While we read a lot about large tech establishments, we must also take note of the smaller technology companies, says Uma Iyer

The Advent of the IT and IT-enabled services have now given the pedestal to the innovative and next generation companies where firms like Patni systems were big in 1980s, then went on to the likes of Infosys, now the next-gen are start-ups like Grey Orange Robotics, Medgenome, Blackbuck, Bankbazaar, Uniphore, et al.

While the education system in India has been influenced by the colonial mentality; the 1960s and 70s were defined by having a stable government job and food & necessities on the table, consumerism and forward thinking have now caught up where industrial education is no longer enough. Many of the entrepreneurs are now looking beyond, are taking traditional Indian customs, and making them into successful business ventures aided by the e-commerce and digital expansion. We now have startups leveraging immense talent and data pools and data science teams servicing global and local customer bases.

Covid has also led to a quicker turnaround of the problem solutions with Swiggy leading the race and extending the delivery to even household items using Dunzo and other applications.

The 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai is the most talked about event in the history of the south Indian city in recent times. The success of the event reveals a simple fact, there are many tech companies that came together to bring this event to fruition, including the industry giant Tech Mahindra.

But while the giants get recognized often, many of the less acknowledged smaller firms, including the team that supported the event’s director Vignesh Sivan, were the real tendons and ligaments of this giant endeavor.

In this regard, and beyond, there are certain key companies to look out for in the coming days. India has the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world, with over 60,000 startups and 65 unicorns (those that reach US$ 1 billion in valuation) in multiple industries, and this has accelerated over the pandemic.

New Notions

There are some interesting terms that have come to the fore in the startup world. One of them is Unicorns. While Unicorn was used by HR managers to describe their ideal candidates who were difficult to find in the past, it is also now a term used in the venture capital world to describe a startup company that values over $1 billion.

The term which was first coined by venture capitalist Aileen Lee in 2013 has soon caught up and taken audience in some key investments including SpaceX, Robinhood and Instacart.

Clocking over 1,000 unicorn companies in 2022, this is a trend here to stay.

There are now multiple success stories in the SaaS (Software as a Service) zone with Zoho and Freshworks from Chennai leading the unicorn space.

Image: inc42.com

In terms of global unicorn ranking, India is currently placed at the fourth position with 96 unicorns.

Leading fintech unicorn startups in first half of fiscal year 2022, by value (in billion USD) (Image: Statista)

Leading fintech unicorn startups in first half of fiscal year 2022, by value (in billion USD)

Paytm, the UPI based fintech unicorn company was valued at over 16 billion USD as of first half of fiscal year 2022 in India. Furthermore, Coinswitch, the crypto startup, was valued at over 1.9 billion dollars in that period.

Published by Statista Research Department, Jul 21, 2022.

The Digital Realm

While India does have brain-drain as one of its key problems to the western world where our top IIT and IIM students look for greener pastures, many of those have now realized the potential of the Indian market and have started ventures of their own with amazing success.

Shark Tank India, the show airing on cable network is a prime example of the way the audience have now even accepted an Indian version of Dragons Den in the United Kingdom or Shark Tank USA.

Digital Marketing companies are the next ‘big thing’ providing support to various industries by providing digital solutions worldwide.

It offers end-to-end marketing services ranging from email marketing, conversion rate optimization and content marketing services to name a few.

The in-depth marketing strategies and an invested core team help organizations develop a strong online presence.

A good example would be NineHertz which helps organizations develop robust plans for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and SMM (Social Media Marketing).

Animated Ideas

While Pixar by Steve Jobs may have paved the way for the animation industry, today it is the Indian firms that dominate the marketspace. From Disney to Warner Brothers, any major tentpole film has one and often more than one Indian VFX house involved in production.

The Bengaluru division of Moving Picture Company has delivered some remarkably high quality visual effects for Hollywood and Indian movies. Some of the movies they have worked for are the X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Cinderella.

Prime Focus is yet another company that has given support to Hollywood entertainers like Gravity, Interstellar, Shrek, and others.

Firefly VFX did VFX for movies like Enthiran. With the lineup of work, it is just a matter of time when we will have the biggest VFX niche segments in India!

Software Solutions

Engineering services is one of the niche areas coming up which is giving rise to a lot of newbies in the market and forcing large firms to acquire these companies. Tech Mahindra, for instance, has acquired the Czech firm Inter-Informatics.

The Zenith Technologies acquisition expands Cognizant’s Internet of Things portfolio also Trizetto makes them an invested provider of life sciences services and healthcare services.

The engineering services market is one of the most attractive segments of the services space.

“There is a great deal of interest in acquiring engineering services firms. Most of these firms (large IT companies) have had small practices but have lacked the scale and depth of talent to become strategic partners in this fast growth market,” said Peter Bendor-Samuel, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the research firm Everest Group.

“Engineering services exports stood at $24 billion in fiscal 2019, with over 1,500 engineering R&D companies employing over half a million people, according to data from industry lobby group Nasscom. Indian companies have more than 28% market share of the global ER&D space,” the Economic Times quoted of late.

Big Data

The manifest site says there are over 100 companies that provide big data and data analytics support to the market.

Polestar Solutions & Services specializes in big data consulting as well as IT managed services, strategy consulting, and staff augmentation for midmarket clients. 

While many of the clients cannot afford the biggies, there is a midmarket segment that is still big enough for many of the middle-tier companies to leverage.

They support companies like E-Bay, Walmart, Nokia, McDonalds as well as many other middle tier companies.

Machine Learning

We have spoken in our previous article about machine learning and its meaningful impact for neuro-diverse individuals.

There are companies that now combine Augmented Reality with Natural language processing and picture or video analytics to create customer experience and create virtual reality solutions.

Companies like Happiest Minds believe in building systems that can think like humans and iteratively learn from mistakes and make decisions.

While others like Zensar help create disruptive technologies for verticals in sales and marketing, information technology, human resources, talent supply chains and human resource management.

Right from Uniphore, Yellow Messenger, there are many names that are making a slow and steady dent in the information technology market.

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Uma currently works as a delivery lead in a leading bank managing anti-money laundering projects. She started her career setting up and managing data centers and disaster recovery centers moving on to setting up niche healthcare business analysis teams. She would like to share her experiences and best practices across industries in view of a common user. The comments reflect the author's views and not the bank or Sify's.


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