have access to elders’ phones. Hike understands this peculiar trait, and has built chat features which can keep conversations hidden.  

 

Despite all the media coverage coupled with very high expectations, Kavin is never under stress. He is most excited about how the business can accelerate and double or even treble the number of active users. The Unicorn continues to raise the bar and create differentiation in messaging. There’s much talk about AI and Machine Learning, and Hike is not to be left behind. It has a repository of 10 k stickers and prompts the user based on past usage and various other parameters, made possible through AI and Machine Learning technologies.

 

Kavin says, very soon apps will become like any another phonebook contact and unless there is clear distinction, dormancy will set in. The avowed growth in number of users would also depend how fast the market expands in the next few years. Typically the target audience is within the age group of 15 – 24. The next 2 – 3 years will be spent in building a phenomenal product. The value chain components are: Suppliers, distributors and consumers. The path to monetization could entail the time-tested model of vertical integration, where Hike controls both the supplier and distribution network to optimise on scale, but right now the focus is on the consumer and build an incredible product. 

The Indian Startup eco-system is certainly maturing! Who can deny that? Total Tech startups in India by the end of 2016 should be more than 4700, a number which has veritably pitchforked the nation to third position after US and UK. Israel though remains a close contender. The growth in numbers, a recent NASSCOM – Zinnov study reveals, has been in the range of 10-12 percent which one would expect to be pretty good, given the hoopla doing rounds about funds drying up, and naysayers having a field day (weeks / months?) with wild speculations. But more of that later.

 

Fascination with the consumer business continues, notably reflected in 60 – 64 per cent market share, but most encouragingly, the B2B segment is seen to be making rapid strides to claim its own. This is healthy.  A trend which is apparent in the NASSCOM Emerge 50 Awards as well.

 

Much as we hate to admit it but the overall funding has taken a dip (4.9 billion USD in ’15 to 4 billion USD in ’16E), but the silver lining is that the number of deals has gone up from 600 to 650 this year, signalling smaller ticket sizes and a wider spread. We want to look at it as a market rationalisation exercise after some of the unrealistic valuations seen in the past. In some ways this course correction was necessary to weed out the non-serious players, as strong fundamentals trumped over hype. It was also discernible that bootstrapping and crowdfunding were seen as viable alternatives – a fitting reply to muted sentiments. The eco-system has come to be synonymous with innovation so it is only natural that players will seek out new avenues to beat the market blues.

 

Cluster formation seems to be working well. Clearly the leaders are - Bengaluru, Delhi-NCR and Mumbai, followed by the “Emergents” – Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai and finally the Aspirants – upcoming cities such as Kochi, Kolkata and Jaipur. If you see overall, the spread has been pan India, a most encouraging sign.   

 

At NPC in Bangalore, the Startup Report is going to be released. Might I add, the level of detailing done to dissect the trends has been quite remarkable. A comprehensive Ready Reference of sorts that renders great insights about the ecosystem and its players including the government, academia and incubators. At the end, there’s a particular slide called “Quick Facts” which I really liked. It collates several parameters like Global Innovation Index, time taken to startup, corporate tax rate, number of investors (VC and Angels), Unicorns and the number of Incubators, to give an overall perspective as how India matches up to the RoW - US, UK, Israel and China.

 

Without getting into granular aspects right now, let me urge you to get hold of this report, and decipher for yourself in which direction is the sector heading.   

 

We have lead researcher of the report Manishree Bhattacharya  with us to answer any questions. Use the tag startupreport2016 to find related content and npc2016 to find content about the NASSCOM Product Conclave.

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!!):

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…. 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.

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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: Ele.me (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 Ele.me (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, Ele.me, Grofers, Ricebook, Zomato etc. 

 

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

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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:

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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?’

