2020 Predictions for India’s Startups

– via ajuniorvc.com by Aviral

We are at the end of the year, the end of a decade, and the beginning of a time to reflect on the year gone by. As 2019 ends, we make 6 predictions for 2020.

While we may be very right, or horribly wrong, we are committing by writing.

#1: Logistics Will Raise Most Capital

Logistics is a legacy industry and truckers and courier companies are not the first ones to be associated with tech.

But what is surprising, over $600MM flowed into logistics space this year, making it the second most funded tech-enabled sector.  It was the only sector to see 2 players become unicorns in 2019, Delhivery in the third-party logistics provider (3PL) segment and Rivigo in the trucking space. Blackbuck is close to being a unicorn.

The 3PL segment has gone from strength to strength. While a smaller player like Shadowfax raised money from Flipkart, a larger player like Ecom Express turned profitable this year. Traditional players like Blue Dart are unsuccessfully grappling with change, attesting to the extent of disruption caused by the new-age players.

There are three drivers of why we think logistics will be the hottest space for investors next year.

First is the sheer size of the market opportunity. The market is $200Bn+, disorganized and catered to by small fragmented players.

Second is customer demand. One-day free deliveries have become a norm, creating a higher need to have fast and efficient logistics services.

The third is profitability pressure. E-commerce players are increasingly coming under pressure for their inability to reduce losses. Delivery costs are significant for such players and tend to rise with the demand that is sporadically distributed over non-metro cities. This translates into more and more delivery transactions outsourced by the likes of Amazon, Flipkart and D2C brands to 3PL players.

Startups in this segment are increasingly becoming ‘full-stack’ with the provision of services like warehousing, payments, cross-border shipping etc.

Within the trucking space, startups are attempting to solve for the sector’s core challenges around low asset utilisation, unpredictable demand, dependence on brokers for procuring freight, high-maintenance costs and poor financing options.

The importance of this segment is highlighted by the fact that India spends one of the highest amounts, as a percentage of GDP, on logistics and transportation costs. Thus, these startups that attempt to reduce the friction in the process and delivery cost savings have a clear value proposition for all interested parties.

Outside of companies that enable the fulfillment and delivery of goods, there is a long list of startups that offer software solutions for logistics and supply chain optimisation. Interesting ones that we would be watching are Locus, LocoNav and Freight Tiger.

We expect large investments to continue to flow to help organize this sector, while smaller tech enablers will continue to attract capital in 2020.

#2: B2B E-Commerce Will Go Full Stack

Certain sectors have risen in 2019 largely backed by the Jiofication and smartphone penetration beyond India1 and India 2.

B2B commerce is the largest of them.

A large market also saw infusions of capital in smaller players, as it is not a ‘winner takes all’ market. ShopX, Jumbotail, ShopKirana, Moglix are enablers to watch out for

But there are two seminal moments which mark the beginning of B2B 2.0. v2.0 will be the expansion of B2B commerce from just being a marketplace.

The first it the rapid scale for B2B commerce startups. Udaan, the fastest company to become a unicorn, grew breathtakingly fast. It is an indication that it has only captured a fraction of the market.

The second is the IPO of India’s oldest B2B online listing platform IndiaMart. With 60% of online B2B e-commerce market, it went public. The IPO was oversubscribed 36 times and receiving much investor love.

Both these indicate a maturity, along with the massive opportunity, of India’s B2B e-commerce startups.

Structural changes have led to formalization of economy. This has given a huge fillip to the B2B e-commerce market.

The receptivity of traders, shopkeepers, businessmen to transition online and change decade long practices of keeping ledger books, chit system has started. As they see the value and convenience of moving online it will act as a multiplier to encourage others to digitize.

Removing wholesalers, which are the most profitable players in the value chain, will improve margins for manufacturers and reduce prices for retailers. This will be complex, considering the bargaining power which wholesalers have.

The willingness of this segment to pay was the crucial question to be answered, which is showing promising change. IndiaMart saw its paying supplier base rise from 72k in FY16 to 130k in FY19.

Startups which can thus provide valuable full-stack services to create a closed loop ecosystem of retailers and wholesalers will thus reap the maximum value.

Offering convenience in the entire value chain from logistic support to credit will be key levers to attract, retain and monetize users. Transparency in pricing is one of the critical value-add as buyers are unsure of having paid the right price in an offline wholesale market.

In terms of monetization, 2020 could see another revenue stream unlock for the players as the target segment begins to pay for value added services such as advertising and analytics.

