How our New Investments Address the Needs of India’s “Next Half Billion”

April 25, 2018
Over the next five years, 500 million first-time internet users are expected to come online via their mobile phones in India. This online mobile population is often called the “Next Half Billion” (NHB). At Omidyar Network, we recently announced six new investments — Doubtnut, Pratilipi, Healofy, Vedantu, Kaleidofin, and Affordplan — all of which align with our goal of supporting entrepreneurs that serve the Next Half Billion.

We are looking to support early-stage businesses with the potential of creating access to jobs, education, health care, transportation, financial services, and government services for the NHB. Our recently published study on the NHB highlighted the impediments this population faces and how their needs differ from the existing middle class.

What are the barriers that the NHB encounter? English language content currently dominates the internet — hence, increasing the content in a variety of India’s local languages is key for internet adoption by the NHB. The social and communications apps space is currently dominated by US-based platforms, and there is room for local innovation here too.

Social and cultural barriers are also hindering use of online services; for example, this population has not been exposed to the self-service shopping experience, so icons like shopping carts and language like “proceed to checkout” can be foreign and intimidating. Additionally, many in this population perceive the internet as a “bad influence” — for example, something that will damage marriages, leading to limited or restricted online access for women, a key consumer demographic in the NHB. This is a frugal population that will require highly affordable data services and innovative approaches to building businesses that can both earn their trust and address their needs in a cost-effective way.

Despite accelerated smartphone adoption by the NHB, many believe that transacting online is a complex process that requires special skills. Very few users conduct financial and commercial transactions on their mobile devices because they lack the confidence to transact online.

In the context of these language, social, cultural, affordability, trust, and confidence barriers that the NHB encounter, our new investments highlight six companies that are addressing the impediments in a variety of ways.

Language

Doubtnut, Pratilipi, and Healofy address the language barrier. Doubtnut is an online learning platform where students can, within seconds, find the answer to a question by simply clicking the image of the question on Doubtnut’s Android app and viewing the corresponding video solution from Doubtnut’s library. Healofy is a social platform with content for new and expecting parents. Pratilipi is a self-publishing platform with more than 190,000 content pieces published by more than 29,000 authors. All these are multilingual platforms, and Healofy and Pratilipi support as many as eight Indian languages.

Encouraging Women to Use the Internet

Healofy’s and Pratilipi’s users are predominantly women, and the platforms help this massively under-represented segment overcome the perception of the internet as a “bad influence” and help this key consumer demographic deeply engage and build comfort with the digital medium.

Building Trust and Confidence

Vedantu, an online live tutoring platform, allows prospective users to experience a live classroom session before the purchase decision, to build confidence. It also assures refunds to students who are not happy with the offering. They have reached over 10,000 students across 400+ cities in India and abroad.

Adapting to Social & Cultural Context

Kaleidofin and Affordplan have created platforms that can relate to the social and cultural context of their customers. Affordplan is a FinTech startup in the healthcare space and its solution helps patients plan, save, and pay for upcoming medical procedures such as dental, fertility, maternity, orthopedics, and eye care needs. A sales team and primarily female field agents, drawn from the communities they serve, help the company connect better with their customers and assist them in using technology, including online payments.

Kaleidofin is a FinTech platform that helps under-banked customers, mainly in the informal sector, meet their real-life goals by providing intuitive and tailored financial solutions such as liquidity loans, savings, and investments in mutual funds. Data collection for the Kaleidofin app is done by community workers who understand the customer context and are therefore able to ensure quality and that meaningful data is collected, which helps the company create robust algorithms.

Expanding the Market

These six companies are using connectivity to expand the market to underserved customers. More than 90 percent of Doubtnut’s users come from Tier 2 cities and beyond — places such as Kohima, Poonch, Islampur, Bankura, and Julurpad — hitherto unreached by online and offline solutions. Affordplan’s consumers have a monthly family income of Rs. 10,000 — Rs 40,000, while Kaleidofin serves customers with a monthly family income of Rs. 15,000 — Rs. 30,000.

The entrepreneurs leading these six remarkable companies are enabling first-time access to a range of basic products and services in an affordable manner and directly addressing the unique barriers that the NHB face in their digital journey. They are expanding the market to traditionally underserved and excluded populations, thus creating opportunities to improve the lives of millions of Indians.

 

Read Omidyar Network’s report on Innovating for the Next Half Billion

 

BACK TO BLOG
Discussion
abhay kumar Home Tutors, Home Tuition, Coaching Classes, Online Tuition, Teachers at TeachingCare

https://www.teachingcare.com/ Teaching Care is a leading online Live education provider. The company is committed to provide quality online Live face to face tutoring to students across the world, at a very affordable price. Because of the Online tutoring has been rapidly gaining popularity among students due to its ease of use, cost and its ability to provide an instant connection to a tutor just when a student needs help and is ready to learn. We are committed to make the learning fun, interesting and interactive for the students. To accommodate the many needs of today’s students, we are proud to offer private, live, one-on-one and one to few, Internet-based tutoring on their schedules, from the comfort of their own homes or schools. Our teachers are highly qualified and passionate about teaching, which ensure a quality experience for every student. Our tutors are trained to deliver personalized tutoring to help students achieve their academic goals and gain more confidence. https://www.teachingcare.com/

Reply
Be the first to comment
It looks like there's some information missing
By clicking, you agree to the Terms and Conditions

Announcement

Lidya Raises $6.9 Million in a Series A Round Led by Omidyar Network

One of the largest funding rounds in the tech sector in Nigeria will help bring innovation to financing for micro, small, and medium businesses

READ ON

Announcement

Largest-ever Survey on Aadhaar Provides Data-Driven Insights on Key Aspects of Exclusion, Privacy and Data Quality

IDinsight, a global development analytics firm working across India, today released the State of Aadhaar Report 2017-18.

READ ON

Article

NPX Launches a New, Better Way to Donate that Ensures Impact for Donors and Enables Investors to Invest in Nonprofits

NPX, a company reinventing how the nonprofit sector is financed, today announced the launch of the first donor fund to ensure impact for every dollar donated.

READ ON