The stories That Aren't [Told]

Everyone's heard of the huge IT Services in India. A lot many are giving products a shot. Some are exploring SaaS and a few are even swimming in the shark infested waters of the web-products-for-the-arrived world!

But there's some mundane stuff thats unknown, for the most part:

How big is the assembled server market in Bangalore ? Its AMCing ?
What margins do data recovery businesses have ? What are the volumes ?
What is the "chip-level-repair" industry ? Is it attractive ?

Is any of the above a scalable business ? Is there a Dell-on-some-scale waiting in the wings ? How much is the organized, and how much the unorganized market ? These guys obviously have a deep sales reach - what can that be used for ?

The current focus of the Ecosystem - especially the technology related parts of it - is limited to a narrow band of technology activity. This is probably driven by the dollar or potential-stardom value of the technology. Its a similar story for investors - both angels as well as VCs. The lack of exits in the current market has probably got to do at least partially with the huge valuations at which those wil make sense given current investment sizes.

Are there smaller stories in there ? Take Bangalore's best data recovery guys nationwide ? Or help an efficiently run AMC business scale, reach out to the government and big business and grow ? Or explore if there's an aggregation story in there somewhere ? Or data collection and market research ?

I was speaking to my cousin the other day about some ideas. He's been in the hardware space for a while (hence the bias of the examples above towards that industry). He's moved from a large org where him and his partners sold a lot of hardware at low margins, and some services of various sorts at better margins, to his own outfit where he's focusing on the margins and has cut out the pain of sales completely! He also knows his customers really well ("not servicing the software industry right now at all!"), and can hit them for upselling related stuff!

There's many such entrepreneurs, and many such stories. We can glean a lot of wisdom from these, and possibly spot opportunities for co-operation, investments on a different scale/model, lowering our costs, getting a foot in the door with customers, etc.

I daresay my cousin's lessons in entrepreneurship have been a lot more valuable, richer than mine. I also think engaging with other, real-life industry around us will help us think of our work with more ground truths and reality included in our plans, pricing and projections. It will help us realize and respect true customer needs and sentiment, and step out of the echo-chamber for a while.

The breath of fresh-air-nee-reality will do us all a lot of good :)

1 comment:

Sundar said...

One success story that comes to my mind is Suguna Chicken. See what they're doing (not that I'm a fan of 'scale' in such businesses). Because of their potential, they got an equity investment of $11 million from IFC, a venture arm of the World Bank.