India’s World Startup Report Is Released And The Future Of Technology Looks Bright For The Country

India’s World Startup Report Is Released And The Future Of Technology Looks Bright For The Country


posted yesterday

Wrapping your brain around technology trends here in the United States, or even just in Silicon Valley, is a chore. Figuring out the trends and who the major players are in an emerging market like India is 10 times as difficult. Bowei Gai, former LinkedIn employee by way of his company CardMuncher being acquired, has done just that under his World Startup Reportumbrella.

Brad Feld and Dave McClure have been leading the mentor and seed-funding charge in India, as well as the Valley, as of late, and shared some interesting thoughts with us based on what they were able to pull from the report.

Feld told us that the online and offline business differences in India are what stood out to him:

I wasn’t tuned into the difference between online and offline businesses in India. The friction in offline society has a tremendous impact on any businesses, especially ones outside India, whereas the online world has enormous opportunities that seem unconstrained in the near term due to the extremely low penetration of smartphones when compared to the high penetration of mobile.

Here’s the extremely detailed report, complete with population information, market opportunity and current players in the country:

The idea for the World Startup Report is that one will be done in all major markets that are up-and-comers in the tech space. This is no small task, but if this India report is indicative of the types of information that Gai and his team are mining, then good things are bound to happen. Its mission is to share these documents for free, to empower local startup “activists” to become ambassadors for their region and ecosystem. Once those leaders emerge, then all of the pieces will start coming together for places like India.

Gai told me about the experience of gathering all of the information in the report above, which seemed like quite an adventure:

It’s been a life changing experience, having the ability to walk into startup’s office and ask any questions about their experience.

In the last 3 months, we spoke close to 2,000 young entrepreneurs, well-known successes, angels, VCs and policymakers to get everyone’s perspective on their startup ecosystem.

McClure talked to me about what it means to be more global as far as investing goes and why 500 Startups is starting to spend actual time, and money, in India:

The benefits and opportunities for getting in early (but not *too* early) in India are tremendous. For only small amounts of capital and resources (say, $1-2m/year?) we can get started now in India, and potentially see impact and returns within just a few years. Particularly seeing the rise of mobile / smartphone business in india, and the Indian middle class growth opportunity over the next 3-5 years is amazing.

Yes, mobile is something that you’ll hear about a lot when it comes to emerging markets. In India, mobile devices easily outnumber desktop ones, and all trends are pointing to smartphone adoption setting up booming potential in the country. Today it’s all about feature phones and SMS, but tomorrow, mobile apps will be bigger than desktop software ever was in the country for consumers.

It’s not easy to get involved in the startup scene in India without some learning and networking, as McClure explained to me. There’s a great bit of mentoring that will take place over the next few years to fuse all of the engineering talent that exists in India with consumer marketing expertise that hasn’t hit its stride in the country as of yet. This report is a great primer for anyone thinking about taking the long plane ride over to build some amazing things for consumers who are just getting ready for it.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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