Brands today collect multiple data points across consumer interactions, ranging from key promotional events and social comments to consumer whereabouts and inquiries. One of the key challenges faced by brands and enterprises is to fuse these multiple data streams in real-time and act on them. Overcoming this challenge would redefine how brands interact with their consumers using data today. Here is how:

1. A power shift

When brands have a self-serve platform, the ability to collect and fully analyze multiple data sets like demographics, social, location, interest, point-of-sales, and CRM moves to brands and enterprises, giving them control. They now have the power to define the who, what, when, and where of data and get the consumer insights they want. They’re able to conduct their own A/B tests to distinguish the business strategies that work, from the ones that don’t. This also gives them the ability to optimize their decisions without waiting on or working with any data service provider. They can do all the analysis themselves in an affordable, easy and timely manner, allowing them to make decisions much more quickly, and with the most relevant and up-to-date information.

2. Access to fresh data

Real-time data is much more useful to brands than historical data because it shows the most recent trends and customer preferences. By keeping up with these ever-changing preferences, brands are able to respond more quickly to shifts in trends and provide customers with exactly what they want. Action on fresh data also results in better conversions, and hence better sales. Brands and enterprises with access to the freshest data definitely have an edge over their competitors.

3. Data transparency

When brands have control of their data, everything becomes very transparent including spends. They have access to all of the information coming in, from raw data to established public data sets. They can create, visualize, and analyze any of these data sets, act on them, and see what works for them. When consumer reports can be accessed any time, brands can make faster changes in their marketing strategies and also rethink their business strategies if need be.

4. Digitizing brand data

Brands could bring their own data like CRM data and more to the table, mixing it with other data sets in order to gather powerful insights. With multiple data sets and, thus, more relevant information at hand, businesses can make more informed decisions. Currently, brands work with different products and providers for different data sets, and this prevents them from getting a complete consumer picture. With the convergence of the brand’s first-party data and other data sets like consumer location, business strategies can be consolidated.

A first-step in this direction is our latest product Allspark, that allows brands and enterprises to leverage third-party and proprietary data sets in real-time. The current data sets it consolidates include consumer location, behavior, interest, and demographics, and with certain tweaks, can also fuse CRM data, IOT data, spend data, and social streams.

For instance, if Adidas were looking to open a new store in London, knowing where the majority of its consumers are found and their weekend hotspots could help make this decision. Adidas could analyse its audience both in terms of their behaviour and preferences, understand whether their key consumers are professionals, students, or homemakers, track footfall patterns of its own and competitor stores to strategize and also set up its operations in the new location. In addition to this, the insights could also help rethink its product design strategy either to attract new consumers, or boost sales with its target audience from a particular age group.

By enabling brands to pick real-time data streams of choice, create a consumer picture, and understand market-wise trends across geographies without relying on data providers, these products are revolutionizing the data industry and changing it in significant, new ways.

                                                                                                            - By Anil Mathews, Founder and CEO, Near

Join the League of Product Champion

NASSCOM has opened nominations for the NASSCOM Emerge 50 2016 Awards, India’s biggest platform to recognise 50 the most innovative product companies. NASSCOM Emerge 50 is an initiative to identify, showcase and support emerging companies that are redefining the benchmark of software product, market and business excellence in the IT industry. Emerging companies that have developed innovative products in SMAC, IoT, Security, Next Gen Commerce, vertical specific emerging technologies, Smart Infrastructure etc can apply to the NASSCOM Emerge 50 2016. The nominations is also open to companies that have witnessed accelerated growth, or have identified a niche for themselves, with a strong foothold in the market.

NASSCOM Emerge 50 is NASSCOM's annual marathon search that brings up the Top 50 high-potential emerging companies. These companies then benefit from NASSCOM's visibility, credibility, connects and showcase; which propels them into achieving greater business success.

NASSCOM Emerge 50 2016 awards will focus on:

  • Product Excellence: Emphasis on Innovation, Technology, Value Differentiations, Design.
  • Market Excellence: Understanding of Markets & Target Audience with Focus on Customer Opportunities
  • Business Excellence: Co-founders' Credibility, Growth Parameters & Attractiveness to Investors.
  • Vertical Excellence: Focus on Industry Specific Products, like FinTech, HealthTech, AgriTech, EduTech, AdTech etc
  • Technology Excellence: High calibre usage of latest technology, AI, Big data, VR, IoT…

 

OPPORTUNITIES GALORE!