Data will be a crucial path to monetize and startups will have to be patient to build reliable data pools before making money. Till that time, they will have to focus on their existing streams which include commission on transactions, fulfilment service costs and offering credit and finance. Credit, especially working capital, is still a huge unfulfilled gap and more players will continue to emerge in this space.

Large, full stack, businesses will likely be built but it will require a lot of patience and specific strategies to win. IndiaMart took 23 years to an IPO and 10 years to find the right business model!

If you are sitting on top of money you will make money, especially if you’re full stack in 2020.

#3: Social Commerce Will Consolidate 

The importance of social media in the lives of millennials is hardly a trend worth discussing.

However, what is interesting to note is the growing attention given to it by micro and small and medium enterprises in India.

Social commerce, the buying and selling of goods through social media platforms such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Pinterest, Instagram has been a widely-discussed topic in 2019.

Social commerce startups target the 50+ mid-tier cities and towns where sellers sell non-branded items through Facebook posts or Whatsapp messages.

Different types of business models have sprung up but all rest on the main premise of people recommending or selling goods to others. In particular, two kinds of business models rose to prominence, the Reseller model and Video Commerce.

The Reseller model allows individuals to sell customised catalogues to their friends and families on social media and earn a commission in the process. Major players include Meesho, Shop101 and GlowRoad. The segment has gained a lot of traction due to its empowering effect on women, especially housewives, who have taken to these startups to earn extra income.

Video commerce startups present a glorified, tech-savvy version of television shopping where sellers encourage customers to buy goods through live videos. Major startups in this segment such as BulBul, SimSim, Wmall and Mall91.

Others such as Dealshare popularise deals on social media platforms and allow users to avail great offers and discounts on daily household items.

Social commerce startups raised $157MM in 2019. Meesho is currently leading, having raised $215MM to date and witnessed a 14x rise in revenue in FY19. Most others are still in the early stages of their journeys and there are good reasons to believe that they will interest investors in the coming years as well.

About 40% of the world’s population counts as users of social media, spending on average ~2 hours each day on social networking sites. Time spent has doubled over the past few years and this is only going to increase, with the tremendous effort put in by some of the largest tech companies to get every internet user hooked on their sites.

Social commerce startups are riding this wave, and have leveraged the right tools at the right time.

From Facebook live stream and Insta shoppable posts to vernacular languages in Whatsapp, social media platforms have gone beyond entertainment to become an essential part of our lives. Their use cases extend to product discovery, price comparisons and even payments.

By eliminating the friction of getting redirected to a third-party platform, startups in the sector have not just made commerce more efficient and convenient, but also reduced the risk of abandonment and improved purchase rates. What more than the fact that platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest are constantly upgrading their shopping hubs in an attempt to grab a share of the social commerce pie.

Another reason behind the sector’s promising future is the diverse make-up of India.  The near-ubiquitous access of internet has pushed e-commerce into tier 2 / 3 / 4 cities, allowing hundreds of local brands to sell outside their regions and exposing thousands of value-sensitive customers to unlimited variety at great prices.

The result is not just an amplification of transaction volumes but the entry of a different kind of supplier and customer segment into the internet market. A segment, the majority of which is still unaccustomed to the ways of an Amazon or even a Flipkart.

However, this segment is very comfortable using Whatsapp or watching videos on Youtube. Social commerce startups have addressed this gap in the market and by being the first player-created entry barriers for the traditional e-commerce players.

The network effects of social commerce will enable one player to become a unicorn. But the network effects will also consolidate users with few players.

With social media groups like Facebook looking at the space with interest, we expect a spate of acquisitions in 2020, resulting in consolidation.

#4: Gaming Startups Will Go Mainstream

Gaming has been a breakout year in India.

The confluence of lower data prices, increased leisure time and a young millennial base has led to interesting models emerge in gaming.

2019 has seen fantasy gaming platforms thrive especially after Dream11 became the first gaming unicorn in India. ‘Maine bola tha na Sehwag century marega’ (I told you Sehwag will hit a century) might have been an often-heard phrase from the neighborhood uncle while growing up.

Dream11 capitalized on this ‘skill-based’ prediction to allow the Uncle to make teams online while getting a shot to earn attractive prizes. Rise of different sports leagues such as kabaddi, badminton, football has also meant that these startups get users throughout the year and not just during the 2-month IPL phase.

2020 will see social interactive gaming and eSports become mainstream. India ranks fifth among the world’s top mobile gaming markets and will likely move to top 3 in the next 3 years.

