B2B tech startups grow more than 3x to 3.2k

BENGALURU: Technology Startups Serving Retail Customers - Like Flipkart , Ola , O Yo and Swiggy - have hogged much of the attention these past few years. A new study now says tech Startups serving businesses are growing in numbers significantly faster than the consumer ventures , and that funders too are becoming excited about the segment.

Between 2014 and 2018 , such business-to-business ( B2B ) ventures grew by more than three times from 900 to 3,200 , says the study by data management company NetApp and consulting firm Zinnov. Funding to B2B Startups Surged By 364% To $ 3.7 Billion.

While B2B Startups were 29% of overall tech Startups in India in 2014 , they rose to 43% last year. At least five of these Startups have achieved unicorn status (a private company valued at $1 billion or more). These include InMobi , Freshworks , Udaan , BillDesk and Delhivery. And five more - Pine Labs , Druva , GreyOrange , Rivigo and Lendingkart - are expected to soon hit that milestone.

Zinnov CEO Pari Natarajan Said There Has Never Been A Better Time To Be A Technology Entrepreneur In India Than Now." The Incredible Rise In The Number Of B2B Startups As A Percentage Of Total Tech Startups Is A Testament To This," He Said.

Venture firm Blume Ventures managing partner Sanjay Nath said there's been a sea change in the B2B startup environment. Earlier , he said , the B2B founders were excellent technologists , many had returned from overseas. But they wouldn't find enough talent - those with PhDs and Masters in areas like data science and AI - to build a good company. "But now you have people coming out of the NetApps , Ciscos and Microsofts in India and joining Startups . I was in a GreyOrange warehouse a couple of years ago and I saw this white Caucasian guy interviewing an Indian guy in Gurgaon. Earlier , you got global talent at the MNC stage , not at the startup stage. That's abig shift," he said.

Corporate accelerators are also playing a huge role in mentoring B2B Startups , providing them technology support and market access. The study says there are over 50 corporate accelerators and incubators in the country.

Among those that have accelerators are NetApp , Cisco , Target , Intel , Swiss Re , Bosch , Oracle , Airbus , as also Indian entities like Essel Group , Yes Bank and Axis Bank.

The corporates too benefit from the innovations by the Startups in their programmes. "Industries where there is a high level of disruption , like banking , need to look for innovation outside the organisation," Natarajan said.

The study said over 800 of the 3,200 Startups could be categorised as 'advanced tech Startups ' - leveraging technologies such as AI , blockchain , data analytics , IoT and 3D printing to build their core product or service offering. Bengaluru has the most B2B tech Startups , at about 800 , followed by Delhi-NCR (550) and Mumbai (400).

There are two kinds of B2B companies. There are those that build for the India market , many of which are serving the e-commerce ecosystem , like Udaan , BlackBuck and Rivigo that support the logistics or small business infrastructure. And there are those who are building for global markets , like Freshworks , Chargebee and Druva.

"Many are thinking global from day one. In ambition levels , we are right up there now," Nath said.

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