Time to hit reset and accept the new normal. Our series of in-depth stories and analysis on the changing dynamics of India’s tech landscape in a post-Covid19 world — from how industries and sectors are transforming to new opportunities, evolving consumer behaviour, the new rules of venture capital, M&A and more.
Amid fear, uncertainty and despair caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, hope floats. Entrepreneurs are getting back to the drawing boards in pursuit of new business models, technologies and processes to reduce inefficiencies and draw fresh plans for product innovation, services and solutions. Their prescription to Covid-struck businesses is to focus on the big picture for answers rather than succumbing to losses.
As the market’s behavioural and consumption pattern alters, Siddharth Talwar, cofounder and partner, Lightbox Ventures believes that realisation of ordering groceries in the same manner as food has accelerated a change in behavioural patterns of how consumers are now buying grocery and essential items for everyday use.
Speaking at Inc42’s #StartupsVsCovid19 ‘Ask Me Anything’ series, Talwar along with Amit Gupta, cofounder and CEO, Yulu; Alok Mittal, cofounder and CEO, Indifi Technologies; Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO, Paytm; and GV Ravishankar, managing director, Sequoia Capital highlighted the challenges and opportunities which could change the face of the country in coming years.
Hyperlocal Delivery: Warehouse Vs Retail Store Model
Citing Dunzo, Talwar said that unlike the western market, India is uniquely positioned and there is no need for a warehouse to store as it is readily available in small retail stores. “If you are able to manage these stores effectively with the right technology and interface you’ll be able to provide a better experience and offer a cost-effective service,” said Talwar.
Small Things Which Make a Big Difference
In the mobility space, Gupta said it’s time to look at practical solutions besides personal safety, social distancing, wearing gloves and masks. “There is a need to develop safety equipment or personal accessories made for commuting and travel,” said Gupta.
The CEO of Yulu also believes data analytics is another area, which can be leveraged by private mobility service providers to track the safety of passengers and drivers. For instance, if someone is infected, the system can track the person and stop the spread.
Fintech Startups Providing Loans To SMEs & MSMEs
Once the market reopens, SMEs and MSMEs will require capital to run their businesses. Fintech startups which provide quick loans with lesser interest rates and flexible TAT to companies can be a game-changer. However, it becomes crucial for financial institutions and NBFCs to assess the behaviour of existing customers and provide a product that fits into the present altered reality.
“The lending business has always been about recovery,” said Mittal. He predicted a steep fall in the risk appetite for lenders. “The ability to absorb this risk in order to bring businesses back and running is quite an opportunity in itself. I don’t think most of the fintech players are married to the idea. However, better product structure in lending can alter the way lending takes place in the country,” he added.
Playing Ball With Gaming
Gaming has been one of the hot topics in recent times. The emergence of casual games has seen a 100% surge. In fact, one of the biggest gainers from the lockdown is the gaming sector. Popular games such as Ludo King, PUBG, Call of Duty, FIFA Soccer and Carrom Pool are being lapped up.
Throwing light on the gaming market Sharma, founder and CEO, Paytm said that the segment has the potential to supersede the entertainment industry and leave television, OTT platforms far behind. “The revenue generated is much faster compared to all these markets. Surprisingly, commerce may not be able to gain as much as gaming,” said Sharma.
The Bigger Picture
Besides these emerging opportunities, a lot of changes in consumption patterns are being seen in sectors like education, healthcare and drone tech. As the world redefines its lifestyle, crucial sectors like telemedicine and education are changing rapidly.
“For instance, solutions like Zoom for hosting online events, platforms that are offering classroom environment in terms of better engagement and monitoring system for teachers, a remote working tool that tracks the productivity of employees, IPL going online and so is tracking of food ingredients,” said Ravishankar, “the list goes on.”
If you think about the world we are living in the last few weeks, and if you can re-imagine various industries in a way they are currently functioning. I think a new set of opportunities will emerge,” he added.