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Why the future might be ‘incredibly different’ for Indian startups

Leading financial services firm, Avendus’ Co-founder and Vice-Chairman, Ranu Vohra, knows the Indian startup ecosystem in and out, having observed its evolution first-hand over the last two decades. So when he talks about what the roadmap for Indian startups may look like over the next few years, you listen with rapt attention. “I think we are in a very interesting time, in digital. I think the story is evolving and the story for the next five years might be incredibly different, and a lot larger than what we’ve seen in the last five years,” Ranu tells YourStory Co-founder and CEO Shradha Sharma.

He believes the pandemic has accelerated the Indian startup ecosystem’s growth on the digital front by at least two years. For all its faults, COVID-19 has brought in trends that were not there before, opines Ranu. “That level of disruption is an entrepreneur’s delight, I mean entrepreneurs revel in these kinds of disruptions.They’re great opportunities to grow your business, pivot your business, do things differently,” he says.

Online grocery startup, Bigbasket, which is part of Avendus’ investment portfolio, for instance, witnessed an 84 per cent growth in new customers during the pandemic, with its customer retention rate going up to 50 per cent from 30-45 per cent in the pre-COVID era. Through the coronavirus crisis, the online grocery segment has seen explosive growth and yet there is still a lot more room for it to expand. According to Bloomberg, around half of the country’s $1 trillion retail market comprises grocery sales, leaving a massive-sized playing field for those in the online grocery game.

Private equity major KKR-backed Avedus’ association with Bigbasket is through technology-focussed private equity firm Zodius Capital Advisors, which it acquired in 2017. Zodius’ portfolio companies include BigBasket, Pepperfry, Zivame, and FreshMenu.

“I don’t see this to be a trend or something where people are saying everything is hyped, overvalued. Mind you, my reference frame is one of mid to late stage growth. It’s not as much early stage growth. And we have been fortunate to not just advise companies, we have been fortunate to invest behind some great companies like Bigbasket, Zivame,” says Ranu. Read from source….