1947 Tech — Week 42

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

Tiger Global raises $3.75bn fund with India among its key focus areas. Tiger Global, which had bet $1 billion on Flipkart since 2009, had made over $3.3 billion in the transaction and still owns around 5% stake in the company.

In India, Tiger Global is likely to look at new e-commerce companies, logistics tech startups, business-to-business commerce firms, and digital media/content ventures in the country.

India’s largest food delivery service Swiggy is close to signing a term sheet to raise $900 million from a group of investors led by South African technology conglomerate Naspers at a pre-money valuation of $2.5 billion

The development close on the heels of Swiggy’s arch-rival Zomato raising about $210 million from its existing shareholder Alipay Singapore Holding Pte. Ltd., the digital payments arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Competition is heating up in the food delivery space with the entry of new players including Ola-Foodpanda, UberEats and Google Areo.

Founded in August 2014 by Sriharsha Majety, Nandan Reddy and Rahul Jaimini, Swiggy clocked revenues of $18 million (in the financial year 2016–17, up from $1.5 million in the previous year, according to its filings with the Registrar of Companies (RoC).

Any entrepreneur that is eying Indian market should read this article. What works in the west, or even in Asia most likely wouldn’t work in India.

India is a very dynamic market. To win in India the design, features, business models and brands are needed to be built for India.

Why didn’t WeChat work in India?

“The product was designed with Allen Zhang’s vision and had peculiar features to the effect that worked well in China market but didn’t work well for Indian users,” says Himanshu Gupta, who was the associate director of marketing and strategy at WeChat India, from 2012 to 2015.

To be sure, WeChat’s problems in India are not unique. Chinese apps and services from other sectors, too, report similar troubles. The world’s largest bike ride-sharing company ofo launched in India in February this year only to wind up operations in less than six months.

Online automobile marketplace Droom is working on introducing Indian languages on its platform, including Hindi, Telegu and Gujarati, by the next quarter as part of its efforts to expand user base on its platform.

“It is not just using a translate feature, it is a challenging process. Languages have a lot of nuances and it needs to be understood how the customer will respond to terms like ‘check pricing’, ‘check vehicle inspection’ and others in regional languages,”

Recently, e-commerce giant Amazon had launched its marketplace in Hindi to capitalize on the vast, untapped market of Hindi-speaking customers. Flipkart has also acquired a company called Liv.ai — an artificial intelligence-led speech recognition startup — as the Walmart-backed company looks to cater to the next wave of growth in Internet user base that is coming from tier II cities and beyond.

Other online platforms are also expected to join the trend as industry reports suggest that the Hindi Internet user base is likely to outgrow the English userbase by 2021 and along with Marathi and Bengali users, will drive volume growth.

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