  • Worldwide Recognition of Your Innovative Excellence
  • Felicitation and showcase at India’s biggest software product event - NASSCOM Product Conclave, 26th – 27th October, Bangalore (http://productconclave.in/)
  • Showcase of companies to the CXO and Investors community
  • Regional, National & Industry-wide media coverage
  • Opportunity to participate in trade delegations.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

  • An Indian Registered Company
  • Having a Commercialised Product (not an idea or plan)
  • With Turnover < INR 50 Crore

 

For More Details, please Visit:

http://product.nasscom.in/emerge50.php

For queries, please write to: vibhor@nascsom.in

Dear Community Members,

 

You would be aware that the TRAI has invited inputs towards a consultation paper on free data (attached). As you are aware, this is the third in the series of consultation on the issue of net neutrality. NASSCOM has been actively engaging with the Govt and Industry stakeholders as we share our inputs on a critical issue which can have a long term impact on Society, Technology and Business environment.

 

We would like to invite your inputs and suggestions to the questions posed by the TRAI in the consultation paper and possible response. NASSCOM is working on a response to be submitted to TRAI and we would be finalizing it based on inputs received from stakeholders.

 

Since the paper and our response is short, we hope you will be able to respond quickly to allow us adequate time for a compilation. You can mark your responses to policyquery@nasscom.in for timely incorporation in NASSCOM's response.

 

Looking forward to your timely inputs,

 

Team NASSCOM

Global enterprise applications market continues to grow rapidly with small and medium size businesses now adopting enterprise-class software along with large enterprises upgrading solutions for greater integration of business processes.

While enterprise suites from leading software vendors such as Oracle, SAP and Microsoft continue to dominate the large enterprise segment, many emerging players across the globe have successfully identified white spaces to address business needs, thereby, offering a significant addressable market opportunity.

Indian software products market is accelerating rapidly with presence of over ~300 Indian software products in this growing segment. It is incredible to see how well-designed software products with core functionalities and the right technology from vendors like Tally, Ramco, Employwise, Talisma, Freshdesk, Ramyam, Greytip etc are transforming the businesses, e.g., accounting has become so easy with just one such product, TALLY

In continuation to the earlier initiatives, NASSCOM, in partnership with Frost & Sullivan, has recently concluded another series of the initiative Product Excellence Matrix - Enterprise Software. Enterprise applications is the third in the horizontal segment category series post the successful completion of analytics and mobility segments. The in-depth survey analysis reveals some interesting highlights as outlined below:

  • ~250 products nominated and ~85 per cent of the total nominations were considered under the enterprise software assessment; based on the Frost & Sullivan assessment criteria
  • Customer management centric products (29 per cent) followed by ERP (23 per cent) exhibited the highest focus areas within the Enterprise Applications. The products ranged from integrated CRM suites to market and sales functional products
  • The other categories included Human capital management, Supply chain management, Business process and productivity management and Unified communication and collaboration
  • Over 70 per cent of the firms incorporated post 2010 indicating the rapid increase in entrepreneurship and focus on the segment
  • Almost one-third of the firms are already scaled up with employee base of > 100

An exhaustive assessment was undertaken and products were benchmarked separately across 4 grids - ERP Grid, CRM Grid, HCM Grid and SCM Grid. Growing interest amongst CMOs, CIOs and CEOs on ways to leverage social media, mobility and analytics to strengthen customer offerings and support sales teams has directly translated to CRM and CEM segments witnessing heightened focus and considerable success for Indian product vendors.

Although, very few Indian players are offering cross-vertical ERP solutions, a large number of verticalised integrated customer management offerings have been launched in the last few years. HCM, SCM offerings are characterised more by standalone point solutions developed to address niche end-user business concerns and challenges.

The report also features products across 2 more categories - Business process and productivity management (including a broad spectrum of functional software e.g., project management, planning tools, compliance, management software, productivity management, facilities management as well as products focused on integrated process management) along with Unified communication and collaboration.

