Welcome to the Venture Upbeat, a new space here on e27, wherein I attempt to look at how consumer behaviour is influencing the role of technology, and in turn startups, and then Venture Capital firms.

Each decade comes up with its own disruptive technology. How WhatsApp and Facebook have revolutionised the world of communication is an example. We simply do not know what is coming next. This means your business should be truly agile to adapt to these dynamics.

Also read: Staying relevant is one of the biggest challenges of scaling a startup

Differentiate yourself and make a big impact

The biggest challenge for a startup is to differentiate oneself rather than offer similar “core offerings”. An app for laundry, or a restaurant discovery app, or a market place for shopping, etc. — these are something which we see very often, which makes consumers spoilt for choice! It has become a crowded market of apps wherein success is more probable if you are an early mover.

And how do you do just this?

Consumer data acquisition is the first step towards it. Both established enterprises and  startups are focussing on location-aware or sensing technologies to better understand consumer behavior. From voice-based to facial recognition technologies, everything is being looked at and tried out. Amidst all this, privacy of the consumer is a question that remains unanswered.

What role do VCs play?

Another question is whether VC firms have a role in influencing the road ahead of the startups in future, or whether the startup founders have their own way. Will the technology still play a critical role, or is it about “Who wins the consumer data acquisition battle?”

It is no more just about understanding the Point of Sale data or the CRM data. In fact, predicting patterns about the needs of the consumer that he or she might not have thought about — this is something that would be a basic requirement in the years ahead. The role of AI algorithms and their prediction capability is going to be the key.

Also read: Personalisation is the key to connect with customers

Closer to my hometown in Bangalore, we see a tremendous increase in startup activity with organizations like NASSCOM and other accelerators/incubators playing a critical role as enablers of the ecosystem.

The battle between the e-commerce players vs. brick-and-mortar stores and that between-the-cab aggregator startup is going to define the way forward.

Millennial customer engagement is no longer just a marketing or an advertising play. The technology enablers to reach out to the customer plays a key role, or we can say proximity marketing is here to stay. It is the partnership-driven model among various players that would define the way startups would work in future.

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Pavan Govindan is part of Bezirk, a Bosch Startup which is an Intrapreneural venture of Bosch Global.

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