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1Mby1M Virtual Accelerator Investor Forum: With Swapna Gupta of Qualcomm Ventures (Part 2)

Posted on Tuesday, Apr 2nd 2019

Sramana Mitra: Are you investing in media as well?

Swapna Gupta: Yes, but our perspective is slightly different. We’re looking at technology which is changing. Media is changing as well. It’s no more just about content. You’re talking about virtual reality. You’re talking about augmented reality. You’re talking about immersive experiences. What we’re playing closest to is digital content media versus traditional content media.

Sramana Mitra: Is e-commerce also something you’re still playing in?

Swapna Gupta: That’s interesting. We can look at, very specifically, the Indian market. India is a very different geography which has 1.1 billion in population. People are often visitors. There’s no way to shy away from it. We don’t invest in 20 per year. We decided to invest in five-six per year. Even if you make that one e-commerce investment, it would be very possible and have so many great underlying reasons as to why it works for Qualcomm Ventures and why it makes financial returns.

Sramana Mitra: Look at the Indian market today, where do you think are the big opportunities if e-commerce is off the table? The content side of media is off the table. B2B SaaS, there’s a lot going on and people are going after enterprise software which is India’s sweetest sweet spot. That’s something that will continue to be in favor for the foreseeable future.

You talked about a bit of media technology, virtual reality, and so forth as long as it’s a technology game. But I don’t think India has any particular strength or unfair advantage when it comes to that kind of technology or any experience as such. That experience lies elsewhere. Besides B2B SaaS, where else do you see India’s big opportunity?

Swapna Gupta: I’ve seen multiple areas. I’m of the belief that you will see great and large healthcare companies come out of India. It’s simply because of the reason that unlike US, India’s not regulated. You have options to experiment. You have options to figure out a forgiving market to work with you. That’s something which is an experiment so far. It has its own infrastructure issues. Healthcare needs lots of data and bandwidth. Some of  those infrastructural issues are being solved. Some say you’re going to see great healthcare companies from all of India.

We’re seeing a lot of work around connected world in terms of Internet of Things (IoT). We’re seeing IoT in the manufacturing sector at the industrial level and in very niche areas. I was really surprised that people are doing it for chemical plants and printing presses. These are individual companies going after niche IoT places where they can easily create $100 million businesses just catering to that one segment because India’s traditional manufacturing and industry sectors have not been technology transforming sectors.

Sramana Mitra: But those are B2B companies, right? IoT companies typically end up being analytics companies because of all the data that spews out of these sensors. They end up providing not just the IoT functionality, but also the data analytics functionality. These are going to take the shape and form of B2B SaaS companies eventually.

Swapna Gupta: In consumer electronics, we have an edge, but we still haven’t been able to create a homegrown brand. We’re going to see some of those happen in terms of technology products. It’s happened in consumer brands which are non-technology, but I do see that happening in technology as well.

This segment is part 2 in the series : 1Mby1M Virtual Accelerator Investor Forum: With Swapna Gupta of Qualcomm Ventures
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