[Editorial notes : 2014 was a milestone year for Indian startup ecosystem. Below is a great summary and outlook for 2015 by Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder of One97]
2014 has been the most exciting year for India’s consumer technology business. I have not seen this kind of euphoria since Internet came to India. Finally that elusive 100 million user mark got breached. Some even say that we already have more than 200Mn people online.
Android gave smartphone companies, power to bring price down now operators have to do their bit and make mobile internet really affordable. I am sure in next 2 years we should be breaching 500 million mobile internet users in India.
In such a hot market, there are many undercurrent seen last year, here is my list of 10 such trends that will shape 2015 and ahead.
1. Billion dollar cheque: Kudos to Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal for breaking the ceiling of the amount that can be raised by an Indian company in one round (and in a year). Amazon fashionably matched it by double next day. An India startup raising such large money is a milestone for all us, and sets the benchmark for future funding.
2. Rise and Rise of eCommerce: Whether a diaper or taxi, more Indians are buying online. E-commerce finally has reached a tipping point and there is no coming back. Expect many takes on this. Big ecommerce players becoming bigger. Newer players will be smarter, with new business models: local commerce, on-demand commerce, mobile messaging based commerce. Even related business like discovery, payments, logistics and analytics will ride ecommerce wave.
3. Raising $100Mn is new norm: There is serious large money available for potentially big businesses. Indian businesses (tech or non tech) had problem of access to large capital, now that has changed. There are hundreds of investors who are ready to give a large amount of money for your bold audacious plan. I expect this trend to keep growing.
4. Indian Unicorns: One thing is sure that India will have 10’s of billion dollar tech companies. Only two questions are left to be answered: First, how many billion dollar companies will be created in India?Secondly, will there be a few $100Bn tech companies from India? No 2015 cant tell this.
5. Apps are hot: It gave birth to a job like growth hacker, and led to religious fights over which OS you develop for first. India is an Android country and your Android app rating is new Oscar award. Everyone talked about their big mobile plans, but only a few have understood and done it right. The battle will be fierce this year. Mobile Internet will ear desktop internet much faster than you expected.
6. 1 Crore Salary Club: Adding ESOPs and cash, lot more people are now in 1 Crore+ annual benefit club. Talent will become new currency, everyone wants ton of it. Large companies have challenge of growing into incumbent and loosing sex appeal for new talent.
7. Ad Tech in India is cold: India has couple of 100 million users but Indian adverting technology companies could not make much money in Indian market. It still remains an “emerging market” for Google & Facebook. Local ad network or ad technologies companies have to look global or remain small. Lets see if 2015 changes this
8. Acceleration by Accelerators: Not just late stage funding, Indian startups got plenty of early stage money and help too. If you are starting up, there 150% chance of you getting into an accelerator. If Indian accelerators don’t have a seat, there are global accelerators welcoming more and more Indian entrepreneurs.
9. Early Stage capital: It was never more fashionable to be an start up. Angel funds, Angel networks, accelerators and even VC’s are doing seed/ early stage investments. There are many more sincere options out there, and I hope there will be no more horrendous funding-shark stories now.
10. Big Exits: One of most important part of business investment and startup ecosystem is exits. Finally, we saw acquihire and some serious $100 Million dollar exits. More power to those who acquire Indian startups and add necessary momentum!
Wishing you a great successful year ahead.
BONUS : Enjoy and feel the ‘Eye of the Tiger’!
Image credit : shutterstock.com