The Indian startup ecosystem has emerged as a global success story, with several home-grown startups achieving international recognition. Japan, a country known for its technological advancements and innovation, can learn valuable lessons from the Indian startup ecosystem. Japan is already home to several successful startups, but to continue their growth and expansion globally, they can benefit from exploring the approaches and strategies that have worked for Indian startups.
This article highlights some key lessons that Japanese startups can learn from the Indian startup ecosystem.
- Frugal innovation: Indian startups are known for their ability to innovate under constraints, using limited resources to create cost-effective solutions. Japanese startups can learn from this approach and develop products and services that are affordable and accessible to a larger customer base. One example of frugal innovation is the success of the Indian ride-hailing company Ola, which introduced ride-sharing in India and offered affordable transportation options to millions of people.
- Scalability: Indian startups have demonstrated a unique ability to scale their businesses rapidly, leveraging digital technologies and partnerships to expand their reach. Japanese startups can learn from this and focus on developing scalable business models that can be replicated in multiple markets. One example is the success of the Indian ed-tech company Byju’s, which has expanded its operations globally and reached millions of students with its online learning platform.
- Diversity and inclusivity: The Indian startup ecosystem is characterized by its diversity and inclusivity, with startups founded by people from diverse backgrounds and catering to the needs of a diverse customer base. Japanese startups can learn from this approach and focus on building diverse teams and developing products and services that cater to the needs of a diverse customer base. This can help them tap into new markets and expand their customer base.
- Social impact: Indian startups are increasingly focused on creating social impact and addressing social challenges through their products and services. Japanese startups can learn from this approach and focus on developing solutions that have a positive social impact, addressing challenges such as climate change, healthcare, and education. One example of this is the success of the Indian AgriTech startup DeHaat, which is leveraging technology to help small farmers improve their yields and income.
- Government support: The Indian government has launched several initiatives to support startups, including the Startup India initiative, which provides funding, mentorship, and regulatory support to startups. The government has also launched programs to support innovation and entrepreneurship in specific sectors, such as biotechnology, renewable energy, and agriculture. Japanese startups can learn from this approach and explore opportunities to partner with the Indian government and leverage its support for startups.
- Grassroots innovation: India has a long tradition of grassroots innovation, with many entrepreneurs developing innovative solutions to address local challenges. Japanese startups can learn from this approach and focus on developing solutions tailored to local needs and can address specific challenges in different markets. One example of grassroots innovation in India is the success of the rural electrification startup Husk Power Systems, which uses rice husks to generate electricity in rural areas.
- Entrepreneurial spirit: India has a strong entrepreneurial spirit, with many young people opting to start their own businesses rather than pursuing traditional career paths. This has created a vibrant startup ecosystem and a culture of innovation and risk-taking. Japanese startups can learn from this entrepreneurial spirit and focus on developing a startup culture that encourages innovation, collaboration, and experimentation.
- Cultural sensitivity: India is a diverse country with multiple languages, religions, and cultural traditions. Indian startups have developed products and services that are culturally sensitive and cater to the needs and preferences of different communities. Japanese startups can learn from this approach and focus on developing products and services tailored to local cultures and can address specific cultural sensitivities in foreign markets.
And one last thing that Japanese startups can learn from the Indian startup ecosystem is the importance of resilience and adaptability. India is a country that has faced many challenges, including economic volatility, political instability, and natural disasters. Indian startups have developed a culture of resilience and adaptability, which has allowed them to weather these challenges and emerge stronger.
Japanese startups can learn from this approach and focus on developing a startup culture that emphasizes resilience and adaptability. This means being open to change, embracing uncertainty, and learning from failures. By developing this culture of resilience and adaptability, Japanese startups can navigate the global market challenges and emerge as successful players.