Startups usher in the second wave of disruption

Entrepreneurs are building companies which are aiming to disrupt almost every aspect of modern life and business – from finding autos to rooms to even an informal chat deciding your next CTC.

By Paddy Cosgrave

A recent report listed India as the third largest Start-up Ecosystem in the World.  With over 4000 registered startups, the Indian startup ecosystem is asserting itself strongly using technology to disrupt traditional business models and support their aim of transforming the way people lead their lives.

Quite like other markets, the first wave of digital disruption in India was e-commerce. India's e-commerce market was worth about $3.8 billion in 2009, it went up to $17 billion in 2014 and to $23 billion in 2015 and is expected to touch a whopping $38 billion mark by 2016!  For a citizenry that has traditionally been wary of purchasing products without a physical inspection of it first, India is embracing the idea of buying goods and services online wholly.

Even as the e-commerce boom continues to stay strong, India is currently preparing for the second wave of digital disruption. Entrepreneurs are building companies which are aiming to disrupt almost every aspect of modern life and business – from finding autos to rooms to even an informal chat deciding your next CTC.

Several labels are being used to describe the companies at the heart of this new wave of activity - they are often referred to as Hybrid Software Companies or Internet+ Companies or even Online to Offline companies. The entrepreneurs are relentlessly focused on enhancing real world services and experiences by augmenting available software and infrastructure.

This means that traditional sectors of the economy are ripe for an upgrade, with digital innovation delivering new products, services and business models. The internet has been driving massive economic opportunity in many western markets and the same possibilities exist in India - on an even bigger scale.

Second wave companies are often using advanced computing power, instantaneous data analysis and sophisticated software to provide services to users that go beyond the internet and deliver in the real world. So while Google is essentially a software company, companies like Uber or Airbnb are hybrid software companies or Internet+ companies.

Take Jugnoo for example. The start-up helps users book auto rickshaw’s near them in different cities by creating an inventory built out of a network of registered autos. Through a streamlined and standardised process, users can expect the same service when booking a rickshaw in New Delhi or in Chandigarh.

Or take a look at Propstack. While the domestic online real estate rental market is a highly crowded market place, Propstack has targeted the commercial real estate sector. With multiple properties listed in India’s financial capital, the website is soon expanding to other cities, backed by a team of real estate, research and analytical experts.
Chargebee on the other hand helps users manage subscriptions by automating the process of payments for renewals and other recurring charges while EduKart lets students take lessons and earn degrees, diploma and certificate courses from recognized universities, institutions and industry bodies.

With tons of apps coming up every day, the user is awarded with the convenience of controlling various aspects of his life; all with a smartphone and an internet connection. And, as the year 2016 dawns and more smartphones than ever find their way into the hands of Indian consumers, apps in particular will rapidly become simply a commonplace way to get things done. For many Internet+ companies apps are the most important mechanic and route to success. As with all disruption, this new wave of economic activity may feel uncomfortable for some, but what is certain is that the consumer will win, with exciting new choices of services and products.

The author is CEO - SURGE and Web Summit

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