Looking back at 2015, one can safely comment that this was one of the most important years for startups, where the focus was not on big companies making bigger news but that of small time individuals making it big. 2015 saw billion dollar valuations, consolidations, closure of startups and also investor feuds. Overall the startup scene was hustling and bustling and this year is going to be even more exciting.
Here’s my Top 14 predictions for startups in 2016:
- Surge Pricing in Taxi AppsDelhi recently announced their strategy to contain pollution in the city, The ODD-EVEN Scheme! Taxi apps are likely to make a killing and pricing will surge even in the non-peak hours. Delhi- is also the largest car market. Along with this, ridesharing apps will also continue to gain acceptance.
- More Indian Billionaires will Invest in StartupsOnly a handful of billionaires like Ratan Tata, Azim Premji, have dedicated their personal wealth to startups. More billionaires are likely to come forward and bet on startups which can create disruptive forces for their own business.
- More Focus on Bottomline!Funds having finished half their investment cycle (Investments made in 2011), investors will start putting pressure on portfolio companies to show profitability or give them an opportunity to exit through consolidation.
- Venture Overseas InvestmentsMany product & services will opt to venture overseas with southeast asia being their first choice. The market has similar challenges & is closer to home ground. We can also expect to see buyouts in these markets as strategic acquisitions are a must for market entry.
- Unicorns will raise BillionsPlayers such as Flipkart, Snapdeal, Paytm, Ola, Zomato, will raise US$ 2 Billion or more in combined capital.
- Decrease in Series B and a Rise of Pre Series AIn 2016 we saw cautious investments, the same will continue for startups with no clear revenue path for the future. Small ticket investments of US$ I million or less will be on the rise and Pre Series A will be the new normal
- Shutdown of E-Commerce & Food TechMany me too-startups in e-com, food, hyperlocal, will see their business die down, as they fail to build traction.
- Mobile only will turn to mobile firstIn 2016, companies will learn from the debacle stories of Flipkart and Myntra and will use a strategy that would focus on both mobile and online platforms. startups will have a mobile-first focus.
- Deeper App Integrations will emergeMobile space/phone real estate is becoming expensive, consumers want to limit their downloads to essentials and want a one stop solution. Deeper integrations will this a reality and will become the new mandate.
- Out of box marketing & Innovation will break the clutterIndia witnessed some of the most innovative marketing campaigns in 2015, some of them being backed by mind-boggling investments. However, a newer breed of start-up’s showed up absolute brilliance with their frugal marketing campaigns, where social media platforms like Instagram have been creatively used to create immersive experiences, similar to the app we created on Instagram.
- Investments will decrease in the second halfUS presidential elections are scheduled for November, 2016. Uncertainty regarding foreign policy could cause US funds to be more hesitant in betting their top dollar in the latter half of the year
- Digital will split into two sides!Facebook’s push for free basics will divide the digital industry into two halves- one for and one against net neutrality. A lot of push from startups will be seen for Pro Net Neutrality. Players like Paytm are already leading the team!
- Machine learning will be big!Startups have collected rich data about users behaviour & buying patterns, this year will see a lot of analysis of that data. Last year, top taxi aggregators decide to pair up to win the big data race against Uber and this trend will likely continue in 2016.
- India’s biggest battle will be in Digital Wallets. Not E-Com, Not Hyperlocal. Not Food But FintechCashbacks have a psychological tinge to them, discounts no longer impress the average consumer. Digital wallets have got this right and are using this to their complete advantage. With legacy players like ICICI, Axis & HDFC participating in this competition. It’s only meant to be more fierce and aggressive.