Indian startups with global ambitions like Vizury, Zomato, Gomei and others eye unsaturated markets in Africa & South America
Indian startups with global ambitions are looking beyond conventional destinations like the United States and Southeast Asia to focus on emerging economies such as Africa and South America, where they can apply their strategic advantage and technical expertise to tap into unsaturated markets.
Ad retargeting company Vizury, launched in 2008, now services regional e-commerce giants such as CTrip andGomei in China and Mobli and Dafiti in Brazil. Restaurant discovery service Zomato is now present in Brazil andSouth Africa, and has acquired four startups in east Europe as part of its expansion plans while Capillary Technologies has offices in Trinidad and the UAE. Cloud telephony company Knowlarity, after expanding to Southeast Asia last year, is now turning its focus on South America and north Africa.
“We wanted to focus on emerging economies, because as a startup with limited financial capabilities it would make sense to enter a market where we can be the number one player, as opposed to only making a dent in the US,” said Subra Krishnan, vice-president of product at Vizury, who oversaw the creation of company branches in Beijing, Sao Paolo, Mexico City and Dubai, among others. His next project is to set up an office in South Africa.
Emerging markets are growing much faster than developed markets, said Ambarish Gupta, founder and CEO of Knowlarity, adding that the six-year-old company is able to capitalise on its expertise in PSTN technology that is mandated in many countries in the Middle East and South America.
“Africa in particular is a very lucrative market because it has similar consumer behaviour and buying power,” said Ganesh Prabhu, professor of strategy at IIM Bangalore. “The markets there are less competitive, so it’s easier for Indian companies to sell products there for a higher premium and earn a higher margin, even taking into account transportation costs.”
Startups are setting sights even on the predominantly Spanishspeaking Latin America, which has much weaker historical ties with India than Africa and calls for high costs of travel.