[Year in Review 2019] Top quotes by investors on startup opportunities in fintech, health, education, deep tech

In Part II of this quotes compilation, we share investor insights on how startups can tap opportunities in various vertical sectors in the India market.

Drawn from our comprehensive coverage of India’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, we present around a 100 quotes from investors on sector opportunities for Indian startups (see Part I of the compilation here). How are data and deep tech creating new opportunities? What will it take to boost India’s design and production capacity in hardware? What looming gaps can digital health entrepreneurs fill?

In addition to these questions, investors share insights on data analytics and AI in the agri sector, digital platforms for lending and insurance, the impact of financial inclusion, and tackling the challenges of mobility and pollution in India. Education financing, employee upskilling, the sharing economy, and global SaaS tools are other opportunities being addressed.

Share these quotes with your colleagues and networks, and check back to the original articles for more insights. See also our pick of the Top 10 Books of 2019 for Entrepreneurs, and our book review section with insights from 240 titles on innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, leadership and digital transformation.

Make it a habit to check out our Daily Capsule, Weekly Founding Roundup, and quotes compilation StoryBites, featuring notable quotable quotes in our articles of each past week. YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).

YourStory wishes all founders and investors a happy holiday season, and a year of success and scale ahead in 2020!


Deep tech is 'wow' tech. Today, computing power has changed so much that the way data is processed has also changed. - Swapna Gupta, Qualcomm Ventures

Globally, most countries are thinking of data protection, there are very few countries that have built a data empowerment architecture. - Nandan Nilekani

Identity is a key underlying infrastructure that drives digital transactions globally. - Vinod Khosla, Khosla Ventures

This decade will be shaped by companies who can transform business processes with new technology and provide a differentiated experience. - Scott Shleifer, Tiger Global Management

Customer experience software is stuck in the 2000’s era. Consumers have moved to smartphones and conversational interfaces, especially in the last few years. - Amit Somani, Prime Venture Partners

India does not have enough capital and manufacturing progress, especially when it comes to digital equipments. - TV Mohandas Pai, Aarin Capital

Online SaaS startups can market to, acquire, onboard, and service a larger number of customers with fewer resources than offline SaaS startups. This makes online SaaS a more scalable approach. - Adam Walker, Montane Ventures

For deep tech startups to emerge out of India, there has to be a strong partnership between industry, academia, and investors. - Naganand Doraswamy, Ideaspring Capital

With increasing digital penetration, a new creed of real estate customers has emerged in India that wants transactions to be convenient and fast. - Mayank Khanduja, SAIF Partners

Intelligent and automated systems will empower businesses to be more efficient in the coming decade. - Ravi Mehta, Steadview Capital

India is changing and it’s changing so rapidly. The internet, although in its infancy here, is taking away barriers between us all and making us equal. - Puneet Kumar, Nexus Venture Partners

One of the key challenges that VCs in India face when investing in deep tech companies is our collective lack of depth in technology. - Arpit Agarwal, Blume Ventures


Deep learning, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other technologies are changing how pathology and diagnostic are working. - Dheeraj Jain, Redcliffe Capital

Digital health can play an important role in addressing the country’s healthcare gaps and meeting its increasing demand for healthcare services. - Ruchira Shukla, IFC

India's radiologist to population ratio is extremely low at 1/100,000, which leads to long lead time in analysing and reporting on X-rays and scans. - Milind Shah, Unitus Ventures

We have to move from diagnostics and individual screening to screening large population sets, and only AI can help you do that. - Venugopal Ganapathy, Axilor Ventures

AI diagnostic tools are helping doctors scour through data to better diagnose a variety of abnormal conditions and is the only way to bridge the huge demand and supply gap when it comes to quality healthcare. - Manish Singhal, pi Ventures

Given India's huge population and the nearly 20 million additional people who will have access to fundamental healthcare as part of the Ayushman Bharat Yojana, startups have to leverage the power of technology to scale up. - Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, Venture Catalysts

