Ankur Capital
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Ankur Capital

One Tech, One World

A farmer bent over his paddy in UP. A coffee plantation owner in Columbia. A mandarin grower in Australia. Generations prior to ours could not have imagined that technology unites them — technology for efficient, accurate and traceable farming.

Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO of CropIn, began taking Indian farms on the cloud to provide predictive analytics. He started on his mission in 2010, when mobile and international accessibility was still relatively poor. The entrepreneur originally did not start out by building for the globe. But what led him to expand overseas was far bigger than ambition. The world has 7.8 billion people, and close to half the world population has problems and economic segments similar to India. Krishna learnt that problem statements in agriculture over the world were similar to those faced in India, as were the solutions. CropIn’s tech stack, which was built in Bangalore, to solve uniquely Indian problems is now providing solutions across the globe. CropIn sells to 7mm+ acre farmland in 53 countries.

For global tech plays emerging from India, there are two ways in which they scale. The first kind intentionally builds for the global market (such our SaaS unicorns). They set out to target a large attractive market of 100mm+ ARR. The second kind finds local markets attractive. They are happy to sustain by serving a smaller niche market of 10mm+ ARR. Over time, they latch on to the ‘go global’ trend by finding cross-border adoption for their innovation.

According to Rajan Anandan, we may see 20–30 SaaS unicorns emerge from India over the next 6–7 years. Even a few years ago, India did not have SaaS unicorns. Now we have five including Freshworks, Druva, Icertis and Postman. Companies such as Freshworks, Capillary, CleverTap, WebEngage, Paytm and Khatabook all found product-market fit in the Indian market before venturing into different countries. Even the India Stack is being exported globally, with the Moroccan government considering adopting UPI for the local economy. Entrepreneurs need to have clarity on their idea, customer and profile. This focus will help them scale and get critical mass to win a segment.

According to Alex Lazarow* not every business is born global or has to grow into it. Going global is truly about growing from strength to strength. An entrepreneur in Israel or Latin America must first win the local market first before expanding abroad. It is a quintessentially Silicon Valley concept to seek scale even though the business model might not extend geographically. For instance, companies like Uber have global scale. However, they may not be the global winner due to regional complexities and the nature of networks in different geographies.

That being said, it is easier than ever for entrepreneurs to go global from the get go. Talent pools have emerged in different parts of the world and one can hire teams distributed across geographies. An entrepreneur can set up a tech team in India and a sales office in London.

At Ankur Capital, we are witnessing this trend first hand. A few of our portfolio companies have scaled outside India and we are humbled to play a part in facilitating our entrepreneurs’ ambitions. We believe in the power of tech to unite us across the globe. One tech, one world. (Imagine Bob Marley crooning to that.)

(*Alex Lazarow is an investor, academician and author. His first book — Out-Innovate: How entrepreneurs from Delhi to Detroit are rewriting the rules of Silicon Valley is available on Amazon)

Written by Ridhima Verma.

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