“500 million people will be coming online over the next three to four years on inexpensive smartphones,” said Vivek Wadhwa, an Indian-American academic and entrepreneur. “This will create an Internet revolution that will make our (American) dot-com boom seem lame.” These soon-to-be connected consumers are also young — making them an ideal e-commerce target.
By 2050, India is expected to be the most populated country with the largest economy, according to Pew. Half of its 1.25 billion residents are currently under the age of 25 — and by 2020, India is set to become the world’s youngest country with an average age of 29.
Microsoft has tuned into this. This month, the company announced plans to bring free Internet access to India with three data centers throughout the country. CEO Satya Nadella said the company sees a large opportunity in the Indian market. According to Sharad Sharma, an angel investor based in Bangalore, the majority of India’s startup talent is coming from the country’s multinational R&D centers such as Google, HP and Cisco. As cloud-based solutions have grown, the need for these IT hubs has slowed. This has many Indian entrepreneurs leaving the corporate world and launching startups. Venture capital funding to Indian startups is up 261% from 2013, totaling $3.86 billion to date, according to PrivCo which trackes private company financial intelligence based from New York.
“Employees are starting to feel stagnation as parent companies slow down,” said Sharma. “Essentially, these employees are going from building global software products for [corporations] to building them for their own startups.”