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India Tech - 17 trends to watch out for in 2017

2016 was a roller coaster year for the Indian venture eco-system. The early part of the year saw the funding frenzy of 2015 continue. The three ‘V’s — Value, Velocity and Volume, that mark a frothy environment were at play and we saw several investments being made at high prices and at a brisk pace. The second half of 2016 was sobering for all — founders and investors took time to grasp the gravity of the rapidly changing funding environment. From dealing with a problem of plenty, where the only mantra was ‘growth at all costs’, to reconciling to a world choked of capital, entrepreneurs found themselves adjusting business plans by 180 degrees and asking the question ‘how would I build the business if this were the last round of funding available?’

Now that the worst of the upheaval is (hopefully!) behind us, we can look forward to the new year and new ideas with vigour. Here is a list of 17 trends / things to watch out for in 2017.

 

1. Data explosion — expect 2017 to be the year we see an inflection in mobile data consumption

2. ABCDE — Content and local language consumption plays will hit meaningful scale; think ABCDE on mobile — Astrology, Bollywood, Cricket, Devotion and Education

3. Tier 2/3 monetization — already companies are reporting more than half of their transacting users from smaller cities, this will further grow

4. Ecommerce wars will continue — Alibaba will execute its India game-plan to compete head-on v/s Amazon, Flipkart and others

5. Consolidation — expect more M&As driven by the slow funding environment

6. Travel Tales — The MMT-Ibibo merger changed the India online travel landscape; we will likely see them make more strategic moves now that the discount war has ceased and before Booking.com makes its India move

7. Differentiated ecommerce models that don’t need truckloads of capital will rise — think content, community, commerce in that order

8. Online-first brands will hit initial scale and make large companies across FMCG, F&B, Fashion take notice

9. Pivot or die — it will be a year of reckoning for startups that raised a ton of capital in 2015/16 but haven’t yet found a business model with workable unit economics

10. Stronger startup & government interface — to redefine rules across industries ranging from healthcare to transport in the wake of increased technology disruption

11. India Stack opportunity — more startups will solve India-specific problems and build on top of platforms like India Stack, UPI and Aadhar

12. Digital payments in India will come of age — triggered to a great degree by demonetization

13. Indian SMEs will embrace technology — more Indian SMEs will start their journey on the technology adoption curve; think invoicing, payments, CRM, marketing, etc

14. Full-stack startups will find favour — those that solve real, hard, on-the-ground issues leading to a better customer experience across verticals like health, education and financial services

15. Repeatable Global SaaS playbook — now that we have a handful of Indian companies that have shown the way and hit $30M+ ARR serving global markets, expect more startups to follow suit

16. Chatbots, AI, Machine Learning — expect more user interactions to leverage AI and machine learning across sectors like HR, shopping assistants, intra-company communication, customer service, etc

17. Rise of alternate media — 2016 saw the launch of some independent, thought provoking journalism around India tech. 2017 will see these mature and grow. Expect less PR, more research and tough questions which are important for the maturation of our startup landscape