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India enjoys the cheapest data rates in the world. This has been the single largest factor that has led to the digitization of India — internet penetration stands at ~ 560mm Indians! Internet usage has increased from 27% of our population in 2017 to ~ 42% now — a rise unlike anyone’s in the world. While all sectors were expected to and did catch this big wave of digital adoption, edtech struck a chord with parents and students alike who jumped on the bandwagon to solve the dearth of quality teaching and accelerate their training for competitive exams. There are over 4,530 active EdTech start-ups in India today, out of which 435 were founded in the last 24-months alone. The total funding raised by these EdTech firms since 2010 stands at $2.46bn. And the 5 segments that it has catered to include test preparation, skill development, online certification, online discovery and enterprise solutions. …


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Jim Barksdale and you will be happy to note that we have plenty of data points (and not just an opinion) on why we believe in the potential of the eB2B space. There are 13mm kirana stores in India, out of which 46% ~ 6mm are in rural India and 32% ~4.14mm in Tier II, III and IV cities. More than 90% of these stores purchase from wholesale markets, less than 5% from cash & carry and B2B platforms. The B2B retail market surpassed $700bn in 2019 alone and is expected to grow in tandem with the overall consumer spend.

But why will the Patel Store at a walking distance from your place want to switch to ordering online now aka eB2B? Plenty of reasons — The traditional retail supply chain has a lot of redundancy built in partially because of the excessive number of players between the manufacturer and the retailer; and inefficiency cause no innovations have been done to this age old space. On the customer side, issues such as lower fill rates, poor or no data on demand preferences bring the consumer experience and engagement down. This is especially important to take care of because with the B2C segment taking off online in a big way, Mr Patel is competing with Amazon, Flipkart and a slew of online marketplaces for customers’ interest. He needs props to be able to better service his customers and preserve/grow business — whether it be data that helps them order better, integrate with suppliers, access credit to stock up, etc. Earlier credit facility wasn’t available for online deals but this scenario is slowly changing with credit being available for online transactions. …


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Protein consumption in our protein deficient nation is growing across all demographics as we climb up the GDP curve. There are people in the next billion segment who have moved up the food chain and can afford to include different sources of proteins such as eggs, lentils and the occasional meat in their diets. There are others who were in a comfortable tax bracket and woke up to the significance of protein only in the last few years — a change made possible by the health conscious moment of high protein and low carb diet regimes.

Maybe this will come as a surprise to many of you, but 70% of India’s population today consumes meat. While it is disproportionately in the form of chicken; fish, mutton, beef, pork, other meats also feature. The amount of protein in the Indian diet is increasing at an astonishing rate of ~ 20% per annum and this growth is secular across animals. …


We were listening to Jack Hidary talk about how vision impacts the talent a company attracts. He used the example of Tesla and Fisker. Tesla sold the future and Fisker sold a bridge to the future. One retained its talent in tough times and the other didn’t. The rest is history.

Talent is the one ingredient that makes or breaks a company. It is the complex beast between you and your vision. We have seen the comings and goings across dozens of startups including our own (yes, a fund can be a startup too). Different recruiting styles, different requirements, different companies, different outcomes. Is there a code on how to do this that lets a startup founder crack it? We had Mohit Dubey (CEO, Chalo.com), Mekin Mahehwari (Founder, Udhyam.org) and Roopa Kumar (Co-founder, Purple Quarter) — talent hunters, directly and indirectly — stop by and share their learnings. …


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The Ankur Capital team caught up with Joy Chakraborty (COO, PD Hinduja Hospital), Prashant Tandon (Co-founder & CEO of 1MG), Shailesh Prithani (Founder, Doxper) and Pinak Shrikhande (Principal, Healthquad) to discuss how they view the Indian healthcare landscape evolving over the next few years.

