B2B startups make their presence felt in NASSCOM’s top 50 this year
BENGALURU: Half of the companies in the latest batch of startups shortlisted under Nasscom Emerge 50 are engaged in B2B businesses with many serving global clients, in further validation of emergence of enterprise clients-focused startups in the country. Nasscom Emerge 50 is an annual exercise of the software industry association to identify and showcase 50 most innovative, emerging IT product startups.
Started in 2009, the programme is in its eighth edition now. Last year, only 30% of the shortlisted startups were in the B2B space. Also, this year some B2B players including EdGE Networks and SirionLabs made it to the top 10 ‘League of Ten’ list. “Not many Indian companies are out there in the global B2B space. We want to build our company and sell in the global market competing with the likes of IBM, Oracle, SAP, etc,” said Ajay Agrawal, CEO of SirionLabs, a Gurgaon-based enterprise software maker.
Industry experts have been heralding the emergence of the B2B space on par with B2C for some time now. “B2B startups focused on the global market are doing well. India is emerging as a hub for SaaS startups that cater to the mid-and-small customer segment in the US,” said Sharad Sharma, founder of software think tank iSPIRT.
This year’s list of Nasscom Emerge 50 startups, shortlisted from over 450 nominations, also shows a marked increase in startup activity in tier-II and tier-III cities. While there were hardly any applications from the smaller cities last year, this year, applications poured in from cities such as Jaipur, Indore, Kochi, Coimbatore, Visakhapatnam, Thiruvananthapuram, Amritsar and Chandigarh, amounting to 6% of the total applications, according to Sangeeta Gupta, senior vice president at Nasscom.
Gupta highlighted several other trends seen among the chosen startups. “We saw a much more nichefocused startups than startups that were doing similar things,” she said. “Another differentiator this year was the focus on core technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence), cloud (cloud computing) and IoT (internet of things).” Last year, core-tech startups constituted only 15% of the Emerge 50 list. SirionLabs’ Agrawal said: “It is a very exciting time to be a software engineer in India, because the kind of technologies being built are going into the heart of the large enterprises and the coding and engineering is on a completely different scale.”
Applications for the Emerge 50 list were screened by Zinnov and then chosen by a panel comprising industry experts such as K Jaya Kumar, MD at Walmart Labs, Rehan Yar Khan, founder of Orios Venture Partners, and Anuja Shukla, startup business development manager at Google India. Pallav Nadhani, CEO of data visualisation products provider Fusion-Charts, who was a jury member, said there was good diversity in this year’s list. “For example, two years ago, everything was around ecommerce. This time, we had companies in infrastructure management, developer tools, HR domain, as well as several hardware products…we even had a security company, which is among the top three in the world,” he said.
Nadhani also complimented the strong revenue models of the startups. “The most important trend was in B2B. Many companies are revenue focused and have decent revenues. More stable and global level products are being built from India. It’s not just a hypothesis. There have also been real early successes,” he said. About 26% of the companies had revenues in crores even though onethird of them were incorporated post 2014. The list represents an equal number of bootstrapped and funded startups.