In November, NASSCOM, the not-for-profit IT association, released a report on the state of tech startups in the country for the preceding two months. According to their findings, the post-pandemic outlook for fledgling tech companies in India has vastly improved over the past five months. As per the report, more than 53% of these companies are expecting to reach pre-pandemic revenue numbers in less than six months. A tremendous turnaround, considering that, in the association’s May report, it said that startup revenues were down by 90%.
Cash availability with startups is also up to 43%, as compared to 8% in the previous report. They now have a runway of six months to operate. Interest from investors has also surged in the past few months, as has access to capital. Sectors that should swiftly get back on course are Edtech, Healthtech, and software-as-a-service businesses. The current global crisis opened up opportunities in these sectors. Companies operating in these fields faced growing demand in 2020 due to lockdown restrictions that limited movement and allowed them to serve more customers.
Other signs that point to steady recovery are the fact that the IT job market is again active, as the hiring freeze dropped by 20% and demand for workers in areas such as AI, product management, and cloud architecture increased. NASSCOM encourages companies to expand toward growing verticals, to optimize operational metrics, to foster digitization, and build industry partnerships.
Outdated Legislation Holds Back Online Casino Startups in India
Online betting is illegal in most of India, although there is no law stopping residents from betting at offshore sites. Sadly, this outdated view on the activity, which is still taboo all over Asia, limits young entrepreneurs from accessing a booming sector. Grand View Research estimates that the global market will hit a size of $127 billion by 2027, thanks to the popularity of sites such as www.purecasino.com, a favorite of most Indian players.
Online casinos are not a new thing, they’ve been around since 1994, and top industry brands such as Playtech have annual revenues of over $1.7 billion. An interactive gaming (iGaming) startup doesn’t have to run a gaming site. It can provide tech support, be a game developer, or even supply live-dealer tech solutions to already established platforms. Thanks to widespread internet access and smartphone adoption, the whole iGaming sphere is on an upwards trajectory that will not see any dips any time soon. As soon as lawmakers move past old-fashioned mindsets, the sooner Indian entrepreneurs can catch up to worldwide trends, and Indian players can play at Indian sites instead of enriching foreign companies.
Hospitality Tech Startups Are Pivoting to Survive
Due to the global pandemic and accompanying lockdowns, India’s hospitality industry saw a decline of 52% in revenues per available room. As normal restaurant operations have become restricted, the food and beverage industry is undergoing structural changes. Tourism is the backbone of India’s hospitality sector, as it contributes 10% to the country’s GDP. With travel restrictions and safety measures in place, innovation in hospitality is now not a matter of choice but a necessity.
Milagrow HumanTech is a robotics startup that launched in 2012. The company began in the residential and commercial robot space, offering floor and window cleaning machines. The first pivot happened after India’s move to demonetization, as they changed gears to providing pool-cleaning robots. Once the pandemic started to engulf the country, Milagrow’s deployed humanoids at various hospitals to clean floors and bring amenities to patients. Thus, sales of residential robots jumped by 750%.
Fintech startup DotPe is another company that aims to digitize the retail sector by offering offline-to-online payments, such as WhatsApp-based scan-order-pay features. In under a year, DotPe has managed to team up with 1.7 million merchants and collaborate with clients like McDonald’s and Starbucks. Another success story is Staqu Technologies, which developed software that helped authorities monitor prisons. The company’s flagship product uses advanced facial recognition AI to detect faces in low-resolution feeds. Now, the company is providing safety monitoring solutions for restaurants and kitchens. The software ensures that everyone’s adhering to sanitary procedures, provides queue management, as well as crowd analysis.