Why India for your tech startup?

By February 3, 2020 April 28th, 2020 HealthTech, India

German Accelerator is taking startups to explore India for the first time in March as part of its Next Step Asia market immersion program. Besides being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India is ranked one of the most attractive markets by leading investors according to Ernst & Young. (Source: Ernst & Young Emerging Markets Center).

What makes India such a dynamic market for German startups and the Mittelstand? To find out more, we speak with Ishita Shively, Vice President-Research & Innovations at Apollo Research & Innovations, a division of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd, India’s leading multi-speciality hospital group. 

Q: What makes India’s startup ecosystem unique?

With a population of nearly 1.3 billion people, even niche products can have significant market potential in India. This provides vast commercial potential and scalability for startups, and entrepreneurs also benefit from the attractive cost of doing business. 

India is an important hotspot for global tech and innovation and is home to the second largest consumer internet market in the world. These factors make India an ideal destination for tech startups to grow and expand their businesses.

Q: What are the lesser known facts about India’s innovation ecosystem that startups in Germany should know?

India has the third largest startup ecosystem in the world with over 20,000 startups, as well as the third highest number of unicorns worldwide. Over a quarter of all startups are now leveraging deep-tech, which means there are over 1,600 such companies in India. 

Over the years, I’ve seen many foreign entrepreneurs moving to India to establish their startups. One primary factor they can benefit from is the abundance of readily available, quality tech talent specializing in product engineering and R&D, as compared to just traditional IT outsourcing. 

Global investors such as Softbank and Sequoia have also started to actively invest in India’s startup ecosystem and we are seeing more enterprises partnering or investing in startups. 

Q: What is one piece of advice you would have for German founders/ startups wanting to expand their business to India?

Firstly, it is important to remember that the “one size fits all” approach will not work in India. Do not try to retrofit your solution developed for another country into India – it will never work.

To understand the problem that you are trying to solve, my advice is to come to India and meet the real users of your proposed solution, so you can truly understand the problem on ground. Finalizing your problem statement or defining your solution based on online data or published reports alone is not sufficient. 

India is not a uniform market – it is many different regions and markets rolled into one big country. Your solution will have to be localized, tweaked, and offer flexibility to meet the needs of different users behaviors. 

Q: In which fields do you think German Startups can particularly help to solve Indian challenges? Which specific opportunities do you see for German Startups in Health & Life Sciences?

Given the scale of India’s large and growing population, it is facing resource constraints and a shortage of healthcare experts. Hence, affordable and high-impact solutions which improve access to healthcare and critical care are required.

Technology startups play a crucial role in accomplishing this, because of their potential for scalability and exponential growth. 

Especially with 70% of the population residing in rural and remote areas, telemedicine and digital health is important in improving citizens’ accessibility to better quality healthcare. 


Next Step India is a unique opportunity for your startup to explore the Indian market and your startup’s business potential in this dynamic market. Our first market immersion program taking place from 15-27 March 2020 will let you explore business potential in India’s fast-growing Healthcare & Life Sciences sectors in Delhi & Hyderabad, as well as to immerse in Singapore –  the leading hub in Southeast Asia for Digital Health technologies. 

Applications close on Feb 10, apply now! nextstepindia.de  


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