Mobile gaming is likely to be a $105Bn opportunity by 2023 and outpace China which is estimated to be at $73B. From 2MM gamers in 2016 to 100MM gamers by end of 2019 the momentum will likely continue.

The average gamer spends 60 mins on mobile games with OTT platforms seeing 45 mins spent. Add to the fanatic user engagement is the repetitive behavior where 40% men and 35% women play mobile games at least five days a week in India.

60% of online gamers are in the 18-24 age bracket who want to make quick money and also don’t hesitate to spend. Tencent’s PUBG makes a mind boggling $7MM a month from India.

Action games such as Fortnite, PUBG will continue to engage, incentivizing game developers. Real-money gaming will also hold steady backed by a loyal base of professional gamers playing poker, rummy and live trivia.

Gaming is also being seen as a viable and lucrative career option now and giving rise to professional gaming tournaments happening in many cities and towns in India. Interesting roles such as esports commentator, gaming coaches, gaming news editors will likely emerge in 2020.

Startups of particular interest will be women-focused gaming platforms (Bakbuck), live trivia and quizzing platforms (Loco, Brain Bazzi, Quizizz), creating next gen-gamers (Statespace), and social gaming platforms for casual gamers (Super Gaming)

Freemium models, in-app purchases with a higher discretion to spend to advance to new levels/ purchase costumes will be the dominant monetization models. Improved distribution and reach due to Google Play will continue to strengthen the ecosystem and encourage more game developers, advertisers and gamers.

Cloud gaming, which allows gamers to play without installing on their devices, will augment this big trend and give rise to Games as a Service. Growth will also be driven from Bharat where people from Tier 2,3 cities move from influencer platforms such as TikTok to gaming platforms such as Dream11.

Overall it will be an interesting time for gaming startups in 2020 and we will be keeping a close watch out for the most interesting startups.

#5: Everyone in Fintech Will Lend

Indian Fintech has innovated, driven by a forward-looking regulator.

Indian Fintech companies could become exporters of their technology, skills and market prowess by utilising FinTech Bridges that are being established by governments all over the world.

India Stack has been one of the biggest enablers of innovation in the FinTech space in India and many countries around the globe have followed in its footsteps. For instance, the EU implemented PSD2, along with the progress with  NPCI, UPI, BHIM, e-KYC in India.

Based on these stacks, several payments startups have expanded vertically and are now offering, or have plans of offering, consumer loans, credit/debit cards or credit score/profiles.

With the low cost of distribution and development, sector-specific incumbents will come up with their digital first financial services solutions. Auto OEMs such as Hero MotoCorp to Hyundai are setting up captive finance divisions to disburse auto loans, Flipkart has applied for an NBFC license, and Google recently announced its foray into checking account services.

In 2016, RBI released guidelines for NBFCs that intend to functions as account aggregators, effectively aggregating customer data from different financial providers. Companies like Zeta are building SaaS tools that promise to help Fintech set up shop and start selling in 6-8 weeks.

All this will incentivize companies to set up mechanisms to collect lucrative financial data and provide financial services, like new age banks.

However, since RBI does not allow/give licenses for neobanks in India, there are limited opportunities for creating one right now. The RBI is, however, working in a joint-group with HKMA to develop the guidelines for the future.

At present, there are several avenues of partnering with legacy banks and offering products such as crossover cards (Paytm & Citi) and/or building an aggregator platform for specific financial products (LendingKart, PolicyBazaar).

Agriculture loans are also a huge opportunity. Jai Kisan & Samunnati are doing some interesting work in this domain.

Fintech is a highly regulated sector and it presents an opportunity for ‘local’ players to build their presence without worrying about global players. As most fintech companies collect deeper data on their customers, they will build the ability to launch a very lucrative “feature” in 2020.

That feature is lending, of course.

#6: Online First Brands Will Proliferate

“Why can’t you buy a plant online?” will likely be a question you ask in 2020.

A lot of entrepreneurs who cut their teeth managing operations when e-commerce startups like Shopclues and Flipkart broke on the scene are finding a resurgence in online retail.

Online payments, increasing efficiency of 3PLs, and influencer marketing are likely to push D2C brands to carve out a bigger share of the Indian e-commerce market.

There are approximately over 400 active D2C brands in the country right now and players in the fast moving consumer categories. The ones that have broken out are in Fashion (Zivame), F&B (Bira, Paperboat, RAW Pressery), Personal Care (The Man Company, Ustraa, Mama Earth,), Electronics (OnePlus, boAt).

