Soft-Landing mission to India: unicorns, a tech summit and the Taj Mahal

Soft-Landing connects and strengthens the bonds between several European startup ecosystems. However, not only the European ecosystems are of our interest. On 26 November, a group of 23 ecosystem builders from all over Europe joined our one-week mission to New Delhi and Bangalore. What a great experience it has been!

By Koen Van Der Berg, of Crosspring



500 million people about to enter the digital space

We started our week in India in New Delhi, were we visited Invest India and PayTM on Monday. Invest India gave us an insightful overview of the Indian ecosystem and the enormous potential that India has, considering that a huge chunk of its population (about 500 million people) are about to enter the digital space.

PayTM is one of India’s biggest unicorns in the FinTech field, and (of course) a company we had to visit while in New Delhi. We talked about how they grew and what made them so successful in India and got some valuable tips and tricks from PayTM co-founder Saurabh Jain for EU companies that want to establish business in India.



Company visits and networking

On Tuesday we visited Nasscom, one of the most important Startup Hubs in India, Pay U, another FinTech unicorn in India and we had a networking session with the Delhi ecosystem. During this networking session we’ve spoken to Zomato, the Dutch embassy, the Lithuanian government, Cardose and founder of HarVa. Interesting to hear more about their approach in India and where they see chances for collaboration with the EU ecosystems.

Wednesday was our last day in New Delhi, but before flying to Bangalore for more amazing soft-landing experiences, we had the pleasure to talk to the Indian Angel Network, Blume Ventures and Startup Tunnel who provided their insights in the Northern Indian investment landscape.



After these inspiring conversations, we flew to Bangalore…

In Bangalore we started with the Bangalore Technology Summit on Thursday, where it was very interesting to see where Indian startups are working on. There are many opportunities for Indian startups in the EU market, but also especially many opportunities for EU startups in India. Also taking into account that about 500 million people in India are now at the verge of entering the digital world.



Friday we visited the unicorn InMobi, where we talked to their cofounder Amit Gupta and a few of his direct colleagues. He gave us some valuable insights in the fields of mobile applications and mobility in India. Furthermore, we talked with Bessemer Ventures, where we learned more about the investment landscape in Bangalore. Once again, they proved to be very open for international collaborations.

The last day of our Indian soft-landing mission took us to a meetup with the Bangalore Ecosystem and talks from Let’s Venture. Of course we’ve ended our mission with a feedback session together with the participants. What were our key learnings? What can India bring you?

Some key learnings:

  • The Indian ecosystem is very open for collaborations with EU startups and ecosystem builders. We have to bring these two world closer together!
  • The Indian ecosystem brings you many opportunities for technology development and a lot of new knowledge about ‘how things can be done’. Their approach differs from the EU ecosystem, and we can learn a lot from each other.
  • Go to India, be in India and find a local partner!

During the week we had different cultural dinners and lunches to also explore the cultural side of the country. Traffic was crazy and the people are welcoming. A lot of complexity in both country, culture, food, business, and logistics, but definitely worth it to build up better connections with the Indian ecosystems. There are huge opportunities in India and Europe must prepare for their unstoppable rise and economic growth. Of course the Taj Mahal was also great.

Special thanks to Apoorv Bamba and his team from Ingenious Faces, our partner in India who has made this program possible.

– By Koen Van Der Berg, Crosspring.

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