Elephant vs. Ant = MapmyIndia vs. RouteGuru. Does size matter?

The Indian Internet world is witnessing a revolution of sorts – startups are challenging the biggies, and are in the process creating their own niche. In our attempt to be true to startups, we are starting a series of posts called: Elephant and the Ant.
What the heck is that?
Well, as is obvious elephant represents the biggies and ants are the cool cool startups. Elephants have all the mighty muscle, but ants’ weapons are it’s killer idea and it’s ability to stay nimble.
Moreover, ants are small, and most of the times don’t come under Elephant’s radar (and that’s why they can even kill the elephant!)

Also, lets not forget that even the word Eleph-ant has an ant – i.e. even the biggies were a startup once upon a time! – so they too know the rules of the game.

In this series, we will take an elephant and an ant – and we will ask you your game plan, if you were the ant whose “Killer” idea has suddenly got leaked out/exposed in the market and the biggie implements that!
What will you do in such a situation? Roll back or fight? If fight, how? Don the “game theory” hat and join the game!

— So here is today’s installment –

Elephant: MapmyIndia
Ant: RouteGuru.
Context: Driving directions based maps.

RouteGuru, a New Delhi based startup has implemented a nifty way to find driving directions – using landmarks (read our review and interview with the founder,Avinash Agrawal).
MapMyIndia, the elephant in this business too has come out with few nifty features and of course, driving directions is one of them.

MapMyIndia’s new avatar is quite an improvement from the earlier version and apart from the regular web 2.0 feature (draggable maps, embedding map code etc), MapmyIndia also has damn good driving directions for almost every nook and corner of the country.

RouteGuru’s advantage lies in the fact that they have “landmark” based approach, while MapmyIndia is not. But I am sure it’s just a matter of time and MapmyIndia will definitely take this route too.

Though MapMyIndia’s execution (so far) isn’t the sexiest, their sheer muscle power (and depth of services in map biz) is good enough to create the buzz.
RouteGuru’s strength (IMHO) lies in being nimble and most importantly, they have the benefit of having a blank canvas and can experiment with new strategies/features (for e.g. user generated content for driving directions?) which a biggie will not attempt to (biggies have an inevitable B cycle – i.e. bureaucracy!)

But at the end of the day what also matters is the speed, depth and breadth of the execution. RouteGuru is present only in NCR region and will need good amount of time (and money/partnerships) to expand into other cities, while MapmyIndia already has brand identity as well as PAN India reach.

If you were a startup, working on a brilliant idea, and suddenly you see a biggie implementing the similar stuff – what will be your reaction?
The sweet side is that your idea has been acknowledged (as a viable business plan), but at the same time it’s no more an innovative idea, no more a differentiator!

What should the ant do?

Forget about the ant, let us know what will you do?

Related: Startup Dilemma: What,when,how to share?

tags: mapmyindia, routeguru, pic credit

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