Taking a page out of the US market and following the classic trickle down approach, D2C brands have followed a premium first strategy where they’ve targeted the most ‘profitable’ and niche customer segments — India 1. This started with power centres in urban areas and is now seeing increased activity in Tier 2/3 cities as online brands are establishing offline stores, thus going the omni-channel route.

There is high likelihood that a large number of brands can scale to a revenue of $100MM (Rs 700 crore) in the next decade. However, unlike our relatively pure tech counterparts, D2C brands have little scope for building a winner-take-all product/offering.

The markets are massive and the operating models allow enough room for multiple ‘big’ players to co-exist. Their growth is a function of capital as they have huge appetite for marketing and branding but unlike the ‘tech’ counterparts, we don’t expect them to be guzzlers of capital.

This, however, would also mean that more traditional legacy brands will have to protect their turf not only against their contemporaries but also against these savvy, online and relatively low operating cost brands.

Consumers can expect the discount train to continue albeit more in terms of bundles and cashbacks rather than upfront discounting. The retailers (online & offline) will aim to move more of their inventory even if the margins are lower.

D2C brands have also been witnessing increasing customer loyalty and personalisation options, coupled with higher profit margins. By disintermediating middlemen across segments, these companies save significant costs and build direct to consumer relationships.

The convenience of having a trusted brand delivering right to your doorstep will be the reason attracting new age consumers. Brands will find markets to innovate across all categories.

We expect you to be purchasing a lot more from direct to consumer brands in 2020.

The Indian startup ecosystem continues to be ever more exciting. After a transformational decade, where India went from 0 to 24 unicorns, we expect the ecosystem to cement its place as a leading ecosystem.

We look forward to 2020.

Fake it, till you make it !?

Continuing last weeks topic of crazy marketing strategies, let’s talk about one of the most powerful websites on the internet, Reddit!

Reddit is now the numero uno choice for anyone looking at digital marketing. It’s huge, it’s deep, and it’s got an uncanny ability to push content into the viral zone (which should be the name of a TV show xD) and basically be the Internet’s tastemaker.

But how did it get there? (especially, against giants like Facebook!) Simply by using the very famous, and almost accurate, “Fake it, till you make it” strategy.

Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman populated the site’s content with tons of fake accounts. It seems crazy that populating the site with an army of fake accounts & seeding popular content would actually shape the site in the direction it wanted to heed in and help in growing an actual real fan base. Nowadays, with every site’s users wary of people using expendable accounts to try to seed their own content, and platforms (including Reddit) actively shadow banning its users, it is very unrealistic to believe that this was how it all started.
As mentioned in my last article, the best marketing strategy, with no doubt remains, that more the people see a brand, and talk about it, more is the possibility that they would turn into customers. Whether or not you feel like starting the website with a bunch of fake accounts is cheating, you have to admit it went over like gangbusters.

Reddit certainly began with a bang, and very deviously set the perfect undertone with the fake accounts on current hyped-up issues to make a rapport with their target group and get them on board. I think that is one great lesson for all the social media platforms coming up! Because honestly, what wildly successful Internet community can you say you created by initially populating it almost exclusively with yourself?

On a side note, to ponder, it’s an incredible example of the Internet’s power to magnify one’s own voice. I mean, these guys built an actual community around their own puppet accounts. Incredible and brilliant, sure, but it’s also sort of an existential crisis: if fakers have that much power, how can you know that anything is real online?

Is anti-selling the new marketing strategy ?

The internet is a world full of memes and jokes that spark a viral trend on Twitter and then there is no stopping it. And food delivering app Zomato’s social media account is acing that game.

Recently, taking to their official Twitter account, Zomato tweeted saying, “Guys, kabhi kabhi ghar ka khana bhi kha lena chahiye.”

This was a well thought of, well strategized and a very innovative move by Zomato, to which most of the brands replied antiselling their own products. From Faasos, which is also a food delivering app, to YouTube India and PUBG mobile India, a lot of brands posted on the thread with their funny versions of the tweet.

But being the creator of this unique strategy, Zomato wasn’t the one to fall back behind. Zomato trolled them back by posting a screenshot of various brands copying their tweet and writing, “Guys, kabhi kabhi khud ke acche tweet bhi soch lene chahiye.”

But how is antiselling beneficial?

The base of any marketing strategy is to highlight the brands USP. Whatever a company is selling, it urges it’s people to buy. The number one of marketing remains that more the people see a brand, and talk about it, more is the possibility that they would turn into customers. And the sales and marketing team has always come up with some pretty amazing concepts to market their brand.