The report titled Indian Enterprise Software Products - On accelerated growth path has been released at NPC Kolkata (18th July 2014). For further details and companies presented on each GRID, you can download a copy of this report from NASSCOM website (Link)

As a part of the NASSCOM Product Council initiative to highlight India’s ever growing role in the global products value chain, we have created the largest compendia of Indian product companies across industry segments (www.productsmade.in ) and have also facilitated the creation of a framework to present an in-depth analysis of each of the 9 outlined product segments.  We are delighted to put together the fourth installment of the Landscape analysis research papers titled “Indian Fin-tech Products – Innovation Driving Growth”. The objective of this study is to present a detailed overview of the Fin-tech software products landscape in India and discusses key business and technology trends, drivers, and enabling ecosystem for Fin-tech and its sub segments. The report also highlights and profiles cutting edge Fin-tech solutions and products developed by ~110 Indian companies. fintech1Key Report Findings-

  • Worldwide Fin-tech software market was valued at ~USD 32 billion in 2015 and is forecasted to reach to ~USD 45 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of ~7 per cent
  • The total Fin-tech software and services market from India is worth ~USD 8 billion and pegged to grow 1.7X by 2020
  • The Indian Fin-tech software product market generated revenues of USD ~1.2 billion in 2015, and is expected to double in size by 2020
  • Primary factors driving Indian firms to deploy Fintech products- streamlining day to day operations, driving revenue growth, increasing reach, process efficiency and improvement, empowering sales force, and managing risks and costs
  • With ~400 companies (including 200 startups), India is quickly emerging as a Fin-tech products hub out of which more than 30 per cent are mature firms with demand across regions
  • Payment processing (that include transaction gateways and platforms, Online/Mobile wallet, ATM & POS services, Remittance and Cash cards) account for 34% of Indian Fin-tech landscape, followed by 32% in Banking ( accounting and treasury management, core banking software, risk management, mobile banking) and 12% in Trading/public/private market
  • BFSI, ecommerce and retail verticals are leading the adoption of Fin-tech
  • Startups are mostly focusing around payment processing and trading solutions segment
  • Acceleration of funding in Indian Fin-tech products industry - ~ USD 420 million already invested in 2015. Key growth areas include- document management, trading platforms, financial analytics and payment processing.
  • Focus is shifting towards Fin-tech solutions for digital channels. Mobility and analytics technologies that Indian Fin-tech companies would leverage to help their customers grow revenues and enhance profitability

