At this time when the entire world is slumped by a COVID-19 pandemic, nationwide lockdowns and social distancing are hampering businesses. Companies are experiencing huge impacts no matter how established they are. This is prompting them to re-look at how they manage and operate their business including re-visitation of their working business plan. The entire world is halted and everyone is talking about the economic slowdown and financial setbacks.
But in this pessimistic scenario, there are few Indian startups that are growing well. These Startups are on a rapid growth spree and setting a good example for other companies on how to fight with and survive in this lockdown period. A survey conducted in February, 2020 reveals that many Indian startups had prioritized growth over profitability, but after the COVID-19 era, this strategy for businesses could change. Many companies are fearing the after-effect of the COVID-19 virus which may continue for the better part of this fiscal year on their overall sales.
Rising numbers of new startups in India, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are turbocharging the development of the top technology-driven startup scene. According to a report by KPMG on the startup ecosystem in India, the number of startups has grown from 7,000 in 2008 to 50,000 in 2020.
To support the people of the country and bolster the monitoring system with tech-enabled innovations, many Indian startups are closely working with authorities at central, state, and district levels. During this COVID-19 pandemic, each state has its own set of issues to deal with. So many of them have turned to startups for their solutions, as we saw in the case of Kerala and other states in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Edutech or e-learning segment of startups in India has been one of the least expected sectors to have had a positive impact during the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies such as BYJU’s, Whitehat Jr, Unacademy, Toppr, Vedantu have gained up to a 3 times surge in usage since the first phase of lock down in March 2020. With respect to government policy, all the educational institutions like schools, colleges, universities and coaching centers in the country have shut down to prevent COVID-19 virus spread. These startups are bridging this gap and taking education to the next level across India. Because of this usage of digital education has increased and these firms are anticipating to have an improved top-line this financial year.
E-pharmacy has become the backbone of cities under lockdown to fight against the pandemic. Online pharmacies in India like Medlife, 1mg and PharmEasy are providing contact-less home delivery of medicines in bulk, different types of medicines on one platform, and also provide online prescription services with their registered set of doctors. Owing to these benefits more and more people are buying medicines and essential supplements from these platforms. Online pharmacies always store and analyze large amounts of consumer data across the nation which can be very useful for planning various public health policies. This, in turn, is beneficial for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSME’s). Ordering medicines online is has proven to be convenient and safe for people during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the onset of the technological era, there are a plethora of benefits making things more accessible than ever in online pharmacies. Moreover, consumers can check their enrollment materials available or the various health plan’s website for information on how one can manage the pharmacy benefits online. Also all the E-pharmacies like Medlife, 1mg and PharmEasy have their own respective app that send frequent reminders for your medicines. This feature is quite helpful to keep track of your health on the go in these busy times.
Online grocery startups
India’s biggest online grocers Big Basket and Grofers, have nearly doubled the number of daily deliveries compared to the last month as more and more consumers are hitting the internet to buy essentials amid the COVID-19 lockdown. The rapid surge has come despite shuttered warehouses in the early few days of the lockdown that began on March 25. Experts are anticipating elevated consumer demands but that will mean some consumers shopping online for groceries might have to wait for delivery slots. Another reason for having fewer delivery slots is because many migrant workers who worked at delivery stations of various locations in the cities have returned back to their homes.
But despite these obstructions, BigBasket has said that around 283,000 orders a day are being met, this was 150,000 before the shutdown. While Grofers said it was servicing about 190,000 daily orders against 100,000 before the COVID-19 lockdown. Both the online grocery startups are ramping up their supplies from various brands and manufacturing partners to meet consumer demands. In the coming weeks both BigBasket and Grofers are expected to hire a new workforce to meet the increasing consumer demands. While BigBasket will hire 10,000 new workers, similarly Grofers will hire 4,500 workers in the coming days after having added 2,500 workers already.
To survive these adverse times and to make sure that businesses and the economy thrive and spring back to their feet, the Government of India has been developing strategies and various action plans. Policymakers are not only focusing on business continuity and revival of sectors but also on improving ease of doing business within the country by promoting Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.