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Amidst unicorns racing to cut costs and cooling investor sentiments towards the sector, startups need to relook at what could be driving the marketplace tomorrow. To begin with there really isn't or ever has been a lot of innovation in the Indian ecosystem, with a majority of the startups only mimicking or replicating startup trends from the US, albeit lagging them by at least half a decade.
Below we list some of the courses entrepreneurs are electing to follow in the current scenario -
a) Entrepreneurs now look to be driving fundamentals over chasing unabated growth at any cost
Gone are the days wherein a business model which only revolves around client acquisition, without paying any heed to the cost incurred or a sustained model to cache the acquired clients gets funded. The industry in large part valued itself excessively and preempted a bubble of sorts, all of its own doing. The trend of reducing burn rates and taking a leaner approach will only benefit industry in the long run and make companies more competitive against the next phase of startups who could well improvise on similar concepts.
b) Hiring Freelancers
Many startups who could earlier opt for high quality talent at global prices have now had to relook carrying these employees on their payrolls on a permanent basis, in most cases freelancing is beneficial to both parties as it cultivates a climate of knowledge sharing and opens up networking opportunities which have not been available hitherto.
c) Platforms to integrate information moving from minimalism to videos
The trend for 2015 was a call out to minimalism, with most startups moving towards a minimalistic approach, removing clutter in favor of a simple comprehendible message. This trend is quickly drifting towards video, with consumers now less patient than ever videos look to be the shortest, most efficient means of hauling content.
d) A move towards Fintech
The onset of 2016 has brought with it a slump in Series A investment of traditionally vibrant sectors of E commerce and Social Media startups, Fintech is the new flavor of the season, with barely any real innovation in this sector over the past decade Fintech could be the next big sector which attracts startup talent and investment. Conspicuously in a country like India wherein the vast majority of our country does not have access to banking, let alone financial markets, Fintech could be the driving force of 2016.
A government in favor of dematerialization and online on boarding of the rising rural middle class could only augment the growth rates we will see in this sector forthwith.
We see co working spaces with a common knowledge base as the way forward as this drastically cuts down costs. It also cultivates a culture of networking wherein you could have many talent bases consolidating under one roof at a fraction of the cost.
The trend overall is a move towards organic, leaner, cost efficient models, wherein the primary driver of growth and revenue has to be the product and word of mouth marketing. There can be no fitter means of marketing a solution than a satisfied customer evangelizing on your behalf.