The Indian startup story continues to grow as the year comes to an end. With quite a lot of emerging startups in the country, there is hope and promise for a lot of product innovators to make opportunities for themselves and many others by creating great products and services within the Indian market.
Recently, Nasscom chose the top 10 promising startups in India, showcasing some real players who have created great traction and made buzz within the industry so far. This year, Nasscom has started showing great interest within the Indian startup community, and the efforts continue. Global eyeballs are certainly on the Indian startup market, with a lot of foreign investors, VCs, and even institutions betting big on this market. What is the reason that these domestic startups are succeeding, and how is Nasscom evaluating their value add to the startup community in India?
As per this Economic Times article, Ravi Gururaj, chairman of the Nasscom Product Council, said that the strategy of targeting domestic players will benefit these startups, as international rivals do not understand the nuances of India.
"Until now, the domestic market has been a sleeping giant," said Ashish Gupta, senior managing director at Helion Venture Partners. "Things have changed."
Ventures like Nanobi and Exotel develop applications that mine hidden insights from data, as well as tools to monitor and measure employee productivity.
Local demand is also growing, due to increasing internet and mobile penetration and cloud-based applications for sectors from hospitality to healthcare, which are driven by ease of use and lower cost.
Most of these product startups are located in South India, mainly driven by the availability of skilled engineers. Zinnov, a management consultancy that closely tracks the technology sector, estimates that between now and 2015, up to 600 product companies will be created every year.
What is interesting is how a lot of these companies have maintained focus on keeping the drive for success through meticulous approach and driving their dream by keeping at it one day at a time. Here is the compiled list from the article with a look at how they are making their startup a success story.
1. Nanobi Analytics: India's first Analytics App store, with Mahesh Ramakrishnan as its founder, they have seed capital INR 7 million and a target revenue of INR 2.5-5 billion by 2014-15. It helps 36 million small and medium businesses with low cost analytics. In April, the first product was rolled out and Nanobi signed up Cafe Coffee Day as one of its first customers. The startup charges enterprises between Rs 1,500 and Rs 20,000 for an analytics application.
2. Exotel: This telephony startup which we have featured in the past looks quite promising and is on the radar as they have simplified telephony for Indian firms with their software offering virtual call center for SME's. Co-Founded by Shivakumar Ganesan, Ishwar Sridharan, Vijay Sharma this startup has a target revenue of INR 4 billion by 2013-14. Some of their customers include Redbus.in, Zivame among others. Exotel helps firms by offering cloud telephony through a single mobile number which can be routed to various mobile phones, to help firms deploy customer service via different people but with the firm having just one number. A mobile number or a toll free number can be bought online by a customer for a prepaid credit of INR 6000 for a quarter.
3. Flytxt: Flytxt helps companies with data analytics technology and services in the area of customer experience and revenue management. This firm from Kerala has customers across India as well as in places like Dhaka, Lagos, Nairobi and Dubai. The company has grown from two customers in 2008 to 29 by 2012. Their integrated big data analytics driven platform along with its mobile marketing consultancy helps operators achieve their marketing return on investment objectives. It has generated around $250 million for their customers till now.
4. Uniphore: This innovative startup provides cloud based voice applications for various businesses. Started off with a seed capital of INR 100,000 their target revenue is INR 1.2 billion in three years' time. Some of their top customers are huge financial institutions like Cholamandalam and Axis bank. They are building a voice-based application for businesses with both Indian language speech recognition and voice biometrics. Each application is tuned for regional particularities and accents, typically very useful for such institutions.
5. Voice of Big Data: This is an innovative company with something called as Facial signature as its designated product specialises in real-time facial recognition technology. Founded in April in 2012, it analyzes big chunks of data to identify faces real-time, despite superficial changes in appearance. The company is looking to raise capital in 2014 and said it will break even in June.
6. Wayebo Technologies: This startup provides voice interaction based business intelligence. Solving the real world problem of the discovery that 70 percent of leads for businesses are lost due to delays in connecting with potential customers, they incubated in 2009 in Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram. Waybeo launched their first product in 2011. BounzD, one of their popular products, streams voice via browsers and enables instant voice interaction between online customer and business.
7. Keypoint technologies: Their offering is that of a languag-based keyboard interface, with their flagship product Adaptxt which is an adaptive keyboard interface that helped the founder Sanjay Patel aid his brother who had lost an arm. Keypoint started operations in 2011, has 12 clients, and licenses Adaptxt to handset makers such as HP and Nokia. Its 102-strong languages database and 32 industrial dictionaries for professionals, gives it an edge over competitors such as SwiftKey and Swipe.
8. Linksmart Technologies: LinkSmart offers a collaboration of tamper evident and anti-counterfeiting technology. Their product is a security label that quite similar to bar codes in terms of securing product in logistics space. The product, called smartDNA, hopes to avert insider threats in organisations such as value asset logistics and asset vaulting companies. With a seed capital of INR 1 billion they have a target revenue of INR 922 billion within three years out of which they hope to generate a major part of the revenue through licensing its technology through its strategic partner and investor Intellectual Ventures.
9. Sapience Analytics: This startup helps increase productivity by measuring and analyzing employee data. Their product measures employees' work patterns on their computers, and provides various firms organization level analytics, and accordingly help companies increase productivity by 20 percent, without any extra management effort. With a seed capital of INR 6 billion they have a target revenue of INR 100 billion by 2016-17. Some of their customers include major IT firms such as KPIT Cummins, Tech Mahindra, BMC Software.
10. Cloudbyte: This startup is specifically focused on hosting disparate workloads on a single cloud storage platform. Their product called ElastiStor helps handle thousands of applications on its storage platform and its various performance demands, and hence reducing the storage footprint and the costs that come with it. With an initial funding of INR 1.5 billion and an added seed fund of INR 36.8 billion, they are certainly aspiring to grow higher in this space.
Quite an interesting pick by Nasscom for its 10 most promising startups, while many of them are emerging and have scaled some level of success, it will be very exciting to see how they progress in their chosen spaces. Do stay tuned for I might get to speak to some of them and get more details about their startups and how they aspire to achieve their targets in the future to come.