“New markets are catching up and churning out apps to cater to local tastes.”
A huge indication of the rise of Indian tech startups is Twitter’s recently confirmed acquisition of Indian startup ZipDial on Tuesday 20th January 2015.
New markets, such as China (WeChat) and Japan (Line), have been catching up and churning out apps to cater to local tastes.
India refuses to fall behind. In 2014, Yahoo and Facebook snapped up two Bengaluru-based startups.
DESIblitz takes a look at three tech startups founded by Indian IT and finds out how they fare against their peers in the West.
Hike vs WhatsApp
Hike has everything a chat app needs – group chat, emoticons, audio message, and photo and video sharing.
Hike offers something more. It allows users to send offline messages in India. Not only can they send up to 100 free SMS messages every month, they can earn more SMS allowance or talk time by inviting their friends to use Hike.
Since launching in December 2012, Hike has gained over 35 million users, 90 per cent of which are in India. Over 10 billion messages are sent and received every month.
But these numbers pale in comparison to that of WhatsApp. Founded by Brian Acton and Jan Koum in 2009, WhatsApp has a staggering 700 million users. In April 2014, the company recorded its highest volume of messages processed in one day – 64 billion!
WhatsApp adopts a strict ‘no ads, no games, no gimmicks’ policy. In order to enjoy this privilege, users are required to pay an annual subscription fee of £0.69 after the first year.
Hike, on the other hand, is free and offers more features than WhatsApp. However, WhatsApp’s revolutionary approach clearly has a better return with over 500 million downloads on Android alone.
Competition is fierce in this category, with both WeChat and Line quickly closing the gap with WhatsApp. Hike is going to need more than localised stickers to stay in the game.
Zomato vs OpenTable
You can search for eateries by name, location and mood. You can even browse their themed collections, such as ‘Super Sushi’ and ‘Sweet Tooth’.
You can personalise your ‘food journey’ by following fellow foodies, posting reviews and photos, checking in and bookmarking your favourites.
Deepinder Goyal founded Zomato in 2008. Since then, it has attracted 132 million foodies, and covered over 290,000 eateries across 15 countries and 121 cities.
Having surpassed the one million mark in Google Play Store download, Zomato plans to introduce new features in India to enhance the dining experience. These include restaurant chat and cashless payment.
OpenTable (formerly TopTable) is Zomato’s partner for table booking service, but it seems the American company has a number of lessons to learn from the Indian startup.
While OpenTable has a better coverage in London, Zomato has a combined listing of 2,940 for Birmingham and Manchester against 157 found by OpenTable.
As a registered user of Zomato, you can rate and review any listed eatery. However, OpenTable only allows this function if you have made a booking with the restaurant or café through OpenTable.
Content is another strong suit of Zomato. The layout is simple and user friendly, with key information colour coded and displayed at the top. OpenTable prioritises reservation and special offers instead, but excels in its review section which shows an overall and breakdown score.
Flipkart vs Amazon
Seven years ago, Flipkart began trading in books. Today, the online shopping website sells products spanning seven departments and over 60 categories.
Flipkart has two lines of own brand products – Digiflip for consumer electronics and Citron for health and beauty products and home appliances. This is a promising sign for the online retailer, demonstrating strong volume growth and customer loyalty.
As former employees of Amazon, Sachin and Binny Bansal have clearly applied their learnings from the e-commerce giant to ensure the success of Flipkart.
From search result filters, wishlists, to recommended products and order tracking, Flipkart is determined to focus on customer needs.
Like Amazon Prime, Flipkart also offers a one-day delivery service for an annual subscription fee through Flipkart First. However, where Amazon Prime promotes its own brand products and services to subscribers, Flipkart First rewards theirs with exclusive deals and priority customer service.
With 22 million registered users, Flipkart is a long way from challenging Amazon’s 244 million-strong active customer base.
Since 1995, Amazon has gone from selling only in the USA to operating in 12 overseas markets. International delivery and video streaming are among many services enjoyed by Amazon’s customers.
For now, India is Flipkart’s only delivery destination. If they can capitalise on the growing number of mobile users and changing shopping behaviour, the world will be their oyster.
With less than 20 per cent of India’s population currently online, the room for growth is exponential.
The availability of budget smartphones in the territory will see more people going online.
They will become better connected and demand for more technological inventions.
The gulf between the Indian startups and the American multi-national tech giants is huge.
Nevertheless, Indian startups are creative and continuing to innovate all the time.
Demographics are definitely on their side. India is one of the world’s largest markets with a large percentage of young people.
This market for tech startups will grow as more Indians become wealthier and more familiar with tech.