Entrepreneurs discuss the future of Indian B2B industry at TechSparks 2021
The Indian business ecosystem has changed immensely in the last two years. From digitisation to meeting virtually and setting business targets online — a lot has happened in the business world amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we emerge from the deadly second pandemic wave and the country eases into adopting technology, many things are in the pipeline to shape up for the Indian B2B industry.
Speaking at TechSparks 2021 — YourStory’s flagship event — Roopa Jayaraman, SVP - Product and Technology Development, Odessa, and Ashish Jhina, Co-founder and COO,, discussed what’s next in the Indian B2B industry.
The rising B2B market
The COVID-19 pandemic has reset the way we look at our markets. This year, India registered 33 unicorns, presenting several opportunities.
Roopa said the clear focus of any player needs to be on problem-solving. She added, “Be very clear on the problem you are trying to solve for your customer, and there is ample opportunity in the market space.”
Supporting Roopa’s statement, Ashish added that an entrepreneur “must live the life of a customer”.
He said, “There’s a lot that’s still untapped. Speak with them and work with them to get the best of the ideas to innovate the product.”
Digitisation has opened many gates for the B2B sector, and the velocity and architects of businesses are fast changing.
Be it artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), supply chain management, cloud services, etc., integration between sectors holds a sweet spot.
In fact, this is also a space where without customer understanding and feedback, businesses couldn’t survive. Thus, predictive analysis of customers is important to strive in the competitive B2B space.
How to strive?
“Find something better you can do than anybody else in the life of a customer,” said Ashish, adding that Jumbotail identified the biggest problem of kiranas, who had to deal with hundreds of suppliers to keep 500-600 products in their stores.
Jumbotail solved this core problem and created a whole bunch of services to help kirana stores — from logistics, fintech to starting omnichannel stores, etc.
“When you have a problem-solving approach, competition becomes irrelevant,” he added.
Digital is the future
Digital transformation and improving SaaS and Cloud experience were already brewing in the B2B sector, and the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this growth.
What was seen as a roadmap for five to six years, overnight, became crucial for running a business. At present, all sectors are adopting the power of Cloud and API.
“One of the most important things for a business today is to have a strong digital capability. From selling to interacting, after-sales support, everything has a digital-first experience,” Roopa said.
Ashish said if a business starts by aggregating demand, it can catalyse substantial change in the ecosystem.
He added, “Digital is the way ahead today. Even in places like the outskirts of Lucknow, Ranchi, and Trichy, where ATMs take time to reach, digital payments are widely adopted.”
Building technology focussing on the customer requirements needs to be in the mainstream, Asish said.
According to Roopa and Ashish, unlearning and relearning is the mantra as COVID-19 made everyone realise. Every entrepreneur must have the ability to adapt to a new normal.
“We need to break the myths of collaboration. What seemed to be impossible about two years ago has completely disrupted the way,” Roopa said.
She added the entrepreneurial journey is exciting but hard. And, keeping the focus on solving customer problems will take them a long way.
“Keep the cost low, keep the burn low,” Ashish concluded.
To log in to our virtual events platform and experience TechSparks 2021 with thousands of other startup-tech enthusiasts from around the world, join here. Don't forget to tag #TechSparks2021 when you share your experience, learnings and favourite moments from TechSparks 2021.
For a line-up of all the action-packed sessions at YourStory's flagship startup-tech conference, check out TechSparks 2021 website.