“How’s it going?”
This innocuous question can elicit a range of answers, depending on whom you ask. And when you turn the microphone to an entire industry, we can expect a spectrum of reactions that give you the full picture — that’s the philosophy behind Inc42+ Playbooks.
With our membership programme — Inc42+ (launched last week), we want to bring you a slice of this spectrum with observations, opinions and thoughts from the startup ecosystem, enterprises, experts, investors and consumers. And Inc42+ Playbooks are a crucial part of this journey.
Playbooks. Might mean different things in different contexts, but essentially it’s a master list of the way to do things, tactics and methods. Each month, we will break down sectors and topics that are rising to prominence in this very manner, exclusively for Inc42+ members. These topics and ideas lead to heated debates and war of words in our newsroom, and most tech enthusiasts need to know about these right now.
Each Playbook will show you the other side of the coin and highlight the most pressing issues in the sector (or topic) in focus.
These are not just deep-dives, but explorations into various branches that form this sector. We will go into every nook and cranny of the industry with a series of articles, interactive content and opinions from thought leaders. Our vision is to go beyond what’s reported and what’s already trending with groundbreaking stories driven by our passion for knowledge.
We also believe that each sector has its moment in the sunshine. Thus each month, we will release one Playbook (six articles) on sectors, ideas or topics that demand deep exploration, beyond the obvious and into the unknown. Backed by data points from the DataLabs by Inc42 team, each Playbook will also reveal intriguing and unique data points to back our findings and the opinions from founders, investors and sector experts.
The Upcoming Playbooks
Playbook I: India’s Edtech Moment
In February-March, we are diving into the exciting world of edtech, which is transforming India’s education system and taking it into the 21st century by the horns. We will delve into how it is affecting teachers and students, and find out if online learning really changes anything, if outcomes are measured in the same old way?
So, why edtech to begin with? Well, it’s as simple as the time and moment in our lives in 2020. In India, exams and annual tests take centre-stage in the first few months of every year. So what better way to start our quest for new ideas and deep conversations than take a look at the industry than disrupting the way India learns.
As former India President A.P.J Abdul Kalam said,
“When learning is purposeful, creativity blossoms. When creativity blossoms, thinking emanates. When thinking emanates, knowledge is fully lit. When knowledge is lit, the economy flourishes.”
With that in mind, the edtech Playbook will analyse how startups are trying to democratise the Indian education system by leveraging tech and also delve into issues faced by educators, edtech startups as well as learners. Is technology really delivering the rewards promised to students and teachers?
The rise of edtech can be credited to the rising awareness about how India’s education system fails to create market-ready professionals and patronises rote learning. Beyond seeing the future of classrooms, we are analysing how ideas get transferred across the oceans from Silicon Valley to India, and how even adults are reaping the benefits of edtech through skill development and reskilling.
Each Playbook is also highly topical and timely — which is best highlighted by our look at how edtech is changing how students learn in the times of coronavirus. And finally, we are questioning the gadget-obsessed nature of some schools and colleges, and wondering whether parents are to blame or whether it’s actually what children want.
And of course, we cannot ignore the role played by edtech startups in India — with over 4K edtech startups in India, it was time to highlight the ones that have gained the most prominence. You will see this in our periodic table of edtech startups.
Playbook II: India’s Electric Future
In our next Playbook (releasing on 16th March), we will take a look at the world of green mobility with our electric vehicles Playbook — India’s Electric Future. Why EV?
Well for obvious reasons — melting ice caps, unabated wild-fires, natural disasters and so on. As the world looks for sustainable and clean energy resources, Indian entrepreneurs and automotive giants are spending most of their time strategising on electric vehicles.
While Inc42 has been extensively writing about EVs, the Playbook will probe further and reveal the impact of this massive revolution on the stakeholders and the oil-dependent auto industry. What about charging infrastructure and batteries? Will India hold up to the international standards? What exactly goes into an EV?
Our EV Playbook will answer these questions and much more, giving you a birds’-eye view of the history of EVs, the components industry, the key players, the business models that are gaining traction and more. We have already spoken to the length and breadth of the industry and can’t wait to bring you the EV Playbook in the next couple of weeks.
Beyond this new green revolution, we are looking at the sectors like attention economy, which will discuss digital media platforms including video OTT, audio streaming, social media among others. Well, the advertising industry has always been changing with the times. Today, with the advent of digital platforms, aided by smartphone penetration and cheap data, the monetisation of attention has moved online. We will thus look at how businesses compete with each other to create content that attracts more eyeballs.
After the attention economy, we will be moving to agritech, gaming and more in the months to come. Like a living document, our Playbook will evolve with each year and each decade, to fit the current context.
And that’s just one part of Inc42+ — we will also bring you expert analysis by leveraging our network of experts, influencers and thought leaders in the form of podcasts and guides. Stay tuned for more Playbooks, Guides authored by experts, podcasts, exclusive stories and interactive data-driven content from Inc42+ exclusively for our members.
Update: 22nd May’2020
Playbook III: Attention Economy 2.0
With the rise of the internet, “attention” became the new currency!
Every calamity — minor or major — brings with it new opportunities along with the downfalls. The way the media and entertainment (M&E) industry monetises content has also been through similar curves of ups and downs. Advertisers first understood the power of radio when the US government successfully convinced citizens to join the army through radio during World War 1. And, when the Spanish Flu pandemic was contained with successful public health posters or ads in newspapers, media was once again in the limelight.
