Investors from different ventures, came together at the Ishin Startup Summit at Bengaluru recently to provide insights on Indo-Japan startup relations. The first panel had Mayank Shiromani from Recruit Strategic Partners and Kiran Mysore from UTEC (University of Tokyo Edge Capital) in attendance.
The core aim of the Recruit Group, Mayank explained, is to remove the friction caused by information asymmetry between consumer and service providers. Mayank said India is one of the most important markets for Recruit Strategic Partners. “All the fundamentals that we see are working out best in India. There are pockets of growth with huge markets and business opportunities.”
Kiran explained some of the trends in core tech startups in the country. According to him, Indians who left for the US are returning and starting up in India rather than in the US. The presence of corporate talent R&D centres is another trend that is emerging in India.
Kiran believes that India has one of the toughest infrastructures, especially the ones that are technology-driven. “The innovations used here are often used in remote areas of Japan,” he said.
Kiran said Japanese corporates or VCs are a bit “slow” when it comes to taking decisions regarding investments, which are counterproductive for a startup. The capital from Japan is mostly “patient” capital, unlike China where you get immediate returns and fast growth. However, according to Mayank, it is a misconception that Japanese firms are slow.
LetsVenture founder and CEO Shanti Mohan and YourStory founder Shradha Sharma spoke on how global corporate entities were collaborating with Indian startups.
India being one of the largest markets for early funding, LetsVenture plans to enable alternate capital into the startup ecosystem. In the last five years, LetsVenture has invested around $63 million across around 60 startups. Shanti said, “Countries like India will be complicated or intimidating to understand for a person outside India. Moreover, India is the most active in terms of the number of investors.”
Shradha spoke of YourStory’s continuous efforts to partner professionally and personally with startups or corporates, and help them by telling their stories. Its dream in two years is to reach 200 million people, she added. Started in 2008, YourStory works with around 140 multinational and international corporates like Shell, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, IBM, Cisco etc.
Taking off globally
An emerging trend is that gaming and content startups are looking to expand to the eastern as well as the western parts of the world. Sanjay Nath, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Blume Ventures, and Karan Mohla of IDG ventures talked about success stories of Indian startups going global.
Karan said both B2B and B2C companies today wish to go beyond India - to the US, China, Southeast Asia, and Japan. IDG Ventures invests in the Indian companies that want to become global leaders.
Locus and Grey Orange are among Blume Ventures’ investees, which have expanded globally. Singapore-based medtech startup Tricog, which is primarily focussed on India, plans to expand to Japan and China. GreyOrange is a technology startup that creates hardware and software products for the warehousing industry, while Locus is an intelligent logistics automation platform.