Predictions for the Startup Ecosystem for the Second Half of 2023 The Indian economy is expected to grow at 5-6%, possibly the only major economy with these growth rates.

By Ivy Chin

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The startup ecosystem, true to its nature, continues to evolve and disrupt the status quo. There are larger technologies that have been in the making for years and are now coming to the fore, like AI in the form of ChatGPT. These are disrupting how startups are ideating and developing, the pace of development and of the much higher risks of becoming obsolete and irrelevant even faster. Globally, most advanced larger nations are expected to see low growth in 2023 and this is impacting sentiment seen noticeably in the funding pace and quantum slowdown. However, all asset classes go through cyclicality and this is currently the low phase for startup investing.

The Indian economy is expected to grow at 5-6%, possibly the only major economy with these growth rates. India's large population, especially the aspirational and large middle class, is driving demand across industries and hence its startup ecosystem is expected to remain robust, with access to a strong talent pool and favorable government policies supporting innovation and entrepreneurship. While the IT industry was India's claim to global fame, in recent years, it has also become a hub for startups in other sectors, including healthcare, fintech, and e-commerce.

Generative AI is an emerging technology that will gain further attention in the latter half of 2023. Its adoption in various fields presents interesting use cases that could result in exciting disruptions. Established companies may incorporate this technology to improve efficiency and competitiveness, further fueling growth giving growth wings to businesses offering the technology to these players.

Sustainability is a trend that could gain further attention in the second half of 2023. Consumers are becoming more aware of the impact of their actions on the environment, and startups that focus on sustainability could see increased interest from investors. This could include startups focused on renewable energy, circular economy solutions, and sustainable agriculture and that supports the sustainability focus.

Startups that prioritize responsible growth, positive unit economics, capital for growth vs. burning of capital, would attract attention from investors. While it is important to be aware of emerging trends, startups' primary focus should be their chosen customers and markets and not being swayed by these trends. While the future may seem uncertain, startups' ability to stay agile, adapting and pivoting to build businesses that are ready to grab growth at the time of upturn are best positioned for success in 2023 and after.

The overall approach to deals and investments is likely to be more of a "wait and watch" approach. The slowdown has been largely observed in the late stage, larger-sized deals and while we have seen some slowdown, it opens up opportunities to early-stage investors.

Ivy Chin

Partner at Inflection Point Ventures

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