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1Mby1M Virtual Accelerator Investor Forum: With Anup Jain, Managing Partner of Orios Venture Partners (Part 5)

Posted on Tuesday, Aug 9th 2022

Sramana Mitra: What is your estimate of the heavily-funded unicorns in the Indian ecosystem? How many of those are going to become sustainable and successful companies?

Anup Jain: My wish is that each one of them does become sustainable. I haven’t performed that analysis but I think a large number, 80% and up, should be walking a straight line and will be able to do that. I don’t have any particular names in mind on the balance of 20%.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s talk about go-to-market strategy. What are you seeing as some of the most effective go-to-market strategies out there? We are hearing a lot about these short videos like TikTok and reels. What are you seeing?

Anup Jain: It’s different for different sectors. What applies to Agriculture may not apply to B2C. What applies to financial services may not apply to health. Different strategies will be there for customer acquisition. However, it is correct that the creator economy has taken off in India. Thousands of freelancers today are producing meaningful content right from their homes.

We have invested in a company called Bolo Live. They livestream content by creators. It is a perfect example of how the creator economy is producing content for entertainment. It’s doing the job of entertainment. It’s competing for your time in front of the television. There has been a tremendous dependency of direct-to-consumer brands which have become big in the last two years on influencers who are producing this content.

The pandemic gave a lot of opportunities to everybody to produce as much content as we like. We were all cooped up in our homes. People have taken to the platforms to produce content of all kinds. They’ve been identified by some of these brands as being aligned to their brand charter and equity. Now there are startups and companies who are linking these creators to these brands in a systematic fashion to be able to drive the agenda of consumer acquisition for these brands.

Is it meaningful to have such a customer acquisition strategy? I think yes. The good old days of the 30-second television ad signed up with a paid celebrity cost too much along with the sales and distribution cost. Today’s brands are relying on direct contact through social media platforms. They can’t do that job alone. They need real people using their products and espousing their products. When you’re interested in the story, you tend to buy the product that you find mentioned in that story.

Sramana Mitra: What is your portfolio’s experience with Google search these days?

Anup Jain: Some of our companies who are doing consumer acquisition tend to be part of what they use. I won’t say that it’s the only thing that they use. It remains useful because, after all, it’s based on an intent-based search. Therefore, it speaks very well about acquisition. Only a person with high intent would type in a keyword that is close enough to do business with you. Therefore, it makes sense to place the ad in front of them.

Its relative importance in the scheme of things has come down for companies that are looking at alternative methods like the creator economy for building their brands in a more powerful way. It’s difficult to build a brand by just placing some text that comes up when you hit a search button. It is highly conversion-oriented and not brand-building-oriented.

One has to use a mix of the two. Larger brands tend to spend on conversions because the brand is already built. It’s time to encash that at the optimized cost. Brands that are building themselves are looking at socials, influencers, and creators.

Sramana Mitra: One of the biggest beneficiaries of India’s VC boom is the creator economy.

Anup Jain: Yes, and India’s youth. They have an alternative. They want to work in co-working environments or out of cafes. The tech economy is providing that much more readily than old legacy companies which are finding it very difficult to implement it given their cultures. It’s been great for young talent graduating at this point in time to find work in companies that are making an impact.

Sramana Mitra: The adoption of online learning has accelerated since the pandemic. The combination of this lots of opportunities for youth and lots of mechanism of training for youth is very powerful.

Anup Jain: That is true. We’re very excited by the opportunity of upskilling. I forgot the source of the report. One of the reports I read said that every employed Indian requires a hundred days of upskilling to be in step with the industry’s needs. There is ample opportunity for us to learn. Online is a very powerful way to stay in step.

This segment is part 5 in the series : 1Mby1M Virtual Accelerator Investor Forum: With Anup Jain, Managing Partner of Orios Venture Partners
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