There is tremendous buzz around the consumer Internet space these days and justifiably so! With the recent IPO’s of LinkedIn and Pandora combined with the upcoming IPO’s of Zynga and possibly Facebook, the industry is seeing a wave of market leaders finally go public, setting new benchmarks for valuing the next generation of Internet giants. Closer to home, activity levels in Internet businesses continues to be heightened as more capital flows in to category creation.
But amidst all the rapid growth, rise in business and media visibility, the key for these businesses is to build for the long term. This means not just acquiring customers for a single transaction, but consciously working on building a relationship to drive repeat visits and transactions. So while startups continue to focus on growth, below are some key messages I would like to share with the ecommerce startups in India now.
1. Differentiate or die
Being a me-too player is not likely to get you too far. Focus on what makes your service unique and deliver that consistently.
2. Listen every day
Stay close to your customer. Focus on capturing customer insights and data that will feed into your product/service roadmap. Involve yourself in tasks that will increase customer stickiness to your product offering.
3. Stay lean
While it’s important to build your organization to scale, try and extend your runway by being creative about your costs. Use the cloud, ask for favors and leverage your old relationships. You’ll have a chance to pay them back when you’re successful!
4. Leverage social media
Find a balance between paid and earned media. Give your customers a chance to share their “positive” experiences and reward them for their efforts.
5. Focus on delivery
Get your supply chain in order. Set realistic expectations on delivery times and then meet them. Resolve your returns issues before they become a drain on profitability.
6. Create network effects
Find a way to leverage your installed base to create some network effects and build some lock-in around your service.
- Rahul Khanna, MD, Canaan India
BharatMatrimony the leading online matchmaking site, has entered into a tie up with Linkedin that will allow BharatMatrimony users to display their LinkedIn profiles alongside their matrimonial profiles.
Naaptol the Indian online shopping store, has launched Naaptol Club - an exclusive online shopping club, that enables a private sales model and will give up to 80 per cent discount on luxury and fashion brands to its members.
>UnitedLex, a global full-service provider of technology-powered legal and business solutions, has announced a strategic partnership with kCura, developers of the e-discovery review software Relativity. The collaboration allows UnitedLex managed-review teams to leverage the flexibility and ingenuity of Relativity into the UnitedLex platform.
mCarbon, a mobile media and VAS provider company, has developed products that operators and telemarketers can use to screen mobile numbers to adhere to the Do Not Call norm.
Mint, in an interaction with Alok Mittal, MD, Canaan India, have captured the possibility of Canaan exiting four firms in two years.
Wall Street Journal Asia, has, in a feature story, captured comments from Alok Mittal, MD, Canaan India, on reasons that make the tech sector attractive to invest for VC firms.
The Economic Times, has published a feature story on the difficulty faced by outgoing company CEO’s in matters of knowledge transfer. Views from Rahul Khanna, MD, Canaan India, have been included in the same.
The Economic Times, has, in a story tracing the rise of social media form various angles, captures views from Alok Mittal, MD, Canaan India, on experience of investing in social media companies.
VC Circle, has captured the recent moves of Helion Venture Fund I and Canaan Advisors Pvt Ltd of raising their holding in an existing portfolio firm UnitedLex.
Canaan Partners invests in entrepreneurs and works alongside them to turn visionary ideas into valuable companies. Since 1987, the firm has catalyzed the growth of disruptive technology startups and healthcare companies revolutionizing the practice of medicine. With $3.4 billion under management and more than 94 acquisitions and 54 IPOs to date, Canaan has funded companies such as Acme Packet, Associated Content (acquired by Yahoo), CommerceOne, DoubleClick (acquired by Google), ID Analytics (acquired by LifeLock), Match.com (acquired by IAC), SandForce (acquired by LSI), SuccessFactors (acquired by SAP) and Virsto Software (acquired by VMware), as well as notable healthcare companies such as Advanced BioHealing (acquired by Shire), BiPar Sciences (acquired by Sanofi), Chimerix (NASDAQ: CMRX) and Elevation Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Sunovion). Current technology investments include Blurb, Kabam, Lending Club, Performance Marketing Brands, SOASTA, Tremor Video and Zoosk in the U.S.; BharatMatrimony and UnitedLex in India; and PrimeSense and LiveU in Israel. The Canaan healthcare portfolio includes emerging leaders such as Liquidia Technologies, Civitas Therapeutics and DICOM Grid. Canaan maintains a presence in the global innovation hubs of Silicon Valley, New York City, India and Israel. For more information visit www.canaan.com or www.facebook.com/canaanpartners.
Have questions or need more information? We’d love to hear from you. Please send comments, suggestions or feedback via email to: