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Indian Startups Chasing The Golden Goose In The Global Playground

With increased globalization and technology, proliferation of Indian startups continues as they paint Indian brands on the world canvas.

Winds of Change

As per Venture Intelligence data, there are 31 Unicorn startups in India, 15 of which have global operations. Recently, we have seen a proliferation of Indian startups in consumer tech, Saas and fintech going global.

Indian startups have traditionally focused on the domestic market as there is a large customer base with increasing spending power. Some of the initial successful ventures like Flipkart, Swiggy and Big Basket are only focused on India. However, there is a gradual shift in how startups are approaching expansion plans. With aggressive growth plans funded by VCs, when they are not able to meet targets due to increased competition or execution delays and challenges, they have started exploring global markets. Sometimes there are evident demand-supply gaps in some emerging markets like Africa, Indian sub-continent and the Middle East, which provides a golden opportunity for our startups. Indian companies are resilient because they are used to the Indian market where almost everything differs by the region – from customer preference to distribution channels. Thus, they are better placed to fight in diverse global markets. Also, a lot of times the startups are ahead of time for India, and thus they find increased acceptance as well as purchasing power in global markets. 

The global entry provides domestic startups with an additional growth avenue. Further, building the ability to compete effectively in global markets makes them razor-focused on innovation and quality. Also, it provides access to the global ecosystem, global knowledge and talent base, which in turn helps them to improve their product offering further. 

What is aiding this journey?

Understanding the macro trends and market realities has helped Indian startups leverage opportunities in global markets. Further, companies which have been able to adapt and tweak their products/services to local customer needs have been successful in establishing a global footprint. For Zomato, a rich dining and food culture, the growing restaurant industry and a high number of Internet and mobile users are important to tap a new country. Further, successfully customizing their offerings, has kept users engaged and happy, and gives them a reason to keep coming back.

Technology has been pivotal in creating a global platform for Indian startups. It helps to expedite their journey by improving efficiency and productivity, driving down costs and enabling a remote working environment.

Global aspirations require deep pockets – liquidity and more avenues for fundraising have provided wings to these aspirations – the vibrant Indian VC funding environment has supported this growth. 

Further, some of the investors are global VCs which have a presence across geographies and are instrumental in helping Indian companies enter and establish their foothold in new waters. This could be through partnerships with similar companies in their portfolio or connecting them with customers and suppliers. 

Further, the acquisition is another route through which our startups have broken the ice to enter new markets. OYO has made a series of global acquisitions for spreading their winds – Singapore based co-working space Innov8, Copenhagen based firm Damanica, one of the largest players in the European online market for accommodation rentals, Leisure Group.

Government support to our startups is another booster shot. Indian startups have long-lasting and traditional ties with the UK, however, other European countries like Sweden and Denmark are fast emerging as promising partners for Indian startups. Further, Invest India’s tie-ups with other Governments have helped foster cross-border investments and curate Indian companies’ global aspirations.  

Global corporations like Google and Cisco have also been enablers for startups. Google runs and partners with leading co-working spaces, accelerator programs and events to help startups do what they do best. Cisco LaunchPad provides deep-tech startups with business-led coaching and strategic support like access to mentors with the objective to facilitate sharing, discovering, networking, inspiring and developing new skills.

Set on global maps – some known, some undiscovered

Most of us are aware of the global journey of OYO – expanding its base from India to Malaysia to Nepal to UK, UAE, Dubai, China, Singapore, Indonesia, making them the world’s 3rd largest hotel chain by room count, transitioning itself from a startup to a global hotel chain. Even Zomato has expanded its operations to 24 countries boasting of 100 million+ monthly active foodies globally. 

There are some undiscovered or rather lesser-known startups, away from the usual limelight, which have made it big across the globe.

One such unicorn startup is Freshworks, provider of cloud-based customer engagement software, which has exponentially expanded its ecosystem of partners. It has grown to 700 apps and counting, created by more than 350 partners globally, spread across over 40 countries. Then there is Druva, which started originally in Pune and today, has set adorned the crown of the largest and fastest-growing SaaS data protection company. 

With increased globalization and technology, this trend is likely to continue, making us proud, as they paint Indian brands on the world canvas.  

Source: Business World

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