Will 2022 see continued “hard diplomacy” or can we embrace “smart” and “soft” diplomacy?

INTO INDIA wishes you all a peaceful, prosperous, safe and healthy new year for 2022. This is our last post for this year.

The question for next year is how will we all get on better than we did in 2021?

I hope we will see “smart diplomacy” dominate next year – this is the kind of diplomacy that works with cultural and cross border differences. It is not insulting and does not force the other country into an aggressive response. It takes into account major global shared challenges such as climate change, Industry 4 and the continuing pandemic.

It is “smart” to talk to other countries in a way which allows them to make their own positive contribution to the debate – does not corner them into hostility.

Australia has done some “smart” diplomacy things this year – such as using former Prime Minister Abbott as a special envoy, a move well received in Asia.

Hoping countries will all be a lot smarter in 2022.

It would make it a good year for all of us.

Launching your startup into India – my 5 key tips

The team that have taken Australian startup CANVA global – India is a market for almost every startup

Launching your startup into India – 5 key tips

Here’s a big generalisation – almost every startup can find an eager market in India.

I say that with confidence, because the Indian economic growth story means demand for everything cannot be met – demand is huge, so that means opportunity for your startup.

But how to approach India?

First – think longer term than you normally do, but keep in mind modern India can be either fast or slow and there is no way of predicting.

Second – leave your ego behind. Pretty much every western company that has succeeded in India has done so on the support of a strong local Indian team across all levels. To do this, they have effectively left their ego behind.

Third – India wants your startup, NOT your culture. Those who struggle typically want to transfer their “culture” to India, so they put their expat team in charge of the local team.

Being preoccupied with transferring “the way we do things in our company” to India makes them blind to “the way Indians do things there” which is the most important insight for future success.

Fourth – use your expat team wisely. Expats can come and go as needed – but your business needs longevity in India and that is what an Indian management team can provide.

Fifth – Smart companies that go into Asia also ensure they hire Asians into the Head Office team, so you have Asians running your enterprise on the ground in Asia and Asians at the right level in HO guiding and advising the HO team.

The future of startups and innovation is looking good for India.

 

India chasing battery manufacturing

India plans to pitch to companies such as Tesla, Samsung and LG Energy to encourage them to invest in manufacturing batteries within the country, as it looks to establish a domestic supply chain for clean transport.

India will host five roadshows starting next month in countries including the United States, Germany, France, South Korea and Japan to convince battery manufacturers to set up local production.

Tesla, LG Energy and Samsung are among those who will be invited to attend, although a delegate list has not yet been confirmed.

Other companies targeted include Northvolt, Panasonic and Toshiba. The move is a part of USD 2.4 billion incentive program to boost battery manufacturing for which the government has begun inviting investment proposals from companies.

8 things we need to know about India

Confident young Indians like these are driving new entrepreneurial spirit

CAUTION – generalisations are just that, and you will almost always encounter those who do not fit in this list. This is offered to assist those visiting India for business, education or tourism.

1. Successful and confident

Economic success has restored Indian confidence. Indian entrepreneurs are now recognized around the world and there is a national expectation that the next Bill Gates will be an Indian. This entrepreneurial spirit permeates the nation (most dream of becoming entrepreneurs) which is now confident.

2. Never forget rural people

Indian business and political leaders may live the urban lifestyles, but they do not forget the small towns and villages at the centre of rural life – and it’s not just the politicians with an eye for votes, with major corporates such as Infosys pouring resources and funding into village developments.

3. Avoid pointing the finger

Indians become instantly passionate when challenged on subjects like their high tariffs, especially if the challenge comes from the west. The message is, point the finger at India and you can expect a robust response.

4. Oceans of patience

Indians have oceans of patience which can drive westerners crazy, but it gives them a special strength in negotiations. This patience is derived from deeply held spiritual views such as impermanence – Indians are constantly reminded of the impermanence of this life, everything changes, and they can wait when often we cannot. Who has the advantage in this situation?

5. Not just an IT miracle

Do not be fooled with the view that the Indian economic miracle is just driven by call centres and IT. Important as these are, look also at insurance, energy, retail, clean technology, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and even agriculture as areas where efficiency is producing startling results.

6. Not especially “Asian”

While India feels great about the success of “Asia”, in many ways it does not feel particularly “Asian”. First and foremost, Indians feel Indian, and to them that is vastly more relevant than being geographically part of Asia.

7. Remember the “Father of the Nation”

Whether dealing with the young or the old, in India never forget the “Father of the Nation”, Mahatma Gandhi.

8. Equity up there with democracy

Partly because of Gandhi, Indian leaders are more concerned with equity than with spreading democracy around the world – and cannot understand the enthusiasm of the USA and its allies to champion democracy in unlikely locations.

Japan investing in India – role model for Australia?

Japanese firm SoftBank is leading investment into Indian IT and startups

Japanese investment in the Indian IT and start-up ecosystem has grown fourfold since 2016, according to a report by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), in association with Nomura Research Institute (NRI).

It estimated the investment is helping create 102,000 additional jobs.

Japanese investment reached US$ 9.2 billion, mostly by large investors like Softbank.

Fintech, healthcare and mobility are the top sectors drawing investment from multiple Japanese investors followed by e-commerce, enterprise, and real estate.

Japanese policymakers see India as a trustworthy partner for accelerating Japan’s digital transformation and began investing strongly in Indian tech start-ups since 2016.

