Few months ago, London and Partners, Mayor of London’s inward investment company, had set out on a mission to identify the top 20 high-growth companies in India that could become relevant on a global scale. It had launched 'India Emerging 20 (IE20),' a programme supported by BDO India, Newland Chase, UK Trade and Investment and British Airways.
London & Partners has a proven track record of working with over 2,000 international businesses, and helping them with their global expansion plans. After months of checking ratings across parameters of global scalability, innovation and differentiation, and performance, the 20 companies have been shortlisted and will be showcased at an event in London on March 14 and 15.
Why Indian startups
On the reason behind the focus on Indian startups and entrepreneurs, David Slater, Director of International Trade and Investment, London & Partners, says that over the last two decades, India has created a number of leading companies of global scale. “At London & Partners we have also seen a growing appetite for Indian businesses looking to use London as a springboard for a move into international markets,” adds David.
London is the most internationally famous business city. Technology companies with new ideas, products and services need to internationalise quickly to stay ahead of the competition. The panel chose the IE20 winners because of their potential to grow.
India is certainly emerging as the land of rising entrepreneurship. According to a recent report by Business Today, India currently has more than 48 million small businesses, double the number of the small companies in the US (23 million).
Displaying a global potential
On the programme, Moran Birger, Regional Commercial Manager – South Asia, British Airways says, “We are very impressed with the kind of nominations we have received for this programme and selecting these top 20 companies as winners has certainly not been an easy task for us.”
Technology and technological innovations are strong themes for all winning companies.
The winners come from a broad range of categories, including life sciences, artificial intelligence, IT services, cyber security, sports tech, travel tech, adtech, e-commerce and analytics. Arbinder Chatwal, Head India Advisory, BDO Group, adds that it is important for startups in India to focus on building and creating products that can be validated in the global markets as well. IE20, he says, is one way to ensure that happens.
All the winning companies demonstrated strong global potential. They also demonstrated clear strategy and execution of their global expansion plans. Close to 80 percent of the winning companies already have an international presence.
“Last year, I visited Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi, Gurgaon and Mumbai. In each of these cities I met entrepreneurs across the full range of technology-enabled sectors, from e-commerce to SaaS to e-health. The tech sector has dynamism and ambition driven by the demands of a growing and increasingly sophisticated consumer base. It’s an exciting mix and I am very optimistic about the future,” says David.
A dual strength
London offers many advantages for Indian companies. It is the world’s capital for business, remaining Europe’s top destination for FDI, and is the number one capital city for Indian investment outside Asia and the Middle East over the last decade. London and India have a strong heritage of doing business together.
Today, the two countries share mutual strengths in technology and knowledge-based businesses. David adds that as one of the world’s leading financial centres there is also great opportunity for Indian companies and investors to benefit from London’s global capital markets. The recent MoU agreement between the LSE and NSE demonstrates the prospects for further collaboration between both financial markets.
London is also taking a lead in the development of smart cities technologies and planning - a shared vision seen across Indian cities as they look to tackle issues such as pollution and rising population.
India continues to exhibit a strong surge in demand for international travel fuelled by the growth of domestic tourism in India and increasing outbound travel from India. According to a recent industry report, outbound travel from India is growing faster than the domestic business.
“We are confident that this increase in demand for outbound business travel will continue to rise further, particularly from young professionals and entrepreneurs as they realise the importance of global exposure to learn, grow and succeed,” says Moran.
The winners will get an opportunity to meet and interact with senior business leaders and decision-makers from leading global companies, thereby enabling them to gain attention and visibility among global media and trade, as well as broker alliances and partnerships.