Healthtech, Edutech and SaaS startups poised for boom, says Rajan Anandan


Bengaluru: In just 18 months, startup WhiteHat Jr managed to reach $150 million in revenues, and another Indian company Byju’s acquired the startup for $300 million, which is a huge deal. India is the only country where everything happens, and it takes place on a large scale, said Sequoia Capital Managing Director Rajan Anandan.

Speaking at a session ‘Startup Reboot’ at the Bengaluru Tech Summit, Anandan spoke about startups and their growth journey, and that many Indian companies will buy startups. “Freshworks is truly a legendary company to come up with many acquisitions,” he said.

Freshworks provides SaaS customer engagement solutions that make it easy for support, sales and marketing professionals to communicate effectively with customers for better service and collaborate with team members to resolve customer issues. The company’s products include Freshdesk, Freshservice, Freshsales, Freshcaller, Freshteam, Freshchat, Freshmarketer and Freshrelease.

Founded in October 2010, Freshworks is backed by Accel, Tiger Global Management, CapitalG and Sequoia Capital India. The company’s cloud-based suite is widely used by over 150,000 businesses around the world.

Interacting with Ideaspring Capital MD and founder Naganand Doraswamy, Anandan said Saas has gone much broader.

Doraswamy said, “B2B was not popular some five years ago. But today it is a different game altogether.”

“India’s edutech and digital health markets have just started and a lot of action will take place soon. India’s GTM(Go-to-market) skills are getting better, but still we have a long way to go. Sales have changed a lot and it played to our advantage,” Anandan said.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed both healthtech and edutech sectors. A report by RedSeer and Omidyar Network India says online education offerings for Classes 1 to 12 are projected to increase 6.3 times by 2022, creating a $1.7 billion market. The post-K12 market is set to grow 3.7 times to touch $1.8 billion.

In 2019, students accounted for $39 billion in education-related private expenditure. (This is in addition to the government expenditure on schooling and school infrastructure.) Of this amount, the aspirer cohort accounted for $12 billion—the second-highest education spent by income level, after students from mid-income households, said the report.

Currently, about 580 million Indians have access to the internet, of which 350 million are active users. By 2022, this number is expected to surge to half a billion. The most notable, for EdTech entrepreneurs and investors, are the 150 million K12 students with steady access to the internet.

Anandan also highlighted the need to use the existing technology to scale up. “There are huge opportunities in making use of the existing tech,” he said.

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