For making products for the next billion users, one has to keep in mind key aspects such as monetisation, partnerships with government and finding innovative avenues to decrease cost of operations, said experts.
Koo’s co-founder and CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna, Amazon’s Head - Strategic Initiatives - Public Sector Deepti Dutt, Zomato’s Chief Technology Officer Gunjan Patidar, and Delhivery co-founder Suraj Saharan spoke in a panel on ‘Building for the Next Billion’ at T-Hub’s inauguration held on June 28.
Radhakrishna said that entrepreneurs have to tap into monetising non-English or non-urban users. His comments were in line with his narrative that almost all social media platforms other than Koo majorly cater to English, city-based users.
Entrepreneurs will have to dig deep to find use cases where non-English users will be incentivised to spend money, he added.
“I think you have to get into extreme detail to find out these use cases. The English users will spend in the thousands. However, the other language users will probably spend in the 10s and hundreds. But the numbers of other language users are much higher,” Radhakrishna said.
To zero in on these cases, one has to keep talking to people, take cognisance of feedback in any form, Radhakrishna said.
Deepti Dutt, who heads the Strategic Initiatives - Public Sector vertical of Amazon and earlier used to work with the Unique Identification Authority of India, urged startups to garner experience by working with governments.
“You can avail pilots with the government and make sure that when you do these pilots, you get some paper trail – Even if you don't get paid at least a certificate, that says that you have done this outcome,” Dutt said.
Second, Dutt said, was to work on partnerships. She gave the example of how in the case of mega projects, governments float request for proposals (RFP) for selecting a master integrator. The master integrator then gets multiple distributors together to execute the project.
“I have always had to learn how to bring government to the demand side, startup to the supply side, and system integrators to the fulfilment side. These partnerships become very important,” she added.
Saharan of Delhivery stressed on deploying innovative solutions to keep down cost of operations. He gave an example on how Delhivery keeps down its cost of operations with this example:
“In smaller towns today, where we don't have enough volume, we look for a partner, because then it becomes an additional source of revenue without having to invest in the fixed cost, because they are already owning that shop. So they're just adding people to deliver shipments and getting paid for that,” Saharan said.
“I think trying to keep finding solutions that help you get to your desired cost of operations becomes important,” he added.Similarly, Patidar of Zomato said, “The next billion is monetisable. We just have to understand and figure out the basic conditions."