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Indian start-ups vie for space in global 'mobile first' race

Helion study says mobile has become single most important point from where information services are being consumed

BS Reporter  |  Mumbai 

A majority (close to 88%) of Indian in the mobility space are building solutions that are first and not mere transitions from the web world.

Global enterprises are increasingly consuming services aimed at making them mobile-centric. has become the single most important point from where information services are being consumed and data is being generated - a trend that is fuelling ambitions of Indian that are serving up 'mobile first' solutions.

This was evident in a survey of 100 building solutions focused on both the enterprises and consumer. The survey, conducted by Helion aims at reflecting the robustness of Indian entrepreneurship in the mobile space while identifying the catalytic role of the in its growth. Helion is a $605 million (Rs 3,630 crore) India-focused, early to mid-stage venture fund.

The report suggests that mobile have figured a quick, efficient and lean model to build their product. More than half (56%) took six months to get to a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with not more than $250,000 (Rs 1.50 crore ) in total capital investment and by running a lean ship of less than 20 people.

The average age of Indian mobile entrepreneurs is also higher compared to those in the US with only 11% below the age of 25. Unlike the US where a majority of mobile are founded by 20-year old college drop-outs, in India, less than ten% are fresh out of college.

About 90% have worked with a large company or have prior start-up experience (and in many cases founded a start-up themselves). On challenges that these were facing, the topmost thrown up by the Helion survey are go-to-market and hiring. Other challenges include finding the right product-market fit and user experience.

In what is seen as a confirmation of the start-up dream to go global, as much as 68% entrepreneurs target markets outside India. However, the remaining 32% are optimistic about the India opportunity, with solutions focused purely on the Indian consumer and enterprise. Moreover, 68% entrepreneurs have validated their mobile product and are now primed for a scale-up.

This was evident when they responded affirmatively on whether their user acquisition plans were on track or even that they have exceeded their own targets.

Revealing their funding requirements, 70% respondents plan to raise venture funding immediately to meet both short and long term goals. As much as 78% entrepreneurs expect that the next leg of growth will require up to $1 million (Rs 6 crore) in capital for the next six months while getting to maturity will take an additional $4 million (Rs 24 crore) in capital (here, a wide range from $1M to $25M was observed across respondents).

Rahul Chandra, managing director of said, "It is very encouraging to see a thriving set of entrepreneurs in the mobility space. The report, highlighting the average profile of the mobile entrepreneur, early validation of their products, their ability to work with lean teams and their confidence in raising are signs of this. At Helion, we are working with several high promise mobility start-ups, many of them focussed on building consumer apps. These start-ups showcase the blend of proof of traction, superior product thinking and capital efficiency."

First Published: Thu, July 24 2014. 12:26 IST