Vernacular startups paving a new approach in the business world

In a panel discussion with YourStory’s Daily Dispatch, powered by HSBC, Jasmeet Thind, Co-founder, CoutLoot, and Vinay Singhal, Co-founder, Stage, shared insights on the emerging trends of vernacular approach by Indian startups.
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India is a land of diverse cultures, traditions, and languages. A majority of the Indian population speaks regional languages, while a small percentage speaks English. According to a Lok Foundation survey, 12 percent of urban and 3 percent of rural people in India speak English.

Indian startups are taking a vernacular approach and doing business in local languages, making services and products more accessible to people in ‘Bharat’.

To discuss more, Jasmeet Thind, Co-founder, Coutloot, and Vinay Singhal, Co-founder, STAGE, joined YourStory Daily Dispatch for an insightful panel discussion.

According to Jasmeet, India is an early-stage consumer market, and therefore, people are more comfortable consuming things in their native language.

Speaking on the idea behind pursuing the vernacular market, he added, “We thought that while our formal language is English, the better way to connect to our users is through local language.”

Social commerce startup CoutLoot is incorporating the language aspect into its ecommerce marketplace to reach the hinterlands of the country.

On the other hand, Stage, a regional OTT platform, brings the “dialect” perspective to the table.

Vinay said everybody looks at the vernacular space from a language perspective, but Stage brings a whole new outlook. “In India, language is an urban concept. The moment you move beyond urban settlements, everybody speaks a dialect,” he added.

At Stage, its definition of “regional” is hyperlocal, and the startup has taken a bottom-up approach, where it captures local stories, cultures, and contexts through its video entertainment platform.

In terms of key metrics, Jasmeet said CoutLoot has a total of 12 million users and over two million monthly active users and nearly 6.5 lakh stores on its platform. “The best part of doing this business is that I got to know a lot more about India,” he shared.

Jasmeet added the Indian bazaar’s biggest problem is ‘demand’, and CoutLoot is trying to solve this by bringing their businesses to an online marketplace and increasing their sales.

“We’re a platform that fights for the little guy,” said Jasmeet. The startup integrates local language into the ecommerce platform and helps sellers by driving demand for them.

Talking about growth metrics, Vinay said, Stage is seeing over two million downloads on the platform. It recently launched its iOS app and is expecting a rise in its user base.

At present, Stage has a library with close to 150 hours of content on its platform, which means 1000+ unique videos. In terms of subscribers, it started paid subscriptions in April 2021 and has almost a hundred thousand subscribers.

Edited by Suman Singh

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