This highbrow move by Zomato has not only got it buzzing, but the ingenious mix of humour, colloquial language, and nostalgia attached to “Ghar ka khaana” made it possible for them to connect heart to heart with their customer group.

Toh ghar ka khaana kab khaoge?

Aspirations of Young India

One-fifth of the world’s youth population resides in India. Half of our population is under 25. Addressing the aspirations of these young people is essential if the country has to progress. Today when we look at the changes in the aspirations of youth, it is phenomenal. Thanks to information technology where the world is accessible at fingertips, it has helped the youth to keep themselves abreast with what is happening around the world and thereby develop their own outlook towards life. The idea of ‘being successful’ has undergone a drastic transformation. Youth today are courageous, ready to take action, condemn, criticise openly, know what is right for them, etc. Contrast this with the situation about 20 years ago. The yardstick of success in India was graduation from IITs/IIMs, becoming an Administrative officer, landing a secure job with a handsome salary, attraction towards International Job opportunities, etc. The most celebrated fields like sports, cinema and politics, on the contrary, were not preferred choices because the success rate depended on the lineage—almost synonymous to dynasty rule. That is to say predominantly a sportsperson should have greater influence to become a sportsperson more than his performance, Star’s progeny could get into the Cinema industry and only the son of a politician could get into politics. The youth (majority) never ventured out into this sphere for the fear of failure or the risk of getting ostracised. Furthermore, the situation was such that, they were not welcomed with open doors. Tapping these doors was a herculean task next to impossible. There were hardly a few people who could swim against the tide and get into these areas. People like Shahrukh Khan, Akshay Kumar and few Sports Stars made it to their success much against the odds they faced in the industry. On the other hand majority of the youth had harboured an aversion towards these domains and developed a mindset that it was not their cup of ‘tea’.

Business on the other side was a game of those who had the money or of the continuance of the family business. Youths were only job seekers adding to the slogan of ‘Roti and Kapada’. Very few were ready to take a risk in Entrepreneurship or Business. Youngsters were not encouraged by parents to start their own business. A family looking from the bride for his son were first asked about his Job, a young entrepreneur (with middle-class background) was their last choice.

The increasing pace of New Voters and their expectations have put all the political parties to not to take voters as granted and made them revisit their promises to people during elections, On the contrary, today, performance is the measurement of success, not their lineage. Sportsmen like Virat Kohli (cricket), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (cricket), PV Sindhu (Badminton), Sunil Chhetri (Soccer), etc. have given hope for the upcoming sportsmen. Film stars like Yash (Kannada), Sai Pallavi (Telugu), etc., who made it possible even with tough competition. These are the people who are the trendsetter for present youth who have reached the top only through their performance, who are inspiring the ‘Young India’

On the hook and cry on unemployment rate during elections, it is surprised to see placement companies are facing difficulty in recruiting young talent, as these youngsters are busy starting their own venture. Today they are not Job Seeker’s rather they are Job Providers in this country. As per NASSCOM report, India saw 108 per cent growth in total funding from USD 2 billion to USD 4.2 billion in early 2018. In KPMG recent (February 2019) report the number of startups in the country has gone up from 7,000 in 2008 to 50,000 in 2018. This is almost 7.14X growth flooded by value-added Startups with more than 95% of the enterprises are started by a young entrepreneur. From Ritesh Agarwal (Oyo Rooms CEO) to Charith (Selvitate–CEO), from Alina (Mitti Cafe) to Richa Kar (Zivame.com) inspiring youngsters to be ‘Job providers’ in New India. Thanks to the internet and exposure towards entrepreneurship beyond the boundaries of the country, which made it possible what we are at it today. This transformation is humongous, which made Bharat the Startup Hub of the World.

On the other side, the more interesting story is in Politics, unlike twenty years earlier, today youth in India see hope in the political leadership of this country. Thanks to Modi and his team who have changed the meaning of Politics in present India. Politics earlier meant corruption, an obstacle for growth and development, anti-social or choice of Dynasty politics. His leadership has given hopes and dreams to young minds. His approach to connecting with youth is worth commendable. Today PMO is just a mail away, who responds to the common man’s request within no time. Beyond his decision-making skills and leadership of teams, motivating youth and encouraging them to participate in politics is worth appreciating.