Cancer is a global challenge. India alone adds more than a million patients every year. - Ranjith Menon, Chiratae Ventures

What’s exciting about where healthtech has reached today in India is the amount of funding coming into this sector. - Anjana Sasidharan, Sequoia

Mental health could very well be the next big epidemic to hit the human race. - Manish Singhal, pi Ventures

Skin and hair care in India is approximately $7 billion industry, and will achieve more than $10 billion in valuation over the next two-three years. - Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, Venture Catalysts

The beauty and wellness market is consistently growing, but the industry has been running on outdated technology. - Shekhar Kirani, Accel

The women’s wellness space is in great need of being invigorated and catalysed. - Prashant Mehta, Lightbox


It’s a great time to be an agri-entrepreneur as data and technology revolution grips the agriculture sector in India. - Avishek Gupta, Caspian Impact Investments

Growth prospects offered by India’s agri and food sector are phenomenal and is all set for a big revolution. Many of the agri-food products grow in double digits. - Martin Wittwer, Pioneering Ventures

Supplying fresh fruits and vegetables from farm to fork has been a challenge for years. - Rajesh Sehgal, Equanimity Ventures

Without the standardisation and digitisation of quality assessment of agricultural produce, e-Mandi, and digital agri markets will remain a distant dream. - Puneet Kumar, Nexus Venture Partners

Increasing the profitability of smallholder farmers is the most important priority in rural India. - Jinesh Shah, Omnivore

The meat and seafood segment in India is pegged to be a $30 billion market. - Tushar Singhvi, CE Ventures


India is one of the most exciting fintech markets in the world. - Philip Aldis, Goldman Sachs

There is an increase in startups that go beyond payments and credit and into areas like savings, investments and insurance. - Roopa Kudva and Amol Warange, Omidyar Network

Investors are still looking to finance early-stage startups in the innovative insurance and financial product space. - Abishek Surendran, pi Ventures

Digital lending is revolutionising access to capital for MSMEs. - Pankaj Makkar, Bertelsmann India Investments

As retail participation in equity investments grows in India, investors are increasingly looking for easy to understand, transparent, low cost investment products. - Harshjit Sethi, Sequoia Capital India Advisors

Peer-to-peer lending is an emerging sector in India and we believe it will play an integral role in shaping the Indian consumer credit market in the near term. - Avnish Bajaj, Matrix India

Innovation in rural lending is the next frontier for financial services. - Sajid Fazalbhoy, Blume Ventures

There is tremendous potential in the small and micro lending segment. - Vikram Gupta, IvyCap Ventures

Low income consumers are underserved when it comes to financial services and pay the higher access cost for basic financial services. - Vikram Vaidyanathan, Matrix India

There is strong potential for inclusive fintech startups to reach historically underserved communities while generating returns. - Vikas Raj, Accion Venture Lab

Quality and scale will determine success in financial services in the future. - Parth Gandhi, AION Capital

The best innovation (in a sector) comes from people who don’t come from that area. No fintech startup has come from anybody who knew anything about fintech. - Vinod Khosla, Khosla Ventures

Mobility and logistics

Two-wheelers are the choice of transportation as much in the top 30 cities in India as the rest of the country. - Siddharth Nautiyal, Omidyar Network India

The trillion-dollar global logistics market is ripe for disruption via technological change, particularly AI and Machine Learning-driven solutions. - Navroz D Udwadia, Falcon Edge Capital

Smart Cities present the next wave of opportunity for investments as pollution and climate change become more and more severe. - Shailesh Vickram Singh, Massive Fund

Two-wheeler ride-sharing is unlocking new customer base in India by bringing convenience at an affordable price. - Jeffrey Yam, Integrated Capital

A company that can execute well in the micro-mobility space could become a large company serving the domestic market. - Varsha Tagare, Qualcomm Ventures India

The micro-delivery space is a large addressable market, offering real convenience to customers for their daily requirements. - Ashish Sharma, InnoVen Capital

Startups must look beyond just efficiency of energy. One needs to figure out entire solutions around renewable energy, energy storage, and electric vehicles. - Vignesh Nandakumar, Aspada Ventures

