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India's Startup Story - The Future of India's Digital Economy

India's goal of reaching a $1 trillion digital economy by 2022[1] is said to be fuelled, in part, by the spurt in the growth of startups across the country. The number of Internet users in India is growing at an enormous rate with close to 500 million internet users today[2]. Indians are at the forefront of driving the global digital revolution. The growth of startups in India makes the country the world's third-biggest start-up ecosystem behind only the US and the UK[3].

Akamai recently partnered with YourStory to put together insights on some of the most promising start-ups in India. Mapping industries like healthcare, fintech, deep tech, enterprise technology, consumer internet and public sector, the India Emerging 100 Startup report identifies start-ups in India that have seized opportunities in their journey to growth and are consequently showing gravity-defying momentum in the short term. These new-age startups have developed an approach to build product/technology innovation thereby allowing the emergence of ecosystems that present an opportunity for startups to make the shift from problem-solving to becoming visionaries. The evaluation criteria followed by YourStory focused on the technology being used, the team composition and capabilities, traction gained through multiple business lenses, scalability, and their models for delivering exceptional customer experiences online. 

Here is a quick snapshot of the impact that some of the key sectors can have in fuelling the trillion dollar digital economy in India:

Fintech

The fintech sector in India has seen an uptick over the past few years. The digital currency and payments movement took the country to another realm of financial inclusion and we're still at the tip of the iceberg in terms of penetration and adoption. According to NITI Aayog, the digital payments market, is all set to become a trillion dollar industry by 2023[4]. Lending, blockchain and IoT in FSI are fast becoming disruptive catalysts for the growth of the FSI sector, fuelled by the rise in niche fintech businesses across the country.

Public Services

The public sector in India has been witnessing steady and efficient digital transformation across areas like e-governance and powering essential citizen services online. There's also been steady growth in the involvement of technology start-ups that are developing a range of solutions in areas like citizen reporting, consumer protection, and civic services, which today have become essential services for a burgeoning tech-savvy population. It's just a matter of time before this sector catches up with the others in terms of innovation velocity to make India a $1 trillion digital economy.

Healthcare

India's healthcare sector is fast catching up to meet the demands of its tech-savvy population. The demand now is shifting to quality and affordable healthcare, much of it being fuelled by public-private partnerships and start-ups will play a huge role in addressing areas such as preventive healthcare, analytics, emergency services, and super-aggregation platforms. The sector is poised to become one of the world's top three healthcare markets by 2020, with an estimated market value of $280 billion[5] and healthcare technology will be critical to addressing the growing demands of the population. 

Enterprise and Deep Technology

India has been consistently witnessing many success stories in this sector. Be it in terms of the technology capabilities, market potential or funding - there's no doubt that start-ups in this sector have made their presence felt globally with their success. According to IDC, the IT Services market in the country is set to reach USD 13.2 billion by the end of this year[6]. India trails just behind the US and China in terms of funding for AI and deep tech, and there's no better time than now to be in this space.

E-commerce and Consumer Internet

Our indulgence with eCommerce is one that writes and rewrites record books. In fact, not too long ago, any mention of the start-up ecosystem had eCommerce as the foreword. The growth in the internet penetration across the country along with the rise in the number of people who shop using mobile devices have been instrumental in spearheading the rise of e-commerce and consumer internet companies in India. PwC estimates that India's e-commerce market is set to grow three times to surpass USD 100 billion by 2022[7] and no surprises here with start-ups leading the way with innovation and technology leadership.

Education

The education sector in India is poised to witness major growth in the years to come as India will have world's largest tertiary-age population and second largest graduate talent pipeline globally by the end of 2020. The internet has bridged some of that gap and digital platforms have deeply impacted the way we learn, teach and provide access to educational content. There are several category leaders in this sector today, helping bring new dimensions to the education sector and shape the country's youth and working population for years to come.

Travel and Hospitality

Travel and hospitality is one sector that enjoyed rapid online growth since the early years of this century and continues to do so. This growth can also be attributed to the increase in disposable income, especially among millennials, who are changing decades of traditional travel trends. According to IBEF, the total contribution by the travel and tourism sector to India's GDP is expected to increase from USD 234 billion in 2017 to USD 492.21 billion in 2028[8]. User experience has been a critical factor aiding the growth of the sector where consumers are more keen now to leverage digital platforms to make travel decisions, rewriting the rules of travel in India.

Companies of all sizes, and across sectors, require a strong technological backbone to be able to scale and grow in order to meet the demands of the next set of online consumers who also form a part of the trillion dollar digital economy. For organizations to deliver exceptional digital experiences to their workforce and customers, the business needs to be agile and fast to drive innovation and simplicity, regardless of the sector they're in or the value proposition they bring.

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