Indian Startups Going Global

The next phase of India's Internet

India is the most exciting internet economy in the world today with 500 million internet users at present, the next half billion (NHB) to come online in the next 3-5 years, where 85-90% will be mobile first internet users (India sells 35- 40mn smartphones every quarter!)

The first wave of internet adoption and penetration in India, driven by search, social, chat and ecommerce – largely English language has created the first $100bn for our internet economy, what will be the drivers to get us to $500bn by 2025 and $1trn by 2030?!

The second wave of the internet economy in India will be a function of a few key drivers. An urban millennial Indian kid can now shop online, book tickets online, order a home repair and find multiple other ways to spend his or her disposable income on the internet. But what about the basics? When does education, healthcare and other key pillars of the economy come online and experience the leap frog India does so well with technology? We will discuss NHB further in our next month’s newsletter ☺

The EdTech Boom

Education is one of the pillars of the Indian economy – why and how has it not come online? Why don’t the government internet initiatives of connecting schools and villages help the world’s largest K12 market (260mn students!) help students learn, choose careers wisely and so on?

The key themes in education so far have been online content & learning, test preparations and others, all largely support services, none core to providing education or skilling.

Madison Investment Focus

Madison is fortunate to play in the ed-tech space, we have multiple investments in India’s fast growing education space (Flinto, Buddy4Study) but the one I would like to call out today is Nurtr – India’s premier platform for career mentoring & skilling. Nurtr is India’s Masterclass, solving the problem of access to credible information, world class mentors & trainers and high quality content coupled with one to one and one to many interactions from these master mentors.

Madison was the first investor in Nurtr. Our thesis naturally centered around the size and growth of its market, but also the technology platform they are creating and the massive quantities of data they collect through every interaction. Last but not least, the founder, who not only comes from phenomenal academic and professional pedigree, but has built and sold an internet venture before.

Nurtr’s first mentor is Grandmaster Ramesh who teaches chess on the platform. Having sold nearly $1mn of Chess content online in the last year, the team is getting ready to launch their second vertical with Gary Kirsten & Cricket! India is the largest cricket market in the world and cricket is widely regarded as a religion that binds over a billion of us together! Can they build the best online cricket training tool in the world?

Follow for the launch of this very exciting new course. Enjoy the promo video below!

Talent Referral

The company is looking for a top notch Product Manager to evolve the product as it launches its 2nd vertical and gets ready to scale up, any recommendations could be sent to

Job Posting Here

What I'm Reading

10 charts that explain the Global Education Technology Market

HolonIQ - 12 min read

A number of slides highly relevant to this newsletter's edtech theme, including the geographical breakdown below, along with an almost shocking statistic:

As a sector, education is a digital laggard with less than 3% of overall expenditure allocated to digital, presenting a serious challenge given the scale of what’s to come.

India’s Vedantu raises $42M to expand its live and interactive online tutoring platform

Techcrunch - 3 min read

Vedantu offers a mix of recorded and live and interactive courses. Students who have enrolled for the interactive sessions are required to answer questions every few minutes by tapping on their smartphone screen.

The Series C financing round for the five-year-old startup was led by Tiger Global and WestBridge Capital, with existing investors Accel, Omidyar India and TAL Education and Vedantu co-founders also participating. The startup has raised $58 million to date.

OYO Continues To Rake In Profits For SoftBank’s Vision Fund

Inc42 - 4 min read

The SoftBank Vision Fund and Delta fund together raked in income of $3.76 Bn This included unrealised gains on valuation of investments including OYO SoftBank Vision Fund has 81 investments worldwide with a fair value of $82.2 Bn

How Reliance Jio Became India’s Wireless Wonder

Inc42 - 4 min read

There’s a new king of telecom in India: Reliance Jio Infocomm, the wireless carrier created by multibillionaire Mukesh Ambani. The network had 331 million subscribers at the end of June, exceeding Vodafone Idea (320 million customers) for the first time.

India exempts startups from long-standing ‘angel tax’

Techcrunch - 3 min read

As part of a raft of measures to boost overall economic growth from a five-year low, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said New Delhi is exempting startups from Section 56(2) — a provision more popularly known as an “angel tax” in the local income tax laws — that required startups to pay a certain tax if they received an investment at a rate higher than their “fair market valuation.”

Amazon Nears Deal for Up to 10% of India’s Second-Largest Retailer

Bloomberg - 5 min read

The deal with the Mumbai-based company, which operates its flagship “Big Bazaar” grocery store chain, will give Amazon more exposure to the business after it bought Whole Foods Market Inc. for $13.7 billion in 2017 and secured a foothold in the U.S. food retailing segment.

The proposed investment in Future Retail offers some parallels, enabling Amazon to tap into India’s rising demand for household products and home-delivered fresh produce and vegetables.

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