Mobile Technology: Opportunities Galore for Indian ENTREPRENEURS

Date:   Tuesday , March 04, 2014

SAIF Partners India is a leading private equity firm that provides both early stage and growth capital to companies in India. It has been investing in India since 2001 and has over 30 investments that majorly focus on IT, Internet, Mobile, Consumer Products & Services, Healthcare and others.

Investing on Mobile Platform is Fruitful
Technology product companies across mobile and web hold a brilliant future as they are scaling up rapidly. Startups today are leveraging the mobile platform to develop great consumer products for traditionally desktop web dominated sectors such as travel, healthcare and education. For instance, JustDial, where we are the earliest investors, is witnessing massive growth through its mobile platform.

Customer Needs Pushing Envelope for Innovative Mobile Products
Technology advancements are inspiring consumers to look for more convenience in this fast paced lifestyle. Indian users are also increasingly accessing internet through their mobile phones and mobile\'s advanced features have become a source for enabling payments through mobile for both types of goods � physical and digital. I am keenly focusing on these mobile based payment technologies in India. The inspiration was drawn from a startup in the U.S. known as Coin. It enables people to manage all their credit cards with one single card-like-device. A similar solution may work very well in India by replacing the card-like-device with a mobile phone.
Another promising area to look out for is the convergence of mobile and television. I have been tracking the Google Play Store for some time now and it is not surprising to see India becoming the second largest market by number of downloads. As a voracious consumer of content on handheld devices, I personally find the Google Chromecast a great addition for every gadget enthusiast. It has completely changed the contours of the game with extremely aggressive hardware pricing, thus lowering the barrier for adoption. Once hooked, a consumer would pay for the content and that is where the monetization really lies.

Huge Possibilities for Startups in India
Indian youths are considered as \"always-online\" population; hence India is ready for new online products for dating and relationships. Although existing matrimonial sites are still serving their purpose; people are evolving and becoming independent in terms of making life�s major decisions using technology, for example to look out for their life partner themselves. A fresh approach is needed to enhance these services along with customization based on Indian sensibilities instead of imitating any template from the U.S. The biggest challenge for such platforms is to attract women to join and ensure them a sense of security when they interact with an unknown person. I will be keen to see a startup do this and scale in India, as none of the players have managed to do it yet.
Another great opportunity is marketplaces that bring traditionally offline businesses such as healthcare, hospitality, travel and others to an online platform. These marketplaces should not be mere directory services that aid in discovery but also facilitate secure payments and bring in quality assurance through reviews and ratings.

Guideline for Indian Entrepreneurs
The amazing success stories coming out of India are spurring a revolution in India\'s startup scene. India\'s startup entrepreneurs are able to pursue their startup dreams as they are supported by a train of teams who are their college sabbaticals, supportive parents and early stage investors.
These entrepreneurs must start a business for the right reasons. Building companies should be around ideas they are deeply passionate about and not chasing something simply because it is in vogue with VCs at that moment. Passion and venture money need to go hand in hand. Ideas that solve a strong and real pain point for consumers will be productive in the long run even when the market size seems small today. Some venture into business because the product does not exist and thus the consumers have not realized the need for it. However, the truly ground breaking ideas are the ones that create a market for themselves. Technology in India is yet to solve a large number of issues and therefore many opportunities still exist.
On a more personal level, I respect every individual who chooses to walk down the brave path of entrepreneurship. It requires giving up a lot of things others would normally take for granted. Hats off to all those who do!