14 Jan 2016

Indian Startups Solve Physical Problems

(Disclosure: I work for Google, but these are personal views.)

Someone told me an interesting point of view: Indian startups are solving problems that have a physical, on-the-ground component. This is true with e-commerce startups (Flipkart), groceries (Big Basket), food delivery (Tiny Owl), second-hand sales (Quikr) and transportation (Ola). These are all real-world products and services, not purely software-based interactions like Gmail or Snapchat.

Another example is Paytm. Payments are done differently from country to country. In other words, we don’t have a global market for payments, but separate markets for each country.

Come to think of it, it seems obvious that Indian startups solve problems involving the physical world, rather than the virtual world, or cyberspace as it used to be called [1].

From the perspective of an Indian user, foreign tech companies like Google (disclosure: my employer), Facebook, Dropbox or Microsoft operate in an entirely different world from Indian startups. The former operate in cyberspace and the latter in the real world. They are complementary rather than alternatives for each other, for the most part.

[1] With a few exceptions like Hike Messenger.

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