Today, as the lockdown is providing people more downtime together, they are discovering the joy of sitting back and watching a movie or ten, binge-watching shows or connecting with extended family or friends and total strangers on video calls, all from the comforts of their home and away from the negativity outside the four walls. Social media, which is now as mainstream as it gets, is the only connecting thread to the outside world.
Consumers are also waking up to the potential of the cost savings in not going out to the multiplex, given the high price of tickets, parking and the in-cinema snack, a trend that can catalyse further growth for digital media.
Covid19 has created a paradigm shift in the way we consume content and the way people socialize online. In our Attention Economy 2.0 playbook, we delve into the new attention economy – new models, emerging players and trends in the world of social media, news apps, audio and video streaming, online games and more.
Update: 19th June’2020
Playbook IV: Dissecting India’s Healthtech
As healthcare workers toil on the frontlines of the pandemic, startups are working relentlessly to back them with scalable solutions and business models using cutting-edge technologies. While Inc42 has been covering such efforts and initiatives since the beginning of the outbreak, the latest Inc42+ playbook “Dissecting India’s Healthtech” looks to dissect the state of India’s healthtech ecosystem and peer into its future.
The playbook will look into various developments ranging from digitisation of health insurance, the rise of telemedicine, the shifting tides of mental health and how entrepreneurs are dealing with stress, as well as the National Digital Health Blueprint 2019 and a deep dive into the functioning of one of the most promising healthtech startups of the day.
Update: 31st July’2020
Playbook V: India’s D2C Rush
In the last few years, hundereds of Indian new-age brands have bid farewell to middlemen and taken the D2C route. This has helped them acquire the right insights and build long-term relationships with consumers. After the pandemic, more brands are bypassing the intermediaries to reach consumers faster and with more efficiency.
As more and more consumer brands go digital to reach customers faster and carve a unique identity, India’s direct-to-consumer (D2C) moment is well and truly here. With thousands of brands competing in the D2C space, will this be the future of India’s retail market?
Through the upcoming articles in the ‘India’s D2C Rush’ playbook, we will get into the minute details of the various aspects within the D2C space and how brands are adjusting to the new demand spike. We would be diving deep into how startups and brands have customised their models and customer acquisition strategy in fashion and accessories, FMCG, consumer electronics, home appliances, home decor and other categories.
As part of our fifth Playbook, exclusively available for Inc42+ members, we will be talking to multiple brands, logistics tech players, industry experts to get a 360-view on India’s D2C rush.
Update: 20th Oct’2020
Playbook VI: India’s Digital Lending Reset
India’s quarterly GDP growth for FY 2020-21 fell by 23.9%, which is the worst among comparable economies. And while India’s finance minister called this decline an ‘Act of God’, the fact is that the GDP growth rate has been on a sliding slope since 2016 when India observed a 0.26% increase from 2015. Fitch Ratings Ltd has now slashed India’s growth forecast for FY21 from -5% to -10.5% which Goldman Sachs estimates at 14.8%.
All this talk about GDP is not about spelling doom but in fact the precursor for the uncertainty that has hit one of the most crucial sectors in the country, the lending market. Not only are millions of small businesses dependent on credit access, but even individuals had to turn to loans to survive the pandemic. The digital lending wave in consumer loans is trickling down to B2B lending too. And that’s where most of the developments are happening if lenders manage to recover.
While April and May were the dark months when lending was at a standstill, the light at the end of this tunnel is not close yet. Only a few lending companies will be able to survive the journey through darkness, many experts believe, including Mithun Sundar, CEO of Lendingkart, one of the largest working capital lenders for the MSME and SMB segments.
After a detailed analysis of India’s D2C rush, India’s healthtech boom, and more through our member-exclusive Playbooks, Inc42 Plus is now diving into the most topical issue in the financial services market with a 360-degree coverage of this most impacted industry i.e. lending.
Our India’s Digital Lending Reset Playbook will deep-dive on the shifting revenue models, the moratorium impact, the supply chain in credit, the digital future for B2B lending, and the impact of the account aggregator system.
Update: 25th Nov’2020
Playbook VII: Farming 3.0 – India’s Mission Agritech
The Green Revolution was a path-breaking initiative in Indian history — not only was it strongly linked to India’s storied agrarian tradition, but it also made agriculture a significant contributor to the Indian economy.
Apart from introducing high-yielding seed varieties, irrigation and water management solutions to reduce the dependence on monsoon, the Green Revolution of the 1960s revitalised industrial farming by introducing farm machinery and related technologies for the first time.
While the agri economy flourished immediately after the policy change, a few years later, there was a flood of abuse, including overwatered fields and overuse of chemicals and pesticides, which defeated the core purpose of the Green Revolution.
The excessive use of pesticides and the mismanagement and absence of crop rotation not only led to health issues and environmental degradation but also ruined soil fertility in many states. Fast forward to 2020, and it is now time for India’s Green Revolution 2.0. India’s agritech startups are looking to solve challenges across the value chain by ensuring strong marketing linkages and redesigning the farming ecosystem. Will technology, the rise of impactful models and exposure to modern tools change the game in India’s agriculture landscape?
In our 7th Playbook, Farming 3.0: India’s Agritech Moment, we will be diving deep into various segments and trends, including opportunities in urban farming, India’s market-linkage startups such as Ninjacart and WayCool reducing links in the supply chain to free farmers from the clutches of middlemen, the limitations within FaaS (farming-as-a-service), startups operating in the agri-fintech space, the effectiveness of precision farming and finally and more.