“I really don't know what you're doing everyday,” said Rajan Anandan, VP Google, South East Asia, at the just concluded TiE Global Summit, alluding to the ‘Big Brother’ allegations that are often made against Google.
But what he does know is that this is the best time to startup in India.
Of the 350 million in India, 200 million access the internet on smartphones. There are over a 100 million daily active users on smartphones.
Everyone accesses internet at least 165 times in a day. That, Rajan adds,is a small amount of users consuming large data. These users are highly educated and look and act like internet consumers in the West. Referring to the tech entrepreneurs, Rajan said,
They are what I call India 1. And they are focussed on the same 100 million. But what about the remaining 900 million.
In the last four years there was not a single billion dollar internet company. Today, the world is different. But despite a funding of $15 billion, they (the tech startups) are focusing only on India 1.
“Their needs cater to what the western market did and needed. We aren't looking at large problems,” says Rajan. “Where are the startups that are solving these problems?” asks Rajan.
Rajan believes that the startups need to focus on India 2, which is the next 200 million and India 3, which is the next 300 million.
According to Rajan, the challenges confronting the startups to reach India 2 and India 3 are manifold, and include:
“We are launching on-demand laundry service but are not solving a problem like air pollution in Delhi that could kill us,” he said.
While we are focussed on internet, rural India still has only 100 million internet users. And of this only one out of 10 women use the internet. “These people aren't the ones who use the product and services that excite India 1,” says Rajan.
By 2020, India will have 600 million connected users. “As large businesses, what can you build for them?” asks Rajan.
While fintech startups have become more visible especially after demonetisation, Rajan believes we have a long way to go. He said,
India needs large pools of local capital. If someone told me that they would solve pollution I would say when and how. There are some serious India problems we need to start looking at.