1947 Tech 🇮🇳: 75

Shiva Singh Sangwan
4 min readJun 19, 2019

Once a week newsletter: Insights on Tech, markets, startups, venture capital, and foreign investments in India

1. Facebook invests around $25M in online social commerce startup Meesho

Chinese founders have a simple strategy for India: Target the masses. Target tier 2, 3 and 4 cities and beyond. Around 900 million people live in these cities.

And build mobile business models that have high volume, low-margin transaction.

This strategy has paid dividends in China and it is paying dividends in India as well.

US companies have finally understood this strategy.

Last week, YouTube invested in Sharechat to tap the mass market in India.

This week Facebook invested in Meesho.

“An equity investment like this is a first in India. We were excited about the founders and what they have built in such a short time. A lot of their focus is in on Tier II and III (cities). Also, among their 2 million resellers, 80% are women, which is the most exciting part for us,” Mohan, MD Facebook, India.

2. Online shopping goes live to tap the untapped

E-commerce in India is evolving. Just like studying history can give you a glimpse into the future. Studying cross-border can give you a glimpse into the future as well.

E-commerce in India is evolving.

Live-streaming took off in China and it is inevitable that it will take off in India as well. It is just a matter of timing. Seems like the time has come.

Why Live-streaming?

Developing countries prefer video over text. And India is a video-first and mobile-first country.

While these are early days for live-streaming ecommerce, or “live commerce” as it is known in China, the opportunity to take online shopping beyond the first 100 million users is what these companies are excited about.

3. PEs, VCs bet big on logistics business

India is seeing rapid urbanization, growing middle class, rising e-commerce transactions and GST implementation.

All these factors have triggered a wave of activity in the conventional and under-the-radar logistics sector which has emerged as a darling of private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) investors this year.

Data from research firm Venture Intelligence shows around $620 million worth investment in logistics across 12 deals this year, compared to $265 million in 2018.

By 2050, India’s urban population will nearly double to 814 million from around 410 million in 2015. Opportunity — 80% of the urban infrastructure that will be needed in India in 2050 has yet to be built.

4. Tongue twist: Now, unicorns go vernacular for Bharat users

India is 3Vs

Video • Voice • Vernacular

9 out of 10 new internet users in India are likely to be Indian language users

Growth year-on-year in voice searches — 270%

Amazon aims to onboard the next 100 million Inder’s in India, it sets up a vernacular support center.

When Gaana, a big Indian music-streaming app, underwent a recent redesign, its product managers made voice the primary way to search.

Unicorns such as Byju’s, Policybazaar, Zomato and Oyo now support anywhere between two and 12 regional languages.

A growing number of startups are adopting a new motto that’s rooted in the vernacular — ‘Going local’. Incorporating regional languages into their apps and platforms is helping them drive adoption and expand their customer base

A week in review

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Shiva Singh Sangwan

Tennis Athlete || Entrepreneurship || Technology || Public Policy