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27th May 2015

How we see the market opportunity in India. Lightbox partners Sandeep Murthy, Sid Talwar, Prashant Mehta, Jeremy Wenokur, talk about fragmentation

Fragmentation is everywhere.

India is a unique and fragmented market with massive opportunities to leverage technology to build the 21st century equivalent of traditional businesses. These opportunities often look different from typical technology investments that venture funds have seen in other markets. They involve a full-stack approach to owning all aspects of the customer experience -- from design to manufacturing to distribution. This adds complexity to execution, but also allows for the companies to control the experience and capture the product as well as the distribution margin. For companies that do this well, it creates a strong barrier to entry and a sustainable differentiation.

That being said, over the years we have learnt that the application of technology in even these well-defined industries with clear business models can require entrepreneurs and investors to be flexible in their thinking on the optimal business model. For example, our evolution in Embibe, from a paid model to a freemium service is the type of experimentation with business models that has allowed us to create one of the most engaged online user bases in India and push the envelope on how education can be delivered.

We are building exciting, innovative businesses that are leverage technology to change the way consumers interact with the world around them. Some of these businesses start with well-articulated business models but we know that they will evolve over time. Others lack a defined business model but have a powerful product/technology/customer insights that can create rapid organic growth. At the base of it they are all leveraging technology to impact large groups of consumers. As long as they can deliver on that promise and we can remain flexible in our thinking on business models, I believe that we can build industry-defining businesses.