India Technology 2.0: The Charge of the Indian Web 2.0 brigade

September 9th, 2006 |
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Web 2.0 is at a fairly nascent stage in India. There are a bunch of India centric Web 2.0 products (or applications) that currently exist but that bunch is steadily growing. So, now you have a, not too insignificant number of techies, working zealously to create India centric social networking applications, mashups, aggregators, filters, web office products etc. But have you wondered about the profile of these people, who are leading the charge of the Web 2.0 brigade in India?

During the past few months, I have had the opportunity to interact with a cross section of the early Indian Web 2.0 adopters. I personally know few of them (having met them in events like TiE and BarCamps). Some of them, I haven’t met in person, but I have interactions with, via emails. While there are many others who I know off, because I read their blogs or follow the products they are creating. Based on my understanding of this disparate group, here’s how I would segment the people/companies who comprise the Web 2.0 space in India:

The Big Daddies of the Internet – This category is comprised of the internet biggies like Google or Yahoo, who are based out of Bangalore, and have teams that are creating Web 2.0 content for their Indian websites.

The Mid Sized Indian challengers – This category is comprised of companies like the Chennai based Zoho, which makes the well know Zoho weboffice suite. Or the Hyderabad based NowPos, which has created a voice email application. The typical team strength of such companies would vary between 25 and 50.

Foreign startups with a Indian development center- These are essentially foreign (mostly US based companies) with a Indian development team, where the product is made in India, either entirely or partly. The products could be meant for an Indian or for a worldwide audience. Examples are companies like the Bangalore based Riya, the Mumbai based Webaroo or the Pune based BetterLabs.

Indian startups/entrepreneurs making Indian specific products – In this category, I would include startups like the Bangalore based RHR Networks, which runs a bunch of India specific websites. Or the Chennai based TenMiles Corp, which is essentially a software products company but has created a cool polling application called Tezaa.

An army of Casualpreneurs – This group is at the base of the Web 2.0 pyramid and comprises techies, who can best be described as Casualpreneurs (i.e. casual entrepreneurs). I’m aware of scores of such people, who have a full time day job, but are creating India centric web products in their spare time. Most of these products have internet advertising based revenue models. The majority in this group are NRIs, though I am aware of resident Indians as well. Often, they are a bunch of friends, who have split the coding work between themselves and have pooled money to rent the servers. My hunch is that some of these casualpreneurs are future entrepreneurs but they are currently using the relative safety of their jobs, to try to monetize a product idea.

You might be wondering where I have slotted the big Indian portals like Rediff, IndiaTimes, Sify etc. In my opinion, these companies are largely oblivious to Web 2.0, being deeply preoccupied with monetizing Web 1.0 opportunities. They have created a few Web 2.0 applications, but I would regard those as exceptions to the general trend.

About Amit Ranjan:

Amit Ranjan is a techie turned marketer turned entrepreneur. He heads the Delhi office of Uzanto (a Silicon Valley user experience startup), where he drives the company’s product development team. He tracks emerging trends in the Indian consumer internet space and writes a blog called Webyantra, where he profiles innovative Indian web products and services.

Amit Ranjan is based in New Delhi.

About “India Technology 2.0”:

Amit’s “India Technology 2.0” will bring audiences to the forefront of the issues and topics that drive technology innovation in India through several approaches, such as identifying trends in the Indian consumer internet space, reporting on governement policies impacting technology, interviewing local entrepreneurs and executives, covering notable tech conferences (and unconferences), and providing insightful and in-depth product reviews.

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