This diverse and accomplished panel was able to give us first-hand insights on a variety of topics ranging from digitization in hospitals, adoption of tele-medicine, interactions between different stakeholders in the value chain such as pharma companies and healthcare service providers and most importantly, on what will be the new normal for the healthcare sector in the post-Covid world. …


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The Ankur Capital team caught up with Girish Varadarajan (Head Customer Analytics, Aditya Birla Capital), Dr. Manuj Garg (Co-Founder, myUpchar), Anirudh Maitra (Product Manager, Google Assistant for Next Billion Users) and Kushagra Sinha, (Founder, Jiny, an Ankur Capital Portfolio Company) to discuss the tipping point for digital inclusion in India.

While Anirudh was able to provide a wider lens on the subject by leveraging his experience at Google and Girish and Manuj were able to provide deep sectoral insights from a healthcare and financial services perspective, Kushagra gave us first-hand insights from his experience with businesses looking to adopt tech solutions to target the next billion Indians. …


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The Ankur Capital team caught up with Bharath Ram (VP — Product, Engineering and Design, Flipkart), Mani Bhushan (Business Head of E-commerce and Surface, Blue Dart) and Sateesh Nukala (Co-Founder of our portfolio company — BigHaat) to discuss how they see the next billion market from their unique lines of work.

Bharath touched upon the three most important questions that need to be answered to understand the India 2.0 user base — first, how do they discover products?; second, what are these products?; and third, what value proposition works for the next billion users?

An important consideration involved is trust. This is largely owing to the fact that unlike in physical retail, in e-commerce there is a time lag between exchange of money and receipt of the goods by the user — they cannot see or feel the product until its delivered to them which is after the purchase decision has been made and in several cases, payment is completed. Value of money is an equally important consideration to retain customers onto an online buying channel. …


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The Ankur Capital team caught up with Ashish Potdar (Business Head, Keya Foods International), Harpreet Tibb (Ex-Kellogg, HUL) and Mayank Gupta (Founder & CEO, To Be Honest Foods, an Ankur portfolio company) about consumer food businesses. With 40+ years of experience among the panelists, we covered a wide range of issues and challenges, with diverse perspectives from an industry veteran, a matured consumer food business and a growing startup in the space.

The session kicked off with a discussion around some of the key challenges currently being faced by consumer food brands due to COVID19. Mayank was able to offer insights into the three key challenges faced by TBH and the steps they are taking to overcome them — managing human resources, tackling supply chain issues and dealing with the cash crunch! Tackling HR issues required constantly providing reassurance to workers and alleviating their paranoia by increasing communication, providing monetary incentives and arranging transport. Importantly, Mayank viewed this as an opportunity to build the organisation. To manage supply chains better, distribution was the main challenge. A strong focus on leaning out the supply chain, working with multiple partners to ensure end-to-end distribution and building their own channels were some of the steps TBH took. …


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A farmer bent over his paddy in UP. A coffee plantation owner in Columbia. A mandarin grower in Australia. Generations prior to ours could not have imagined that technology unites them — technology for efficient, accurate and traceable farming.

Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO of CropIn, began taking Indian farms on the cloud to provide predictive analytics. He started on his mission in 2010, when mobile and international accessibility was still relatively poor. The entrepreneur originally did not start out by building for the globe. But what led him to expand overseas was far bigger than ambition. The world has 7.8 billion people, and close to half the world population has problems and economic segments similar to India. Krishna learnt that problem statements in agriculture over the world were similar to those faced in India, as were the solutions. CropIn’s tech stack, which was built in Bangalore, to solve uniquely Indian problems is now providing solutions across the globe. …


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We live in a world where our mind is our crown. As all kings have done since times immemorial, we must protect our crown. Creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, symbols, names and images used in commerce are referred to as Intellectual Property (IP). IP for the purpose of business is commonly in the form of a patent, trademark and copyright. Of these, patents protect unique product ideas for the purpose of monetization.

Across the world, we are witnessing a consistently positive trend in the number of patents filed and granted by startups and large companies. There is a clear indication of this trend across diagnostics, medical devices, biotech, pharmaceuticals, telecommunication and software. Newer areas such as blockchain and greentech are seeing a smaller comparable increase. …

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Ankur Capital

Seeding Startups. Building India.

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