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How VC firms are powering the success of deeptech startups in retail sector

From financial support to strategic guidance and risk management, VC firms are powering the progress and success of deeptech startups in Bharat's retail sector.

How VC firms are powering the success of deeptech startups in retail sector

Sunday June 02, 2024 , 5 min Read

The retail landscape in Bharat is quickly progressing, powered by a wave of modernisation directed by deeptech startups. These startups, furnished with cutting-edge technology solutions, are restructuring how customers communicate with businesses and altering out-of-date retail models. Fresh unicorns are expected to add $1 trillion to the Indian economy, which would hold about $7 trillion by 2030, and would make available 50 million new jobs, according to a report published by industry body CII.

At the core of this change lies the vital support offered by venture capital firms, which perform an essential function in powering the progress and success of these startups. Today, deeptech claims a stable 20% share of venture capital funding, up from about 10% a decade ago, according to a new report and research from Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Deeptech Startups in Bharat's retail sector

Deeptech startups have executed cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain to transform customer experiences, supply chain management, and data analytics in the retail industry.

Bharat’s retail sector is a lively and varied market encompassing traditional brick-and-mortar stores, ecommerce platforms, and innovative tech-driven retail ventures. With a rising middle class and intensifying internet penetration, the retail landscape in the country offers enormous chances for improvement and expansion.

Role of VCs in fuelling innovation

  • Financial Support - Venture capital can play a fundamental role in the advancement of deeptech startups, especially when it comes to providing substantial financial resources. Deeptech ventures in the retail sector rely heavily on fundamental research to develop new technologies, which translates to the need for extensive R&D, specialised equipment, and highly skilled personnel. For a firm in its nascent stage, these costs can be prohibitive for sustaining business operations, let alone growth. This is where VCs can play a major role for deeptech startups. With their ability to pool a significant amount of capital from various investors, VCs can provide the necessary funding that is often provided in stages, starting with an initial seed investment followed by larger rounds based on the startups' progress. This explains why deep tech startups in India, as per Statista, raised about $10 billion in funding in 2023.

  • Strategic Guidance - Apart from providing financial support, venture capital also plays an integral role in contributing to the strategic growth of deeptech startups. By leveraging their industry experience, VCs provide strategic mentorship to these startups, which enables them to navigate complex technological and regulatory landscapes. For instance, VCs can help these startups identify the promising applications of their technology and refine their business models. With their industry connections and well-established networks, VCs also connect deeptech startups in the retail sector with potential customers and partners. This, in turn, allows them to accelerate their commercialisation process, bringing their innovations to market more swiftly. Cognizant of their importance, these startups made over 1,400 deals with VCs last year, as per Statista.
  • Risk management - Akin to other early-stage ventures, deeptech startups too face high levels of business risks instigated by uncertainties in technology and challenges in regards to market adoption. Unlike traditional funding sources like banks or public markets that are typically risk-averse, they often find solace in VCs whose high-risk, high-reward investment approach makes them a perfect match. By employing rigorous due diligence processes to assess the technical feasibility and market potential of deeptech innovations, VCs build diversified portfolios to efficiently spread and mitigate risk. This approach to embracing the risk of failure, a vital component of the innovation process, remains integral to the growth and advancement of deeptech in the retail sector--something that reflects in Statista's report highlighting a consistent increase in funding for deep tech startups since 2019.

Trends and challenges in the retail landscape

  • Technological advancements - Technological advancements such as augmented reality, data analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are reshaping the retail industry, offering personalised shopping experiences, predictive analytics for demand forecasting, and efficient inventory management solutions.
  • Challenges faced by deeptech startups in Bharat - Deeptech startups in Bharat's retail sector face challenges such as regulatory hurdles, talent acquisition, and market competition. Navigating these obstacles requires strategic planning, agility, and a strong understanding of consumer preferences and market dynamics.

Impact on consumer experience and market dynamics

Deeptech solutions are reforming the retail sector in Bharat, boosting consumer commitment and reformatting marketplace dynamics. By exploiting technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and IoT, merchants can customise consumer experiences, optimise operations, and gain competitive advantages in a fast-changing market.

Future outlook

The potential of the retail sector in Bharat is full of opportunities for deeptech startups to push innovation and growth. With the possibility for commotions in traditional retail models, emerging trends, and evolving consumer preferences, these startups have the likelihood to take advantage of new markets, technologies, and business strategies for sustainable success.

Wrapping up, the partnership among startups and venture capitalists in the retail sector portrays thrilling opportunities for innovation, growth, and disruption. Further, a NASSCOM report affirms that deeptech startups raised $2.7 billion in 2021, a year that saw Indian startups raise $37 billion in total. By concentrating on best practices for drawing funding, constructing successful up-and-coming partnerships, and leveraging deep tech solutions to enrich customer experiences, vendors can place themselves for long-term accomplishment in a vigorous and competitive market setting.

Edited by Megha Reddy

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)