In India, the first use of EVs is going to be the shared use - less of personal use and more where you can extract so much juice out of it that it becomes economically viable. - Vignesh Nandakumar, Aspada Investments

Indians are travelling for leisure more than ever before, seeking adventures and interesting experiences, both within and outside the country. - Sweta Jagirdar, Tres Monos Capital


Education financing is a massive under-served opportunity in India where a tiny percentage of students have access to bank credit. - Ritesh Banglani, Stellaris Venture Partners

A highly impactful and profitable business can be built in the large and untapped higher education financing space. - Sarvesh Kanodia, Omidyar Network India

Student housing is a large and underserved need globally, but in India, the supply-demand gap is particularly stark because of a rapidly growing outstation student population. - Navroz D. Udwadia, Falcon Edge Capital

The need of the hour is to improve the employability of our youth and leverage technology to enable them to meet both their potential and aspirations. - Sai Sundaram, SucSEED

In the last few decades, higher education in India has hardly seen any innovation whether in curriculum or methodology. - Amit Somani, Prime Venture Partners

Reading is a simple and inexpensive tool everyone has access to. It’s a great democratic tool. - Aniruddha Malpani, Malpani Ventures

With increasing aspirations of Indians, music education is definitely on the rise. - Padmaja Ruparel, IAN Fund

Other trends

Rental culture and recycling or reuse is here to stay as youth understand wastage more than the last generation or two. - Karthik Reddy, Blume Ventures

Creating value for customers in an age-old traditional construction market is one of the hardest and unique problems to solve. - Prashanth Prakash, Accel

Indian grocery retail market is approximately 70 percent of total the retail market in India. - Anup Jain, Orios Venture Partners

Creating value for millions of kirana stores, and their ecosystem of brands and consumers is one of the hardest problems to solve - Rajesh Raju, Kalaari Capital

Empowering tens of millions of small businesses to more effectively procure and sell goods is not only a massive business opportunity but will help transform the economy. - Brad Gerstner, Altimeter Capital

There is a gap in demand for sports facilities among people of all age groups and supply of good quality facilities. - Shweta Singh, SRI Capital

While the introduction of mobile gaming has seen the global gaming market reach new heights of success, it has also laid the groundwork for an even larger phenomenon - the post-mobile gaming market. - Yuki Kawamura, AET Fund Japan

The budget hotel market in India has matured in the past couple of years. - Tarun Davda, Matrix India

Despite India controlling almost 25 percent of tea production, there is almost a negligible presence of a premium India brand on the world map. - Nikhil Vora, Sixth Sense Ventures

Organisations of all sizes and scale face the challenge of improving employee engagement and retention. - Manu Rikhye, growX Ventures

To prevent wastages and unsold stocks, manufacturers have to have a firm grip on forecasting trends. - Sailesh Tulshan, 021 Capital

Coworking has changed the way commercial real estate business is conducted globally and has picked up a lot of steam in India. - Kshitij Sheth, ChrysCapital

Larger ticket sizes are a consequence of the ‘new normal’ in venture capital globally. There is more capital in VC now and more VC funds than ever before. - Pranav Pai, 3one4 Capital

In a high-growth market like India, B2C needs very large, deep-pocketed investors. - Bhaskar Majumdar, Unicorn India Ventures

Investing is mostly making mistakes as well. - Munish Varma, Softbank

Angel investing does not make you rich. About 80 percent of startups fail. - Aniruddha Malpani, Malpani Ventures

If you focus on the mass market, over time, the general economic development trajectory in the country will enable you. - Hans Tung, GGV Capital

You need a strong tailwind. You may be a great sailor, but if there is no wind or if it is against you, you will only go so far. - Alok Goyal, Stellaris Venture

The economic slowdown will have a trickle down impact on startups. - Rutvik Doshi, Inventus (India) Advisors

It is time for a better kind of capitalism. - Andrew Kuper, LeapFrog Investments

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).