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India is setting the benchmark for innovation and unique products: Ajit Mohan

Mohan added that a decade ago, India used to refer to successful Western models that could be replicated in India. "You had a model that worked elsewhere; you could replicate it and make it work here in India," he said.

November 24, 2022 / 04:03 PM IST
(L-R)  Ananth Narayanan, founder of Mensa brands and Ajit Mohan, former country head of Meta India

(L-R) Ananth Narayanan, founder of Mensa brands and Ajit Mohan, former country head of Meta India

India is setting the benchmark for innovation and products that do not exist anywhere, according to Ajit Mohan, who was recently appointed president of Snap's APAC region, as Indian businesses increasingly develop globally relevant business models.

“It is clear that now India is setting the benchmark, whether it is in innovation or products and services that do not exist anywhere,” Mohan, the former country head of Meta India, said during a fireside chat with Ananth Narayanan, founder of Mensa Brands, at the Ascent conclave 2022.

Mohan quit Meta (formerly Facebook) India on November 3 with immediate effect, ending a nearly four-year tenure as the company's country head. He has now joined Meta's competitor Snap to lead the Asia Pacific region for the social media company, as well as being a member of the executive team.

He added that a decade ago, India used to refer to successful Western models that could be replicated in the country. "You had a model that worked elsewhere; you could replicate it and make it work here in India," he said.

Mohan believes that India is now seeing models that are fairly unique to India and have the potential to go global from here.

According to Mohan, 800 million people in India now have access to good quality internet and have been introduced to a digital way of living over the last two years. He anticipates significant changes in commerce, healthcare provider selection, and education over the next ten years. “We are really at the beginning of that journey. And only the foundation has been built,” he said

Mensa Brands' Narayanan attributed the trend to fundamental changes in India that have supported the growth of its digital ecosystem, such as mobile internet penetration, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), and Open Network for Digital Commerce platforms (ONDC).

“The mobile internet penetration and cost of data are more affordable compared to the rest of the world. The second layer is the UPI, which is enabling financial transactions over mobile phones at almost no cost. And now we are seeing platforms like ONDC starting to take off,” said Narayanan.

Narayanan’s roll-up e-commerce start-up Mensa Brands was launched in early 2021. The firm quickly became India's fastest-growing unicorn, raising $300 million in six months.

Narayanan co-founded Medlife, an e-pharmacy and consultation platform, before launching Mensa Brands. He was also the CEO of Myntra Jabong, one of India's largest online fashion retailers.
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Mansi Verma
Debangana Ghosh
first published: Nov 24, 2022 02:45 pm