KOCHI: Jonas Kjellberg, one of the co-creators of Skype and venture investor, reckons India is a ‘super interesting region’ for investment and says the next big wave in India is going to be the retail sector.In a chat with reporters on the sidelines of the 44th IAA World Congress here, Kjellberg, who exited Skype 10 years ago before Microsoft bought the internet communication company in 2011, said healthcare is also going to be super interesting.
“If you see all the technology advancements, I believe there are a lot more things that you can do in the digital perspective (in healthcare). If you take WhatsApp, and you take the doctors, and you combine, what will happen? I think it’s going to be an interesting perspective,” he said.
Kjellberg said he is in India to feel the vibe and understand what are the different waves going on in various segments. “India is a super interesting region, right now. I’m here to feel the vibe and see what’s going on. I’m trying to understand what will happen if you combine all the different forces,” he said.
“Earlier, we had the fixed phones, then the cell phones, then the simplest smartphones, and the real smartphones. It comes in waves. So, I’m trying to understand what are the different waves. I think for India the next big wave is going to be the whole retail industry.”
Kjellberg, who as head of Internet Investments at Kinnevik, a Swedish investment company with a global reach, invested in Jabong - which was later acquired by Flipkart’s arm Myntra in 2016 - admits the Indian fashion retailer was a bit early in the market. “Jabong was a bit early in these markets. It’s all about timing perspective here. When I did the investment it was whole distribution, electronic payment, etc. There were a lot of paying points. Today, you see Flipkart and others really accelerating. So you can see how fast things are changing,” he said.
About the Indian startup ecosystem, he said it’s not going to be ‘one single bullet’ that’s going to make the whole change. “We need to look at the culture around failure - starting a venture and the outcome. Let’s admit it, 98 per cent of startups fail, let’s be honest about it,” Kjellberg said. It’s about letting the best-educated people not going to large tech corporations bringing in really big monthly salary, but actually losing out in pursuing their dreams.
“You have entrepreneurship at heart in India. Go anywhere, you can find everyone fighting to build a great company. So you have the spirit of mind. Second is how do you help provide the best eco-system, to make different clusters. If you look at the most successful places like Luxembourg, Berlin and London, they already have entrepreneurs who have made it, sold their companies and started investing in smaller companies. It trickles down. One success leads to another success. So how do you build on the momentum of success?” he said.
You have such a big domestic market, so all the products built have been built for India. The next step, he said, should be modelled from the Chinese. “If you look at China, they have built copycat solutions, initially for the Chinese markets. Today they are building products that address the world, from day one” he said.
Entrepreneurship in India
You have entrepreneurship at heart in India. Go anywhere, you can find everyone fighting to build a great company. So you have the spirit of mind.