With the year, almost drawing to a close, it is perhaps a good time to reflect on how the startup ecosystem has performed in the country. It has been a fascinating year and some of the early presumptions about starting up have begun to unravel. Beginning early this year, we saw a great rush of venture money and a significant uptick in valuations. As a seed round of a million dollars became the new norm, startups started mushrooming throughout the count ..
IoT and Wearables - The entire Internet of Things (IoT) has been literally forced down our throat by big tech companies, which has meant over a billion dollars have been invested in startups in the IoT space globally over the past few months. Technology companies and their investment arms like Intel, Cisco, Microsoft, Qualcomm and big VC firms like Sequoia Capital, NEA, Andreessen Horowitz and others have made a sizeable investment in the space. While I am a great believer of IoT and its potential, there seems to have been more hype than substance till now. However, that has not stopped a number of startups trying to do some interesting stuff around IoT. Probably it will take us some more time before we can start seeing the full benefits of IoT.
On the other hand the entire Wearables segment has seen a number of significant products taking over our life. This segment is largely propelled by fitness products that look to help us maintain a healthy lifestyle. Fitness bands are the most popular Wearables today, followed by Smartwatches. While top tech companies like Samsung and Apple have thrown everything behind their Smartwatches, even Google has tried its hand in it. It is not surprising that many startups now consider Wearables he next big thing.
Food Tech – This is perhaps that segment that has taken everyone by surprise. While the segment has been simmering for some time now with the likes of Zomato doing a good job, the amount of startup interest in the segment has been a revelation. This has been mainly because the food and restaurant industry till now has been largely fragmented with little or no tech adoption. Startups have figured out a lot can be done in the aggregation business and in delivery. The sub segments that have done well in the space include both eat at home ordering and delivery, restaurant discovery and booking (table reservation), in restaurant payments, office food delivery and recipe aggregators. Some of the emerging players like TinyOwl, DineOut and Zeppery should be on watch out.
Hyperlocal – At any point of the day, my local market today has more delivery boys compared to actual shoppers. With the likes of Grofers, BigBasket and Pickingo vying for your attention as your on demand delivery partner, there is an explosion of hyperlocal services. From delivering fruits, vegetable, pulses, to transportation services, hyperlocal startups have managed to grab their fair share of eyeballs and investor money. However, this sector has become very competitive and it is will be interesting to see how these startups scale and evolve in the future.
Operations & Logistics Management – According to global startup analyst firm Tracxn about 90 startups and 50 plus startups have been founded in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Top funded startups include the likes of Delhivery, Ecom Express and Gofers. The sector has seen a lot of interest primarily because of the growth of ecommerce in India. The startups in the segment have now started finding niches and diving deeper. This has led to the emergence of local delivery startups, food delivery startups, intra-city, inter city, overseas, courier aggregators, ecommerce shippers and local transport and freight aggregators. Of the many sub segments, local delivery, wellintercity transport and local transport and fright aggregators have seen considerable attention. Some of the interesting startups in managing Operations efficiency in Merchant operations such as FocusDigit should be on watchout list.
Local Services Marketplace: In a world where we are increasingly busy, availing services may not be easy. Whethewellr you need a plumber, electrician, a dance teacher or someone to teach you yoga, a plethora of startups now help you zero in on the desired service provider. Other services include caterers, photographers, drivers among others that make up the otherwise fragmented market. Startups like UrbanClap, Taskbob, LocalOye and Qyk have raised funding and managed to grab to part of the lucrative market. Investors active in this field are SAIF Partners, Accel Partners, Orios Venture Partners, Mayfield, Tiger Global, Lightspeed and even Snapdeal cofounders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal. While the primary way to avail local services have been through online search or through classified platforms, local services marketplace and aggregators make it seamless, allows greater price discovery and also greater choice. This has led to increasing popularity of such startups.
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