by Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder, Paytm
2014 has been the most exciting year for India’s consumer technology business. I have not seen this kind of euphoria since Internet came to India. Finally that elusive 100 million user mark got breached. Some even say we already have more than 200Mn people online.
Now that we have the momentum of decreasing smartphone prices and mobile operators taking mobile internet seriously, It won’t be long before we have half a billion active internet users in India.
Here I am picking 10 key trends and things to watch out for:
1. Billion dollar cheque: Kudos to Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal for breaking the ceiling of the amount that can be raised by an Indian company in a year. Amazon fashionably matched it by double next day. An India startup raising such large money is a milestone for all us, and sets the benchmark for future funding.
2. Rise and Rise of eCommerce: Whether a diaper or taxi, more Indians bought via their mobile or desktop. Online commerce finally has reached a tipping point and there is no coming back. Expect many takes on this. Big ecommerce players becoming bigger. Newer players will be smarter, with new busiess models: local commerce, on-demand commerce, mobile messaging based commerce.
3. Raising $100Mn is new norm: There is serious large money available for potentially big businesses. Indian businesses (tech or non tech) had problem of access to large capital, now that has changed. There are hundreds of people who are ready to give a large amount of money for your bold audacious plan. I expect this trend to keep growing.
4. Indian Unicorns: One thing is sure that India will have 10’s of billion dollar tech companies. Only two questions are left to be answered: Firstly, how many billion dollar companies will be created in India? Secondly, will there be $100Bn tech companies from India?
5. Apps are hot: It gave birth to the growth hacker, and led to religious fights over which OS you develop for first. India is an Android country and your Android app rating is new Oscar award. Everyone talked about their big mobile plans, but only a few have understood and done it right. The battle will be fierce this year.
6. 1 Crore Salary Club: Adding ESOPs and cash, many more people are now in 1 Crore+ annual benefit club. Talent will become new currency, everyone want ton of it.
7. Ad Tech in India is cold: India has couple of 100 million users but Indian adverting technology companies could not make much money in Indian market. InMobi leads it in global markets, but hasn’t yet made money (like Google or FB) in India. Lets see what 2015 has in store!
8. Acceleration by Accelerators: While we saw large money in late stage, there was a rush of early stage money and help too. If you are starting up, there 150% chance of you getting into an accelerator. If Indian accelerators don’t have a seat, there are global accelerators welcoming more and more Indian entrepreneurs.
9. Early Stage capital: It was never more fashionable to be an start up. Now there is more capital to support it too. Angel funds, networks, accelerators and even VC’s are doing early stage investments. There are many more sincere options out there, and I hope there will be no more horrendous funding-shark stories now.
10. Big Exits: One of most important part of business investment and startup ecosystem is exits. Finally, we saw acquihire and some serious $100 Million dollar exits.
That’s it from me. What about you? How about, your trends in comment below.