fintech2 To know more, download the FREE report from HERE

The first day of any large conference is usually marked by strict form, as people get acclimatized to the situation. At Menlo Park on Day 2, right at the start as participants moved about briskly and purposefully, it was evident that a certain degree of comfort and familiarity had set in, kid gloves were off and sleeves rolled up in a state of preparedness, awaiting the opportunity to be part of the deep-dives which were to follow. Mr. R Chandrasekhar, the President of NASSCOM delivered the opening remarks and touched briefly on the NASSCOM Product Conclave, a hotbed of new ideas and ventures that get unearthed every year. A toast of sorts, to the spirit of entrepreneurship. We moved on to the first panel discussion of the day, “Building a Great Enterprise Startup.” Moderated by Prem Taleja, Fabric, the other speakers were: Kamal Anand (Appcito), Joseph (VeloCould), Jon Baer (Threshold Ventures) & Animesh (VISA). Let’s look at individually on what they had to share. Kamal: His company Appcito offers cloud-native, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution for web scale application delivery, that works across any cloud. Kamal himself takes much interest in developing and executing market entry and growth strategies, scaling businesses and attracting venture investments for new businesses ideas. He was very clear that customer focus ought to be upfront, agility being a mandatory clause, and yet at the same time it is important to say NO to remain focussed. Else, there will be pulls from multiple directions which will soon spiral things out of control. It’s important to take a step back and think from the investor’s perspective as well. What would be some of the things that he would like to hear in a pitch session before releasing Series A funding? Are we on track to get all those “things” in place and script the story in due course? A reflective outlook coupled with a vision, and backed by unbiased stock-taking of situations, will go a long way in attracting investments. Joseph: VeloCloud, a Cloud-delivered SD-WAN pioneer, simplifies branch WAN networking by automating deployment and improving performance over private, broadband Internet and LTE links for today’s increasingly distributed enterprises, as well as service providers. Yet again, the resolve to say NO at the right time without adversely impacting relationships, was strongly articulated by him. Business is a constant battle between immediate survival and building for future, at least in the initial years, and there may be instances where the two positons are at loggerheads. That is when, the temptation to give in to low hanging fruits is very strong. Once you give in, you’ve taken the first step towards diluting your core objective and end up as a me-too player without any significant value proposition. Temptations, as much in life as in the world of business, simply build on each other and get bigger and more difficult to resist with passage of time. Van: He has been both a venture capitalist, as well as the founder and CEO of two venture backed companies. As a principal and founder of Threshold Ventures, Jon works with companies around the world, serves as an advisor/mentor, works on specific projects and when appropriate, takes on interim operating roles. He has worked with a wide range of software, telephony, hardware and services businesses. As a “venture architect and builder” he helps new ventures draft and refine their business and move past each threshold to the next stage of business success. He stressed on the importance of knowing one’s market and taking into account this knowledge to build a successful organisation. Often founders are saddled with, if not actually overwhelmed by what they do not know. At such junctures, the need for validation and its significance can never be overemphasised. Animesh: He is presently working in the Global Operations and Infrastructure Division as Senior Director in the Visa Operations Command Centre, responsible for System Management Tools Support. They work with startups which are 2-3 years old. “The younger ones need to know how their products would work in other VISA enterprises in the ecosystem”, said Animesh, taking a cue from the validation remark which was made earlier. Three pointers for a bootstrapped company: The unique standpoint for them is that they have very little leeway, and have to strike it right the first time, and everytime thereafter. A gospel of sorts that has come to pass.
  • Make the first customer happy, after all they are the brand ambassadors. The very first. Someone once said, that making the first million is always the hardest.
  • Aquire customers through cost effective ways and figure out where is the real value add.
  • Identify your vertical, and the target users like Whatsapp did in markets outside of US. Scala is another example – even if early adopters were in India, the primary market was outside India.
On Validation in the US market – there is no tangible number, but scalability is an important factor at an optimal level of efficiency and price point, that will sell.  The other panels during the day were no less lively. What stood out in the “Transitioning to a valley startup” panel, were the reasons to come to the valley, and there were several: Being close to the customer, better business environment, larger customer base and equality. Silicon Valley is fair and gives an equal opportunity to everyone, irrespective of socio-economic and cultural imbalances. The cost arbitrage that India is known for was harped upon yet again: “entrepreneurs in India do have a cost and talent advantage.” It was rather heartening to note that “talent” was mentioned in the same breath as well. Clearly, the country was well on its way to secure prominent mindshare.  The India focussed VC Panel highlighted a few things:
  • VCs are generally more favourable towards companies which have global ambition
  • Need to have a vector defined and being adhered to, including checks and balances in place.While comparing Indian founders to others
  • The usual tendency is to focus on products alone and not paying enough heed to business plans. People underestimate the time that is required, to build credibility in a newer market. Things happen organically if the right plan is adhered to.
  • Keep market focus as the primary objective – What are you building and who are you building it for, really matters. It clearly resonated with what was said earlier.
The takeaways from the US-focussed Panel:
  • In a world which is interconnected, one also needs to have a focus on investors who are global. Typically, VCs look at shaking up (disrupt?) the economic model and improve on results many times over. Their ultimate aim of making “good” exists will fructify, if the RoI on total investments is at least 2-3 times.
  • The Valley puts primacy on IP, more than IT. VCs are known to change their stance accordingly based on the targeted market – be it Indian or global.
  • On diminishing valuations – A lot of healthy rationality has set in. This usually happens during every downturn, and afterwards for those who survived, and thrived. Clearly, this time there has been a shift from GMV to RV.
See you again, tomorrow with more insights.