If we look back what happened in 2014, Center for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi (CSDS) gave a post-poll survey report which showed that more than 68% of Indian youths (18-25 years) voted in 2014 as compared to 54% in 2009 and 52% in 2004 election. “It is important to note that the turnout amongst the young voters who in the past have voted in lesser numbers compared to the average turnout, voted in much bigger numbers in 2014 compared to the past. The 2014 Loksabha elections witnessed as high as 68% turnout amongst the young voters, two per cent higher compared to the average, which in the past used to be nearly four per cent lower compared to the national average”, the article said. In 2014 young voters voted determinedly in favour of BJP which got 34.4% of votes of young voters, more than 3% higher than its average vote share of 31.1%, as compared to Congress. This time almost 45 million youths are participating in this election. Assam and Rajasthan are going to see 13% and 10% new voters respectively as compared to 5% of all India average who are critical for various parties. Once again, the same youth will decide who will host a flag in Red Fort on 15th August 2019.

This increasing pace of New Voters and their expectation has put political parties to not to take voters as granted and has made all parties to revisit their promises to people. Looking at this pace at which political outlook and youth expectations are changing, political pundits are predicting the change in the ‘political’ mindset of this country by the next decade. At least by 2024, the political arena will change from ‘Pehle main aur mera Parivar’ to country first with no other choice left. The contribution of change in the mindset of political maharajas goes to today’s ‘Youth’. Therefore, the involvement of youngsters in mainstream politics is very important for the future of this country. Even the government should make sure the youths are involved in decision making of policies to ensure it reaches the last man of this country. As a blessing, India has today with over 60% per cent of its youth in the working age group with no other country enjoying this dividend at present. Whichever the party utilise their potential they lead the country in the future. Therefore, most of the political parties are interested in investing in youth’s to attract towards their party. National parties like BJP and Congress are at a fighting door to attract more youths to their party to make sure they win 2019. The side, at which majority youth stand, that decides 2019.
If we connect the above arguments with earlier discussions of this article, it’s quite visible that Modi and his Team have become new trendsetters in politics, which would definitely make other parties follow within no time. Selection of young leaders like Pratap Simha (Karnataka), Tejasvi Surya (Karnataka) and Jamyang Tsering Namgyal (Ladakh) for the Lok Sabha constituency without having any political legacy has made young minds to see politics with greater hope. Not just the last man of the political party even the newest entrant to the political arena is hoping to see the great career in political ‘Profession’ today. As socially awakened and responsible citizens, they have taken up the responsibility to spread awareness about ‘National Welfare’ and ‘National Integrity’. This awakened citizen had given a clear message to the Dynasty rulers that ‘Kuch din hi baki hai—Only a few days left’. Almost in all the states, who were waiting in the continuance of Dynasty Rule will have to pay a greater price in 2019 elections, as present-day youth have changed their aspiration from Roti, Kapda, and Makaan of Dynasty rule to the ‘Non-Dynastical rule of Developed India’.

As Vivekananda said “My faith is in the younger generation, the modern generation, out of them will come my workers. They will work out the whole problem, like lions. I have formulated the idea and have given my life to it. If I do not achieve success, some better one will come after me to work it out, and I shall be content to struggle.” As Swamiji said the younger generation is changing the way and creating a path of change for the future of this country.

They are not just a change maker of present India; they are the creator of New India. Great days lie ahead.

-Avadhoot Suradkar



Edgistify is bringing visibility and transparency in logistics and supply chain. We have created a
unique workflow of rating all the stakeholders(Warehouse, 3PL, Allied Services ) involved in the
value chain.The product is simple SaaS-based platform with holistic view of the entire logistics
for customers.

Following is our approach for the platform for each segment:

  • Breaking into Sub-segments
  • Parameterising (For e.g: We have 100+ parameters to verify & classify a Warehouse)
  • Prioritising segments in a logical sequence

Our product has two major components:

  • Platform related to each segment
  • Data related to each segment

Companies get a dynamic ecosystem which makes them agile for fulfilling every kind of
business need. This is helping companies design and optimise cost of supply chain end to end.


We started working on edgistify in June 2016. It took us a year to understand one of the most
important sectors which is of 14% of India’s GDP and 10% of Global GDP. We raised seed
capital in June 2017 from industry veterans such as COO of Marico Industries Mr. Jitendra
Mahajan. Our proposition is trusted by big companies like Reliance Jio, Britannia, Pidilite , Flyjac
Logistics and many more.

In October 2018 we raised our Pre Series A round from industry people. We have mentors from
industry who have set up multi Billion $ logistics companies globally.

We are in the process of raising our Series A in few months. Logistics and Supply Chain is the
hottest topic in the current times and It’s the backbone of all the industries. We are looking for
people who want to be part of our journey. We have opportunities in Operations, Business and

Students can send their resume with a cover letter to ​ kamal@edgsitify.com



Warren buffett- The oracle!

