The Article is written by Sainadh Duvvuru, Co-Founder & Chief Business Officer, HappyLocate.com, a relocation startup based out of Bangalore.
Since slowly and steadily the markets are opening up, people are stepping out of the home and the economy is crawling back on the track. Thus the covid-19 induced lockdown which brought the businesses to its knees are slowly standing up. But one sector that confronted a volley of challenges during the lockdown was MSME and startup ecosystem.
And someone rightly put it that ‘Covid-19’ has posed an existential crisis for this Covid-19 pandemic’, funding dried up, business levels hit nadir; and these were perfect ingredients to wreak havoc in the entire startup ecosystem which was booming before Covid-19 struck India in February.
But alike global financial crisis of 2008 which in the gloomiest phase had thrown innumerable challenges for the ventures to seize upon and those business venture reoriented their business model as per the demand of the time emerged stronger and victorious. So, the current pandemic has similarity with GFC of 2008 where many companies sailed the crisis with a robust business strategy and scaled commendable heights in the post crisis times.
But as rightly explained above that every crisis offers a vast range of opportunities but it just requires some tweaks, some changes and some transformation. And since the lockdown is getting over it is worth knowing that how this crucial startup ecosystem braved this unprecedented storm. When the lockdown was announced, it was like the economy is going to fall over a cliff and certainly it went on a path that plunged the startup ecosystem into a storm of uncertainty and left in lurch.
But now with the slow opening up of the economy, one inherent thing that is getting back is excitement. The reason being the rising levels of funding. As investors have already started discussions with various startups and are forging a funding deal with them, thus the inflow of foreign funds is also witnessing an uptick for this very crucial sector.
So the pertinent question here is to ask whether the worst is over for all of us or we are still cleaving through tough and critical times. So the answer may vary from venture to venture but one thing that is pretty clear is that the economy is slowly restoring normalcy and the worst is behind us.
The Worst is Over
It was during the time when the sense of insecurity and uncertainty had taken over the entire startup ecosystem when investors were postponing their own fundraising, having tough discussion on layoffs with no revenue left for the foreseeable future. And in addition to all of these smaller companies were bracing for shut down.
And we being a relocation startup had not witnessed the worst but we were prepared to deal with any sort of extenuating circumstances. But from a vantage point, it is quite evident that fresh excitement is returning back. And there is a growing sense of relief and there is not as much uncertainty prevalent in the ecosystem as it was pervasive during lockdown period.
At the heights of the uncertainty when the government announced one of the strictest lockdown, many sectors embarked on a boom trajectory and many took a beating. But in the midst of a crisis, edutech emerged as the most lucrative investment options for investors.
With our conventional education system coming to a screeching halt, online education platform let the halted education system flourishing throughout these turbulent times. Even when we are seven months into this pandemic; edutech is still the easiest sphere to get investment for. BYJU’s alone has raised a billion dollar valuing at $10.8 billion.
Emerging Silver Lining
It is well established and proven fact that Indian startups have been a reliant on foreign capital. When the lockdown was imposed in India, startup ecosystem was of the view that foreign fund after the pandemic is difficult to come but now foreign investors are showing increased interest in investing in Indian startup ecosystem from tele-consultation to edutech and from edutech to relocation platforms.
Thus taking stock of the current picture, it becomes incumbent upon us to have optimism for the future and considering the slow normalcy it would be appropriate to say that we should consistently reshape our business roadmap to match rapidly changing circumstances.