India’s consumer Internet story is growing (especially after the launch of Jio) and we take a quick look at the leading players in the top categories*.
Some perspective / insights
The Amazon, Google, Facebook, WhatsApp of India is…Amazon, Google, Facebook, WhatsApp – so unlike China. That is, no Indian startup has managed to survive the attack of global players or even built a meaningful product to compete (except in case of Amazon, i.e .Flipkart/Snapdeal etc).
When it comes to building for India’s local opportunities, Indian companies tend to do much better than their global counterparts. In many categories, there are no global players (regulations do play the role, like in Fintech). Maybe this will change in the coming years as many global players will wait till local ones create an opportunity and then attack using their deeper pockets (i.e. Amazon-ish way).
Most of the local winning companies are, and you should really understand this very very well, i.e. they are “SALES” driven.
Naukri / Shaadi / JustDial – they are winning not because they have a beautiful / sexy product (FYI: they don’t have), but they are pure sales driven businesses.
When it comes to product driven companies, very few Indian startups have actually managed to build a meaningful product (think Zomato). I think this is purely a case of lack of product (management) thinking in Indian startups. Except Zomato, there aren’t a lot of global consumer products (successful at scale) from India and as a country, we lack the product thinking (FYI: growth hacking ain’t PM).
Most of the local successes have been built on heavy operational businesses. Nothing wrong with that, but just where is the tech? Where is the ‘asset light’ model? Where is the scale? Investors and entrepreneurs have sold kool aid of ‘asset light’ to each other and the reality is that many of these businesses need to fit in the food chain (there ain’t running away from that) and that needs a lot of operational focus.
For sure, we need more Baahubalis – the ones who can think big and crush their competitors (make them irrelevant).
What’s your take?
*: this sheet is a WIP. Please do share your recommendations/updates. “?” denotes no clear winner (no one even close to being called one).