Recently I visited India representing the DFINITY Foundation. The trip was supported by upstart venture production and consulting group, Dunya Labs, and advocacy group, InCrypt. Those ten days altered my understanding of the way technology manifests products and the driving role the needs of high growth nations will have in defining the digital landscape of tomorrow.
In this episode, I’m joined by co-founder of Dunya Labs, Cathy Guo, and co-founders of InCrypt, Nitin Sharma & Sumukh Shetty. We examine the Indian startup, business and regulatory environments. We also look at the growth of telecommunications infrastructure alongside macro demographic trends and the unique business conditions they create.
Incrypt Investment, community building, and policy research and advocacy Has produced study and guidance on regulation
Dunya Labs Research Arm Product specific research Infrastructure team connecting applications to protocols Community and incubation
Cathy’s Book Entrepreneurial philosophy Corporate responsibility Emerging tech landscape in India Emerging startup ecosystem The way that Indian startups create social and economic value
How do you see blockchain technology being deployed in India? Low trust, high administrative friction in India Middlemen are a big problem Desire for transparency and automation More data is moved through Indian infrastructure than the US Beginning with banks and private ledgers Supply chain, etc. basic pilots that we are used to seeing in the first phase of blockchain experimentation Next step is public blockchain This is limited by the regulatory environment Look at India for talent, users & capital
The 4g Rollout India is experiencing a leapfrog effect for technology rollout
Tech companies Indian tech companies are moving from a service based model through a period of optimizing external business models for the Indian market to a native innovation model where they will begin exporting technology There are 18 tech companies valued at over USD1b It is important not to overestimate the Indian consumer base There is limited local market protectionism There may be 1.3 billion people but the number of consumers of tech products may be 30-50 million Users can’t pay the way that they can in China or the US Companies survive by being very lean Talent is cheaper, this makes it a good place to launch Deep tech is still limited Need funding and educational support If we compare the Indian market to where it was 10 years ago you see 10 - 100x growth but it is still an order of magnitude lower than China/US There is a huge impact in reducing fees on increasing addressable market Almost 50% of Indians are under 30 Little legacy infrastructure but high web and mobile penetration 3 million software developers in India with a 50-70% increase in graduates yoy
Legacy Primacy of agriculture Fear of automation (computers) This has changed
What are the business models that will drive the next generation of Indian unicorns Many current unicorns are already expanding overseas Enterprised focussed, or SaaS companies can be based in india and address markets abroad - Zoho, Freshworks A new crop of SaaS companies are emerging with that model This allows the targeting of specific niches because of the lower cost of talent Many blockchain projects fit this model
Engineering Education Theoretical Lack of innovation focus Desiged to pass you on to a services company MOOCs and open source are enabling autodidacts and hackers to innovate Tertiary education is of variable quality Brain drain is a major problem
Regulation Indian government is pro-business and pro-innovation Has supported identity and digital payment work State and national government are experimenting with private blockchain Ponzi schemes have damaged the support for public blockchain Fear of capital flight
Bit Connect took USD3b equiv from India