PayPal and YourStory recently hosted a meetup for startups at WeWork in Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), Mumbai. Two keynotes, and a wide-ranging panel discussion, shed light on what it will take startups to scale their business in India and across international markets.
The speaker lineup included Sreevathsa Prabhakar, Founder, Servify; Shashank Randev, Founder VC, 100X.VC; Sachin Agrawal, Co-founder and COO, Bizongo; Nath Parameshwaran, Director, Corporate Affairs, PayPal India; Shailesh Gnanaprakasam, Senior Marketing Manager, PharmEasy; and Navin Mistry, Director, Director, SMB, PayPal India.
To begin with, founders must reflect on their aspirations of scale, and act on them using manageable processes, tech architecture, talent pools, and appropriate business partners. For example, this approach has helped Servify develop a range of white-label solutions for after-sales customer service at leading tech brands.
The rise of smartphones and affordable mobile internet has helped SMBs and startups launch effective workflow solutions based on apps. Digital payment infrastructure has helped improve both the quantity and quality of transaction options for buyers, sellers and aggregators.
Reputation of the business partner helps startups in a major way when they want to establish a presence in global markets. For example, PayPal, founded in the US in 1998, has become a trusted payment brand for businesses and consumers in dozens of countries. This creates a comfort level for international parties when they want to transact with Indian product and service firms.
Respect is an important part of the business relationship as well. The business partner of choice must not undermine the startup by offering competing services or platforms. The terms of the cooperation must be clearly defined, and the lines of competing activity properly respected.
Risk management is particularly important, especially when a startup expands to foreign markets. Large players with established brands can leverage their extensive experience and expertise and offer valuable insights into risk management with respect to transactions and other business practices
International players like PayPal have also extended their domain knowledge into regulatory best practices for emerging markets like India. For example, governments need to promote business environments that are favourable for startups, and not just for large established incumbents.
In this regard, Indian founders looking to expand abroad should turn to experienced partners with knowledge in regulatory issues (eg. compliance, standards) and legal provisions (eg. returns, damaged goods, theft, fraud).
PayPal shared examples of its expertise in this regard, thanks to its presence in over 200 markets around the world, and over 100 currencies. It offers assisted on-boarding, Seller Protection and Buyer Protection, cross-platform integration, and invoicing solutions. These are supported by analytics, data protection, and encryption.
PayPal urged founders to also form peer support groups in this regard, to lobby the government as sectors and advocate for favourable regulations and policies in future. ‘Think big’ and ‘keep reinventing yourself’ are other business tips for founders shared from YourStory’s earlier interactions with Paypal.
Foreign exchange rates also work in favour of Indian exporters, some of whom are experiencing seven-fold gains in expanding to markets like the US. In sum, opportunities for Indian founders already exist and will continue to grow in overseas markets, for physical and digital offerings.