Which raises the question for Australia – can India become a favoured investment location as Aussie companies strive for next level transformation?

India second to China for APAC startups and globally third largest unicorn ecosystem

According to GlobalData, Indian entrepreneurs received US$ 16.9 billion in venture capital investment in 2021, second only to Chinese peers in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

According to GlobalData’s financial transactions database, 828 venture capital financing agreements were reported in India between January and July 2021, with a total declared funding value of US$ 16.9 billion.

Flipkart raised US$ 3.6 billion, Mohalla Tech (ShareChat) raised US$ 502 million, Zomato raised about US$ 500 million, and Think and Learn (Byju’s) raised US$ 460 million in India between January and July 2021.

“While several of the top major countries globally saw a drop in VC financing value in July compared to the previous month, India managed to display growth despite a decline in VC funding transaction volume,” stated Mr. Aurojyoti Bose, Lead Analyst at GlobalData.

India has becoming a digital-first economy as smartphone usage has increased and mobile Internet has become cheaper. As a result, IT firms have benefited the most from this trend.

According to GlobalData, India has the world’s third-largest tech unicorn ecosystem, after only the United States and China. VC investors are showing interest in companies in e-commerce, social media and social networking, food delivery, edtech, and digital payments at the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Mr. Bose.

Tech innovation is not just about tech – it needs a basis of deep understanding of your business

Sundaram Business Services has a deep understanding of Australian business.

Indian firms like Sundaram Business Services in Chennai and Australia should be on your radar for tech innovation – in addition to their tech innovation capabilities, SBS has been active in Australian business for many years and knows the business environment very well.

A KPMG survey ranks India third among countries that show the most promise for tech innovation.

Tech innovation is most successful when the supplier has a deep understanding of your business. This is like a mantra for the SBS group – building innovation on the sound basis of business understanding.

There has to be cross cultural understanding and good communication.

Whether it is Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning or other innovation, success is gained when the supplier has the capacity to how your business works and what your needs are in the market.

More than 800 industry leaders were surveyed for the report which said 39 per cent believe global ‘hub’ cities such as London, Singapore, and Tel Aviv will continue to play a vital role, enabling talent to coalesce and collaborate in communities with a solid digital infrastructure.

There are so many great Indian startup stories – and much more to come

Mr. Girish Mathrubootham started Freshworks without any special help, nor did he come from wealth.

There are so many startup and unicorn stories in India today – and we know there will be more tomorrow.

Consider Freshworks which began eleven years ago and is now a huge firm with more than 3,800 team members and offices all over the world.

Mr. Girish Mathrubootham started Freshworks without any special help, nor did he come from wealth.

“We were only a six-person company operating out of a tiny garage in Chennai over eleven years ago. I didn’t have a gilded CV or come from a wealthy household, but that didn’t stop me from dreaming big.”

“I recognise that not every creator is as lucky, which is why as an angel investor, I have funded more than sixty startups,” he continued.

Now Girish Mathrubootham of Freshworks, Mr. Manav Garg of Eka Software, Mr. Shubham Gupta ex-Matrix, and Mr. Avinash Raghava ex-Accel have teamed together to establish a founders-first company called Together Fund in an effort to boost entrepreneurial enthusiasm in India.

The fund, which has a US$ 85 million initial capital, aims to assist India’s finest SaaS entrepreneurs in building, scaling, and winning together, therefore creating India as a true product country. Together Fund is India’s first and only venture capital fund run by founders. They operate some of India’s most well-known SaaS businesses in addition to being founding partners of Together.

The future of startups and innovation is looking good for India.

India’s EdTech has a huge boost due to covid and home learning

Harsh Rajan and Nirmla Sankaran founders of HeyMath – an E-Learning, online Maths coaching institute in Chennai.

India’s online education sector has really taken off as the pandemic led to school closures and a big part of the 250 million school children switched to online learning.

Investors are attracted to the large number of startups and unicorns in EdTech.

It’s an industry that will be worth nearly $2 billion by next year and is producing unicorns such as Byjus and Skillmatics.

Even with this dramatic growth, online education is touching only a small fraction of the Indian education market, so the future is strong.

A further boost for EdTech is the new National Education Policy (NEP), which looked at addressing the challenges and extending the scope of right to education (RTE) to students aged 3-18 years, with a key recommendation to harness edtech through app-based learning, online student communities, and lesson delivery beyond ‘chalk and talk’.

According to estimates by DataLabs, there are a total of 4,450 edtech startups operating in India, spread across various segments such as test preparation, e-tutoring, online certification, skill development, online discovery, and STEAM kit and enterprise solutions.

Educational delivery will no longer be either fully online or offline but a hybrid blend of both worlds.

For countries like Australia, India has an appetite for almost all of the EdTech innovations coming through.

Bill Gates says India is one to watch for tech innovation

Tech pioneer Bill Gates praised India’s policies for financial innovation and inclusion, saying his philanthropic foundation is working with other countries to roll out open-source technologies modeled on the country’s implementation.

“If people are going to study one country right now, other than China, I’d say they should look at India,” Gates said at the Singapore Fintech Festival on Tuesday. “Things are really exploding there and innovation around that system is phenomenal.”

India has built ambitious platforms for universal identification and digital payments, including the world’s largest biometric database and a system for sending rupees between any bank or smartphone app. Gates said those policies have drastically reduced the cost and friction of distributing aid to the poor, especially during the pandemic.