Enabling India through technology

Enabling India through technology

A unicorn is on the loose! After circa four years of operation, Dollar Shave Club have been acquired by Unilever. Although this is not specifically related to what is happening in India there are a number of parallels and positives to be drawn from the acquisition. Firstly, and after a long(ish) wait; unicorn acquisitions for relatively young companies may no longer be an urban myth and more importantly the apparent reasons for the purchase by Unilever are very interesting indeed. The summary is that giants like Unilever (other examples are listed in the article also) are more likely to acquire than innovate themselves. If you consider the number of businesses like this that operate in India, you can see why I believe this is a very good take away from this story. Adding to that point, this is a great example of a technology-enabled business disrupting an existing marketplace with huge success. Now, I am not suggesting we will see Reliance buying Flipkart anytime soon but I do see the potential of these types of acquisitions in the India market in the years to come. I guess we will have to wait and see if I’m right.

I can’t (as I suspect you can’t) wait for the GST bill to be passed. From your perspective, it’s more likely because it will mean I’ll stop harping on about it. However, from mine, the possibilities and  benefits that GST might bring seem so great that, even with the various implementation challenges, it just seems to be a no-brainer. Take for example the potential benefit to the logistics industry and consider the knock-on effect stronger logistics would have on India and you see why something like GST is so important. Let’s see if the bill is passed as hoped/planned this week.

If there are any indicators of prosperity then surely purchases of luxury goods is a decent benchmark. Historically, and even now, India is not considered a big consumer of luxury. However, these predictions may open your eyes to the growth expected and the prosperity that should go hand in hand with such spending. Of course, prosperity doesn’t just happen. In fact, there are many factors, which of course I can’t cover in single paragraph. However, boosting investment would certainly help by improving the ease of doing business. Any such investments would of course require investors need to be attracted to propositions. In line with some of my previous posts, you can see there are many initiatives in many sectors being worked on by the India government to ensure job creation, producing more attractive investor opportunities, and reducing the red tape around doing business are just some of the examples of work being carried out to ultimately increase prosperity. Couple that with the examples of work also being done in education – such as wanting to make the premier schools in India to be self-sustainable as well as recognised around the world and the launching of an online skill training portal with the aim to reach millions of skill seekers in India. You can see just how much emphasis the India government are putting on the fundamentals to ensure prosperity for all is ultimately achieved.

Finally, I just had to mention Pokemon Go. The thing I find fascinating is the speed at which the craze has grown. Considering the origins and history of Pokemon it’s amazing just how far this phenomenon (I honestly think of a more appropriate word) has come. And for me, proves there is no harm to dream big! It also goes to show just how addictive technology is and how fast adoption can be; for instance according to Apple it is the most downloaded app in a first week ever! What’s important to consider is smartphone user behaviour has changed so much over the years. As the article points out: “At first, it was a common thing to open the App Store to discover new apps and find new ways to use your phone. Now, everybody knows that your phone is the most powerful tool you always have on you”. Consider now how this approach to smartphone usage plays its part in a mobile-driven market like India is becoming. Essentially, providing a solution to an existing problem through the use of technology is likely to prove to a win-win in India (or at least that’s what we think).

Author: Dishang Pateldish-colour