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Indian startups should build products for the world to sustain wave

(From left) Varsha Tagare, MD, Qualcomm Ventures, Kosturi Ghosh, partner, Trilegal, Vikas Agnihotri, operating partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers, and Shweta Bhatia, partner and head of technology investments, Eight Roads Ventures India..Premium
(From left) Varsha Tagare, MD, Qualcomm Ventures, Kosturi Ghosh, partner, Trilegal, Vikas Agnihotri, operating partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers, and Shweta Bhatia, partner and head of technology investments, Eight Roads Ventures India..

Entrepreneurs driving India’s great tech wave should build products for the globe, as they might find it difficult to sustain the wave with only India as their market, feel tech investors and startup founders.

MUMBAI : Entrepreneurs driving India’s great tech wave should build products for the globe, as they might find it difficult to sustain the wave with only India as their market, feel tech investors and startup founders.

“We may have to look at Indian companies actually building global platforms and global businesses as against just only focusing on India for a short- to mid-period," Naveen Tewari, founder and chief executive officer of India’s first unicorn, InMobi Technology Services Pvt Ltd, told the Mint India Investment Summit 2022.

This is because unit economics of the Indian market does not support companies to build highly profitable, scalable businesses that can compete with the global businesses, he said. So, the challenge for India is not to create another few hundred unicorns but for India as a market to sustain those businesses.

Tewari, however, noted that beyond all the hype around the creation of Indian unicorns, the hard realities of starting a business should not be lost upon the country.

Meanwhile, Good Glamm Group, a beauty commerce unicorn, is looking to build for the world, according to the company’s Co-founder Priyanka Gill.

“So, the markets need to be large enough for us to sustain and at the Good Glamm Group, of course we are an Indian group right now, but we are looking to global markets to see where else we can take this dimension forward. So definitely all of us are waiting with bated breath for per capita in India to increase and until that happens, I think it’s time for Indian companies to take kind of innovation forward and expand not only our ambitions but also to (global) markets," Gill added.

According to Shweta Bhatia, partner and head of technology investments at Eight Roads Ventures India, the venture capital firm is bullish on software made in India for the world.

“We’re finally at a point in the country now where software products built in India are increasingly becoming category leaders globally," said Bhatia.

She explained that India’s right to win in global SaaS (software-as-a-service) is only getting stronger because of its large developer base, thanks to 400,000 engineers coming out of college every year.

Corroborating Bhatia, Qualcomm Ventures’ Managing Partner Varsha Tagade, said that the venture capital firm is looking forward to innovations in the metaverse space, Tagade said.

“Qualcomm is very bullish about what we call the metaverse. It’s very difficult to have a hybrid environment which is not as engaging for the audience as well as the participants," Tagade said.

“So, at Qualcomm, we are investing very heavily in what you may think about Star Trek equipment, but it will make your life much more engaging and enriching. And not just in a consumer experience, but think about in a factory environment where you’re trying to repair machines, or in the healthcare environment. So very excited about what Metaverse brings to that," she added.

Japan’s SoftBank Group, which has been one of the lead backers of technology, deep-tech and SaaS in India, made 17 investments worth $3 billion in 2021 alone, Vikas Agnihotri, Operating Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers said.

“If you look at education and healthcare, with the number of schools and teachers that we have, and the number of doctors that we have, frankly tech is the only solution. That is the only way you will have both healthcare and education solved. It will not happen by physical infrastructure it will happen through a tech medium," Agnihotri added.

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