Why It Is Difficult to Build a WhatsApp From India. No, It’s Not About the Product.

WhatsApp : 450 million users; no clear monetization strategy. Gets acquired for $19Bn.

What’s cool about it? Is it the ARPU [Average (potential) Revenuer Per User] or the value that the service created (they almost killed telcos’ SMS revenue]?
Is it about technology? DEFINITELY NOT.
Is it about profitability (from day one)? For Indian investors, maybe yes!

Why is it difficult to build a WhatsApp from India?

I don’t mean ‘another’ WhatsApp, but another business which creates tremendous value (and almost kills a traditional/mediocre industry, which is SMS in case of WhatsApp), but is extremely slow in monetizing the value.

That is, profitability is not the main focus. Value creation is.

I have two things to share:

Kitna Deti Hai
Kitna Deti Hai ? The Mindset.

It’s about the mindset.
And I am not just talking about investor mindset (don’t blame them – you and I are no different), but an average consumer mindset – which flows through the entire system. We want to know the RoI, without understanding the ‘long-term value‘ being created.

Ofcourse, there is no right or wrong answer here (Mahesh/Seedfund has got one of the best Returns on Investment so far, especially with redBus); but maybe, Indian consumer startups are better off talking to Silicon Valley VC?

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