Category — Information Technology

Online Grocery Market Grows in India

With incomes rising and Internet connections spreading across India’s urban centers, an online food retail channel is developing with a mix of  brick-and-mortar retailers (setting up e-commerce sites with offering home delivery) and with pure-play online grocers emerging. The latter category includes Bangalore-based BigBasket and Mumbai-based retailers LocalBanya and EkStop. All three have been part of the early development of the online grocery channel in India.

Brick and mortar grocers Reliance Fresh and Godrej’s Nature’s Basket have been offering free delivery of groceries and fresh vegetables and fruits to homes and offices within a limited radius of the location of their stores. Amazon India has started delivering foods and beverages too.

However, debates continue on the subject of the efficacy of e-commerce for food items with some analysts asserting that promotions and deals are a common tactic by manufacturers looking to build an online presence in India — a tactic which should only be used occasionally. Amnish Aggarwal, senior VP for research at stockbroker Prabhudas Lilladher, feels “If your premium consumers are going in for your online retailing where you are offering discounts, then it is detrimental for your brand value.”

Road infrastructure  is considered in delivery schedules, and many companies have bicyclists delivering orders. LocalBanya allows customers to enter three delivery addresses; while EkStop offers six, two-hour delivery time slots. BigBasket’s delivery routes are managed by GPS technology.

Himanshu Bajaj, principal at A.T. Kearney‘s consumer industries and retail practice in India, believes “major investments” can be expected over the next few years.

 

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March 17, 2015   No Comments

4 Indian Startups in Billion Dollar Club

The Wall Street Journal’s and the Dow Jones VentureSource’s Billion Dollar Club includes startups that venture-capital investors believe are worth at least $1 billion and have raised money in the past three years, and four Indian startups make the list.

Ranked 5th of 73 companies listed is Flipkart Internet Private Ltd., India’s largest e-commerce company by sales valued at $11 billion. Snapdeal, a rival online marketplace, ranks 30th with a value of $2 billion. Online-ad company InMobi, valued at $2.5 billion, and Ola Cabs valued at $1 billion are also included in the club.

India is expected to become home to the world’s second-largest number of startups, after the U.S., in the next couple of years as investors pipe in cash to new companies.

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February 27, 2015   No Comments

Google Capital Expands to India

Google is in the process of setting up an office for Google Capital in India, joining other investors such as SoftBank and Tiger Global, in what will mark the first such expansion outside the U.S

David Lawee, Google capital partner told Wall Street Journal that “it makes a lot of sense to focus on India right now,” citing the growing adoption of smartphones in the country and its increasingly active start-up community. He noted that the country of 1.2 billion recently surpassed the U.S. in terms of its number of Internet users, and that local entrepreneurs “are responding” with “innovative” offerings for the domestic market and thinking about global growth, as well.

Google Capital has already invested in India in the real estate portal CommonFloor, and the U.S.-India company Freshdesk. The organization told the Journal that it is open to investing in Indian start-ups across the board.

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February 22, 2015   No Comments

Why is China’s Alibaba Investing in India’s e-Commerce Market?

The number of smartphone-using Indians runs into millions and they are the key growth drivers of India’s burgeoning e-commerce sector.

Quartz quotes technology consultancy firm Forrester Research which reports that by 2016, more online commerce consumers will make their purchases from mobile phones, instead of desktops, and by 2019, the total mobile commerce sales could reach $19 billion even as the overall online commerce industry grows to over $100 billion.

Mobile Commerce in India

Mobile Commerce in India

Backed by over 80 million smartphones, the total value of transactions through mobile phones in India grew from $1.25 billion in 2012-13 to $5.79 billion in 2013-14, according to data from Google and Forrester Researcha staggering increase of 383% in one year! By 2016, India is slated to become the world’s second largest smartphone market due to falling mobile phone prices and cheaper data services.

These projections are part of the reason why Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba made its first big investment in India earlier this month. Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of the Alibaba Groupbought a 25% stake in One97 Communications, a company based in Noida in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. One97 runs Paytm, India’s largest digital goods marketplace. Paytm is also a payment solutions provider to e-commerce merchants using its Reserve Bank of India-approved semi-closed wallet. The company has more than 23 million customers.

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February 17, 2015   No Comments

Go East, Young Entrepreneur!

Here are three stories of entrepreneurs that went east to India, survived, and succeeded:

Valerie Wagoner started her company ZipDial, which was acquired last month by Twitter, based on her insight of the potential of missed calls in the bandwidth deprived Indian mobile market.

In 2013, Greg Moran and David Back left the U.S. to work in India, but ended up starting their own company ZoomCar, a self-driving (ie no chaffeur provided)  car rental start-up. What started with just seven vehicles is now a business of 250 cars in the cities of Bangalore and Pune. They have plans to expand to 10 more cities this year with the recent funding they received from Sequoia. “I like the energy levels of the people here. Besides, starting business in India is becoming an easy process,” says Moran.

Eleven years ago, in 2004, Sean Blagsvedt came to India to head Program Management and Advanced Prototyping for Microsoft Research. He had no plans of settling down in India, but within months he quit his high-paying job, married an Indian woman, and set up a company to solve the problems of unskilled and blue-collar jobs in India. Blagsvedt has no regrets. He considers the move to become an entrepreneur in India one of his best decisions. “India is largely an under-served market, but has huge potential when it comes to adoption of technology. We are trying to solve some socioeconomic problems with the help of digital technology,” he says. His venture, Babajob, connects job seekers such as security guards, drivers, maids and cooks with potential employers.

With the start-up ecosystem maturing in India, the numbers of expat entrepreneurs are so significant that it has led to the formation of an Expat Entrepreneurs Circle, an exclusive organization of foreign entrepreneurs and non-resident Indians doing business in India.

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February 12, 2015   No Comments