There is so much agonizing over how big or small the Indian internet market is - both within NBW and outside. Pretty much every analysis I've seen has the following story-line:
- The masses haven't experienced our superior technology
- Let's sell something to these people and make money
- (OR) Let's get these people to do something for us, out of which we can make money
- To succeed, we need to create a class of persons, local in blood and colour, but western in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect.
We know how that panned out...
Here's the reality
- There are 1.25 billion Indians
- Most of them are already digitally connected via phone, SMS or Internet
- The land is beset with problems. Many of these problems NEED technology based solutions
- "Unable to get gourmet food at home within 30 minutes" probably ranks 2,689,567th in terms of priority
- There is a lot of money to be made in solving problems FOR the people
- Startups are meant to do exactly that.
If our current lot of startup founders and analysts had landed in Mauritius in the 16th century, they would be seriously searching for chicken and lamenting at how sparse the land was. They would have been completely oblivious to the easy meat lurking around in the form of dodos. Driving birds to extinction was a bad thing. But driving problems to extinction is a great thing to achieve.
Let's do it.
** Factoid: The East India company started in the 1590's with a seed capital of 30K pounds and added another 40K pounds in what would have been known in the future as Series A. This is worth around 2.6 and 3.5 billion dollars today. They were to focus on the Caribbean trade, but later pivoted towards India and China.