It is the birthday of Mr. Warren Edward Buffet, the American philanthropist who is counted in the list of wealthiest people of the world and is widely considered as the most successful investor of the 20th century. Because of his amazing value investing philosophy and simplicity in everyday life, he has earned the nickname ‘the Oracle of Omaha’ or ‘the Sage of Omaha.’ He once said-“ Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” It is this kind of foresight that has lead him to the pinnacle of success.

As a child, young Warren displayed a keen knack for financial matters. He was somewhat of a mathematical prodigy, and was able to add large columns of numbers in his head- an ability he still likes to show off to his friends and associates. Warren’s father was a stockbroker and served as U.S. Congressman. Warren made his first investment when he was all of 11 years old! He bought three shares of Cities Service Preferred at $38 per share. The stock quickly dropped to only $27, but Buffett held on tenaciously until they reached $40. When later asked about this, he commented- “I made my first investment at age 11. I was wasting my life up until then.”

Warren Buffet undertook his first entrepreneurial venture at age 13, an age when most of us can’t count money properly. He was running his own businesses as a paperboy and selling his own horse racing tip sheet. During that year, he also filed his first tax return, claiming his bike as a $35 tax deduction. It was easy to see that young Warren was destined for big things.

During his high school tenure, Buffet dabbled in different ways to try and make money. One of his successful ventures was when he bought a pinball machine with a friend for $25. They installed it in a Washington barbershop and used the profits to buy more machines. He finally sold his business to a war veteran for $1200, 48 times his initial investment! When asked about smart investment, he famously said-“Rule number one: Never lose money. Rule number two: Never forget rule number one.””

Buffet went to Wharton School of business at 16 and moved to University of Nebraska, 2 years later, to finish up his degree. He attended Columbia University for his advanced degree and shortly after graduation, he formed the Buffet Partnership firm in Omaha. He became rich and famous for buying undervalued companies whose stocks shortly began to rise. This long-sightedness also earned him the aforementioned sobriquet-“The Oracle of Omaha.” He helped rescue Salomon Brothers from corporate raiders (1987) and took charge of the New York City house(1992) when it was hit by an insider trading scandal.

After a career spanning roughly 50 years, which saw him amass a net worth of over 50 billion dollars, Warren Buffet shocked the world when he pledged his entire fortune away to charity, committing 85% of it to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. This donation became the largest act of charity in the history of the United states. His words explaining the rationale behind this move are both profound and enlightening-

I don’t have a problem with guilt about money. The way I see it is that my money represents an enormous number of claim checks on society. It’s like I have these little pieces of paper that I can turn into consumption. If I wanted to, I could hire 10,000 people to do nothing but paint my picture every day for the rest of my life. And the GDP would go up. But the utility of the product would be zilch, and I would be keeping those 10,000 people from doing AIDS research, or teaching, or nursing. I don’t do that though. I don’t use very many of those claim checks. There’s nothing material I want very much. And I’m going to give virtually all of those claim checks to charity when my wife and I die.”

As of today, having battled prostate cancer, Warren Buffet continues to power on.

Social Media: Facebook vs WhatsApp ?

Everything is on mobile these days. Be it our glasses (Google Glass) or payments, it’s becoming increasingly on the move, one device world. Social Media is starting to feel the pressure. A study by Nielsen and McKinsey shows that for social media, consumption time spent on mobile apps and mobile websites accounted for a 63% increase (compared to 2011) in total time spent. Further 61% smartphone users access social media on mobile. So much so that, even the big guns like Google and Facebook also are showing apt interest in mobile. Let’s take a closer look at their efforts.
Google’s Hangout Re-Branding
Google re-branded “Hangouts” in May 2013 as a new unified, cross-platform messaging system, replacing GTalk to catch on to the increasing OTT (Over the Top) messaging landscape, a clear indication of the company’s belief in the power of mobile. The app supposedly has 50 million downloads till date.
Facebook’s Mobile Botch-up
Facebook tried to get its feet in the space but it has not run into any luck yet. One of the company’s ventures into mobile is FB poke, a mobile app launched in Dec 2012. It was a blatant copy of Snapchat (a popular app for sending pics) but failed to get traction. The other being, Facebook Home, it’s an all-encompassing app for mobile which has failed miserably – The app has a measly one-star rating on Google Play store and AT&T dropped the price from $99 to 99 cents of HTC First (FB Home based phone) due to less demand. Mobile Social Networks
To make more sense of mobile social world let’s look at the ways users engage on mobile. There are two ways – Pure Social Networks (One to followers/friends like Instagram) and OTTs (One to one like WhatsApp or WeChat). The OTT world is surging as of now. The volume of OTT messaging traffic is set to be twice of SMS by end of this year. Another opportunity is the gap of social engagement in OTTs that a new breed of startups, built ground up for mobile is solving by combining the two ways of engagement on mobile. They aim to serve the purpose of a unified platform for rich media messaging and media sharing. They have shown great traction also. Let’s look at a few below.

