Over the past decade, ecommerce has seen unparalleled growth in India. The sheer size of its population, along with the growth of the internet and mobile penetration offered the best opportunity for a variety of online businesses to start, scale and reach new heights of success. The growth had its own phases and stages which gradually paved the way for India becoming one of the fastest-growing centers for online commerce.
The First Wave of Startups
India has been a hotspot for startups since the first wave hit in the early 2010s. It was a boom period for startups in India, mostly for B2C. Such startups had a dominant online presence and grew up fast and within a span of 4–5 years. Most of them now boast the coveted “Unicorn” status.
The Second Wave
You guessed it right. With the launch of initiative “Startup India” in 2016, the market saw a wave of B2B entrepreneurs. This time their focus was business to business. The regular retail market seemed pretty much saturated at the time so all the budding entrepreneurs gave business to business a shot.
Did you know?
India had only 900 business-to-business tech startups in 2014. This number has expanded over 3 times to 3,200 Biz 2 Biz tech startups in 2018. 30% compound annual growth between 2014–18 has been very promising. As a matter of fact, India has 5 “Unicorns” in its B2B market. (Source)
By the end of 2018, the total investment on independent Indian startups had been $3.7 billion. B2C market is not the only suitable ecosystem anymore for people dreaming about running a successful enterprise. Most of these startups are based on addressing the country’s problems such as healthcare, food, education, transportation, etc. Some of these companies address the consumers directly while others cater to other businesses sharing resources. All of these companies have full-fledged ecommerce operations giving them the online presence and exposure.
So if you are shaking your brain too hard just to point out a few startups that tried their luck in the B2B market and succeeded, take a look below.
Here are some successful B2B startups in India which made it big.
Udaan is a B2B trade platform, designed specifically for small & medium businesses in India. It helps traders, wholesalers, retailers, and manufacturers in India by bringing them on to a single ecommerce stage. They keep up to date with the latest trends and provide real insights to help their patrons. Buyers and sellers can contact each other in this marketplace and do trade easily.
They are counted in the Unicorn club. To date, they have been able to raise 1600+crores of capital.
This is another “Unicorn” club player which has grown at a steady pace since its inception. It’s the second “Unicorn” B2B start-up to hit profitability in India. InMobi is a global provider of enterprise platforms for mobile marketing. The platform enables consumers to discover new products and services by providing recommendations on mobile apps and devices. Their mobile-first platform allows brands to engage consumers through mobile advertising.
Its global valuation is estimated to be over $1 billion and is still going strong.
StoreHippo had been serving B2B clients in India and abroad for quite a while now. It is a flagship product of Hippo Innovations Pvt. Ltd. Headquartered in Gurgaon. Active in more than 15 countries, StoreHippo offers a gamut of award-winning technologies to design, launch and market enterprise sites that deliver phenomenal performance on all devices. Serving more than 30 types industries, their diverse and holistic range of e-commerce capabilities gives them an edge over their market competitors. StoreHippo’s Enterprise ecommerce platform is equipped to handle all the issues faced by wholesalers and enable business owners to gain a competitive edge. With features like multi-vendor and multilingual, you can create a global marketplace and make your brand. Hippo Innovations has ShipKaro to provide logistics, which comes in handy for StoreHippo clients.
Delhivery was conceived in 2011 and ever since it has become India’s leading supply chain services company. This Gurugram-based company has 30 offices, over 2,500 delivery partners and 19 automated sorting centers that direct its operations. In March 2019, Delhivery raised funding of $413 million from Softbank. Their total funding is over $670.6 million as of March 2019. It caters to B2B and C2C segment. They plan to scale up and add new warehouses to strengthen its freight services. It’s expected to join the “Unicorn” club of startups by the end of 2019.
5. Pine Labs Pvt Ltd
Pine Labs was founded in 1998. They provide B2B financing and POS transaction support. Some of the support they offer consists of payment solutions including EMI, discounts, cashback programs, pay by points, loyalty, targeted promotions, and dynamic currency conversion. Pine Labs boasts a presence across 3,700 cities across India and Malaysia and other parts of Asia. Pine Labs’s latest funding round was an Equity for $102.6M on Jul 2019. One of the major innovations planned by this B2B startup is still currently in the testing phase. It is aimed to replace its traditional point of sales machines with cell phones which the merchants can use for accepting credit/debit cards, QR codes and wallet payments. In March 2019, they were approached by Google pay to partner up and help enable UPI payments across the point of sales terminals spanning 200,000 stores in over 3,500 cities in India.
To put it in a nutshell, there still are tons of B2B entrepreneurial options in the country ripe for the taking. Not only that, with rising numbers in internet users and government support, the opportunity seems as promising as ever. Bengaluru, Delhi NCR and Mumbai alone account for 60% of the business to business tech startups in India. These cities might be clustered with such startups but it doesn’t mean you won’t succeed anywhere else. All you have to do is do the right kind of planning with proper execution.
Online purchasing and payments, ecommerce operations are now being seen as opportunities to explore more avenues. The market potential in the country presently is lucrative and alluring. There is a need for products and services in a lot of areas. You just have to dig deeper.
The Indian consumer base has expanded. They are not just limited to Tier 1 cities now.
India is currently witnessing a crucial point and is going to see a ‘hockey stick growth’ in the number, scale, diversity, and impact of startups. This is only the beginning.