Gearing up for the new normal: Indian startups are key to navigating disruption
From chaos, emerges opportunity. The Covid-caused chaos, one such that the world has not seen in nearly a century, has forced the business landscape to discover and create new opportunities.
The world has adapted to agile and flexible work practices, digital consumption has transformed the experiences of the physical world and increasingly, and we have started seeing an inversion in real-life activities – from shopping to factory work, digital information consumption, and user interfaces that have given the physical world digital characteristics.
Tangible catalysts of growth
With the changes in global trade partnerships, manufacturing has been moving to drive value and using technology and digitalisation. It is no surprise that many consumer services and product companies are realigning their online strategies to achieve long-term strategic goals impelled by the pressures of the pandemic.
At the same time, consumers and retailers have also taken to tech-adoption at timescales that have been compressed compellingly, forcing everyone to consider the need to future-proof their businesses.
The future is evolving in ways we had not yet imagined, and technology-enabled business trends are stimulating growth, innovation, and a new flutter of pace-setting ideas. The future is not tomorrow, but it is today, standing right at our doorsteps.
Another set of disruption reasons which adds to the above is to do with technology and talent. The 5G rollout in India by early-2022 will create a new wave of business disruptions and with the number of Indian developers set to overtake that of the US by 2023, the mix is a potent one, considered along with India's software skills and entrepreneurial passion.
AI and blockchain are emerging trends that are creating new solutions for old problems. The young and the old are now discussing startups with equal excitement and access to technology, resources and talent are equally available to all.
Soft catalysts of growth
India's domestic consumption is higher than many others in the world. Local consumption and divergent customer preferences will allow businesses to tap into innovations that can go global. With a median age of 28.1, lower than most developing and developed nations, India will also likely lead the tech-consumption bandwagon of the future.
With 21 unicorns and nearly 50 ‘soonicorns’, the soon-to-be-unicorns, India, stands at the pivot of a ground-breaking phase for creating global disruption. It should be mentioned that in 2020, India was also among the top 50 innovative nations on the Global Innovation Index.
Dynamic startup community
Most Indian startups have successfully pivoted multiple times to overcome the pandemic blues, and in the process, have become more efficient and resilient while navigating the multi-language, multi-terrain, multi-choice, price-sensitive Indian market.
They have listened to their consumers more intently, and have created sharper business models, offerings, and functionality. This entrepreneurial mindset change, though accelerated by the extended lockdown, consumer, and resource scarcity is a permanent one.
Shared wealth: The new economy in building
Shared wealth is the model of the future. Transformative businesses are not easy to build and scale, and need much more than just great people, ideas, or technology. And to co-create business, our philosophy has been to help consumer startups with long-term patient capital, thought-partnership, hands-on operational support, industry networks, and access to resources to achieve an exponential growth trajectory and high leverage for success.
We believe the biggest opportunity lies in startups that are focused on transitioning consumer behaviour – from unorganised to organised purchases, unbranded to branded consumption, or led by new brands with innovative distribution and supply chain models, creating and fulfilling new demand.
Our focus has been on discovering and co-creating disruptive businesses to drive aggressive growth with resources that give them the highest leverage to become a multi-bagger around consumption themes of the future.
Never let a crisis go to waste, has been oft heard. In the case of Indian start-ups, they could not afford to let it go to waste, lest it destroys them. From this crisis, many have, and many will surely emerge to capture the imagination and the consumers of the world.