Pheed Launched in late 2012, it allows users to text, photo, audio, video and broadcast. Has one million users as of February 2013
Just.me – Launched in April 2013 by TechCrunch co-founder and backed by Khosla Ventures, the app combines the best of rich media messaging and media sharing. Has 100k installs as of May 2013
What’s Next?As you can make out it’s Web based social behemoths (read Facebook and Google) versus these startups built from ground up for mobile. While pure OTTs like WhatsApp and WeChat currently have a lead in terms of number of users but they need to keep adding features and pivot towards a more social angle to survive, or one of the new startups or Facebook/Google will surge ahead. Mobile Social Media is a very lucrative market as smartphones are increasingly becoming an extension of oneself, serving purpose as basic as calls to being our wallets. The next frontier is social and jury is still out on who will fulfill that need.

Reports Used in this Article:
1) http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/social/2012/
2) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.talk&hl=en
3) http://www.businessinsider.com/everyone-is-talking-about-how-facebook-tried–and-failed–to-copy-yet-another-popular-startup-2012-12
4) http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/13/rumor-att-to-discontinue-the-htc-first-facebook-phone/
5) http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/18/the-future-of-mobile-social-could-spell-the-end-for-social-networks/
6) https://commerce.informatm.com/reports/main/voip-ip-messaging-revised.html
7) http://www.minyanville.com/sectors/technology/articles/Did-The-IPhone-Have-A-Role/5/15/2013/id/49845

Welcome to our blog!

“Welcome to our blog! The Entrepreneurship Cell, IIT Bombay was founded in 1998 with the motto of promoting entrepreneurship inside as well as beyond the walls of the IIT campus. One of the founders of E-Cell was Anshuman Bapna, an alumnus of IITB and Stanford School of Business. Anshuman also started Eureka and was the Co-Founder of the first ever startup in IIT Bombay. Here is what he said about why he started E-Cell.

”I had finished my 2nd year at that time and one day when I was talking to a senior and it so happened that my senior asked me if I would do an MBA or a job or masters after graduation. So suddenly I asked ‘what if I start my own company’? The senior laughed it off and that rattled me. So I spent an entire year going all over the country, meeting people and going wherever there were entrepreneurship institutes like there was one in Ahmedabad, and there were hardly any incubators at that time but I met the first few VCs of those days. In my 4th year, I finally started my 1st company, our investor was an alum from IITB called Rakesh Mathur who had started a company called junglee.com which was later sold to Amazon for $100million. Once in the USA we stopped over at Stanford and we went to check out the computer science department and we passed by a room when one of my friends suddenly told me that have you heard of this company called ‘google’ which just came out which is a search engine and by the way the guys who built it are those 2 guys sitting in that room over there. So the fact that students in the USA can build companies was very evident even at my time and I wanted the same spirit in India”.

Currently, we are a team of 20 managers who are third-year students, 2 Overall coordinators who are fourth-year students and many enthusiastic sophomores, pursuing our undergraduate studies at IITB.

All of us are not entrepreneurs, although some of us are trying our luck at it. But all of us share the common belief that for India to emerge as a world power, the youth has to break the shackles of prejudices and inertia that keeps them from starting up.  Every alternate day we meet in a 18X18X14 room, popularly known as the E-Cell room which is inside the Students’ Activity Centre, to brainstorm about how we can make the entrepreneurial ecosystem better.

We learn with every passing day. We get inspired by interacting with entrepreneurs at a very personal level and learning about their struggle stories. When we go to conferences, we get awed by the professionalism that the corporate world has to offer. We are elated when a wonderful idea for an event strikes us. We feel proud of ourselves when we negotiate with the CMOs of big shot firms. We are overwhelmed when our posters and designs are liked by hundreds of our followers. So that’s our story!

We want to communicate the same inspiration and awareness to the ecosystem around us. We want to share our reading and well as personal experiences. This blog is created to keep people connected with the entrepreneurial world.

Don’t forget to leave a comment when you see our posts. We love hearing from our readers and followers.

Any suggestions or recommendations for posts would be more than welcome. You can write to us at enspace@ecell.in or contact our team.