India will be the epicentre for edtech and SaaS startups, VCs say at TechSparks 2021
The Indian startup ecosystem seems to be on a roll this year as billions of dollars are being invested to nurture innovative businesses. Many companies — on either side of the billion-dollar valuation — have also started to list on the public markets, striving to build innovative global businesses and nurturing the talent that the country possesses.
At YourStory's flagship startup-tech conference, TechSparks 2021, venture capitalists came together for a panel discussion on the topic: 'From the Investor’s lens: Seizing the India opportunity' and talked about why India's business environment is roaring and how entrepreneurs are looking at the world as one marketplace.
The rise of edtech
Amit Patel, MD, Owl Ventures, said, “India is the epicentre for great education tech startups driven by factors such large student population, connected devices, demography trends which make this compelling opportunity.”
He further noted that Indian edtech startups have cracked code to meet demand worldwide and are successfully executing it. This is one of the reasons why US-based Owl Ventures has made deep investments into Indian startups that are focused on the edtech segment.
He believes that by investing in the edtech segment, the country will create many more multi-billion dollar companies.
“There is a whole host of innovation which is happening in various categories by the edtech companies in India which are serving the global audiences,” said Amit.
Why Indian startups stand out
But what makes India such an attractive destination for internet startups? Moderating the session, Amitabh Nagpal, Head of Startup Ecosystem India, Amazon Internet Services Pvt Ltd asked this question to the panel members.
Rahul Chowdhri, General Partner, Stellaris Venture Partners, answered it cryptically: market, capital, and talent.
Elaborating further, Rahul said all the three elements have evolved significantly in the country amid increased tech adoption, and the icing on the cake is that the markets are recognising the importance of these internet startups.
The experts also suggested that the startups need to figure out their customers as the Indian population is very large and diverse, which requires different solutions for various income strata of the society.
Amitabh asked Amit about the differences between the startup ecosystems in India and the United States.
While Amit pointed out that the differences are actually blending, what impressed him about Indian entrepreneurs is their ability to build at scale and execute it with quality.
“It is admirable that Indian startups are not only pursuing domestic opportunity but also thinking quite early about international expansion,” Amit said.
At the same time, startups in India also currently face big challenges, especially when it comes to the cost of hiring talent, which in some cases, has gone beyond expectation.
Rahul was of the opinion that one should keep an eye out for these red flags, however, it shouldn't hinder startups from focusing on their true mission.
Amit said, “Companies can still hire talent who believe in their mission and it has a long term value.”
This is also the time when technology is changing rapidly and the world is seeing the emergence of new business models. This has been admirably captured by Indian SaaS startups, that are breaking into markets through remote selling.
Rahul said, “There are numerous opportunities for Indian SaaS startups and India is a nice market to test and then take it to the global audience.”
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For a line-up of all the action-packed sessions at YourStory's flagship startup-tech conference, check out TechSparks 2021 website.