Expert Speak Digital Frontiers
Published on Nov 05, 2020
India is ranked third globally in terms of venture capital funding, behind only the US and China. With the total year-on-year funding amount increasing 10-fold and 19 unicorn companies created during this period, the Indian startup ecosystem is maturing at a staggering pace.
Tracxn: Data intelligence platform for investments and corporate development

ORF: What is the gap you studied in the venture and technology investing space that Tracxn is solving with a data analytics approach?

Neha Singh: When you are looking to invest in public markets, there are a variety of platforms providing the required information. But as private market investors — in venture and private equity firms — there were hardly any platforms providing the required information about seven years ago. In the last decade, the private markets have become sizable, both in terms of investment activity and the number of inevitable companies. But still the information required for sourcing must be manually curated by the investment professional, for instance, finding all EV startups in a particular region.

This is the information gap we want to bridge. Today, Tracxn is building the world’s largest platform to globally track private companies in the emerging technology sectors. We track over one million companies operating in over 300 technology sectors across more than 30 geographies. We have designed algorithms to analyse market signals that can identify innovative companies and make precise recommendations to our team of analysts for the next level of curation. This combination of artificial intelligence (AI) plus human-in-the-loop has helped us maintain a high degree of accuracy while exponentially expanding our global coverage.

ORF: Tracxn has built a vast database of companies and technology sectors. What are some of the fascinating trends and leading sectors you have unearthed within the Indian technology ecosystem over the past decade?

NS: The past decade has seen tremendous growth and progress in the Indian technology ecosystem. India is ranked third globally in terms of venture capital funding, behind only the US and China. With the total year-on-year funding amount increasing ten-fold and 19 unicorn companies created during this period, the Indian startup ecosystem is maturing at a staggering pace.

Three market segments have seen especially strong growth and are expected to continue their upward trend in the coming years — consumer businesses, global SaaS and fintech. Consumer businesses such as e-commerce, e-commerce enablers, hyperlocal delivery models and transportation are among these leading segments. The consumer industry boasts of nine unicorns from multiple verticals and includes many success stories, such as Flipkart, Ola, Oyo, BigBasket, Swiggy, Delhivery, Rivigo and Practo.

SaaS products catering to global clients is another segment that has seen notable growth in companies. As it has become more democratic to launch software platforms (thanks to infrastructure companies like AWS), we now see many great products coming out of India catering to a global client base. These are horizontal (for instance, CRM, customer support, HR tech) and industry focused (for instance, healthcare, legal services). Companies like Freshworks, Zoho and Druva are a few of the players in this segment that have gained global recognition.

FinTech is the third promising segment that has risen above the rest of the pack in the last decade. From lending marketplaces and payments to insurance and personal investments, a huge number of startups have made significant disruptions in the market and are expected to continue doing so in the future. PayTM, PolicyBazaar, Pine Labs, Kredx, Lendingkart, Rupeek, Zerodha and Scripbox are some of the companies that have become market leaders in the fintech space in the last few years.

ORF: How do you envision using Tracxn’s valuable data trove to drive the next era of private market investing?

NS: Investors spend a disproportionate amount of time in scouting for interesting companies, while founders spend a disproportionate amount of time and effort in finding the right investors. We aim to bridge this gap. For instance, if an investor wants to invest in agritech, we want to make it easier for them to discover all agritech startups across India. Using technology and sector-focused analyst teams, we organise the data around private companies — about companies, their teams, stage, sector, and business models — making it actionable for investors and corporates. At the same time, we help corporations track upcoming innovation in their industries. 

ORF: How do you approach global sales and provide a stellar product experience with such a varied roster of clients and in so many target segments and geographies?

NS: We have customers in 40 different countries, which include over 70 Fortune 500 organisations. This is backed by our coverage of global emerging technology sectors and companies. For global sales, we have an inside sales team that works in various time zones across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Asia Pacific. We have seen that customers, including large organisations, have become more open about buying software through remote meetings. Hence, we can build our sales team centrally in Bengaluru without needing to build a local sales team in every geography we serve.

At the same time, India has seen a tremendous improvement in the quality and quantity of its technology talent pool. The establishment of product development offices by large global technology corporations such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon in India has resulted in a sharp rise in the availability of high-quality engineers who are able to build and deliver world-class products. This has helped Tracxn build a strong team of highly skilled developers who can build a world-class product platform.

Our central philosophy is based on the idea of creating an AI-powered human-in-the-loop system. This enables us to provide customisation and personalisation to each individual client at an unprecedented level. Our extensive global database of companies coupled with tailor-made products and features allows clients to source and track companies across sectors and geographies to precisely match their mandate requirements.

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