To summarize: Jio, which is our cellular telephony play, now is the world's largest cellular data network (pumping 22,000 TB per day) and onboards a million customers a day! We now have 110 million subscribers (in ~100 days).
This became possible when the telco regulators here gave a go ahead to use the Govt of India's pet biometric auth project Aadhaar to accept electronic KYCs(proof of identity+address). A typical SIM issue took us <3m enabling Jio to issue 1M+ SIM cards a day in a developing country where printouts of PoI and PoA were mandatory.
This infrastructure as the physical layer coupled with the fact that India has 40% YoY growth rate in Internet penetration has opened up a fintech opportunity in a $50B market that BCG and Google estimate to be in the tune of $500B+ by 2020.
Disclosure: I work with JioMoney's product team in Bangalore. We are building the payments infrastructure on top of Jio and other telcos. We're hiring!
By their math, acquiring those 100 million customers cost 25 billion USD. The writer is sceptical that Jio will ever make that money back.
Personally I think it's awesome that an Indian billionaire is spending his money on local digital infrastructure. Even if Jio doesn't become hugely profitable, its network seems to be a boon to India.
The competition has been the biggest boon for the public even more so than the services they're offering, forced every major network to lower their prices which I hope will have a good long term effect for the public.
That said, you are right to a degree but the only multiple sim holding report I saw was Truecaller saying that 46% of its installs are people with dual sims. This was last year. I'd love to hear about your sources and proxies about 5.
That said, there are multiple longer run plays here:
- onboarding 1M/SIMs/day.
- pumping that much data volume/day.
- commoditisation of data packs.
- this is just the data layer of digital infra, value layers over this would be built in next 2-5 years. It is a sub percentage point of GDP growth if you measure not just the ARPU that Jio makes, but what every business makes here on top of this.
- productivity growth is hard to measure in terms of short run revenue of one company. This is digital infrastructure akin to roadways, railroads and electricity.
Things should normalize once the freebies stop; Jio however will have a massive collection of Indians Biometric identities (and much else skimmed off of "Big Brother" Aadhar) and their browsing habits, which we currently have no idea how they'll exploit. Worse, we have no regulation over Aadhar's data-sharing, nor over the privacy of citizens.
India's state telephony company now injects ads into non-HTTPS sites, and tracks users using the services of a private company. Considering Ambani's complete lack of basic ethics, one can be sure that they'll be much more clever with it than the generic dolts at BSNL.
Citation or shut up. I'm no fan of Aadhar but even a cursory look into it's authentication shows that it does not share this information with services. It only acts as a o-auth like service.
While Aadhar does not share biometric features, by being an authentication oracle, it makes it trivial for any massive organization like Jio to build their own second-party 'verified by Aadhar' databases which have even fewer legislative regulations (if that were at all possible).
So no, "we" will not "shut up".
1M paying subscribers added a day? I'm guessing this is prepay with cards / top ups right? If so the cash play becomes amazing too.
Vacated all music out of phone memory for others useful apps. Now audio on streaming only.
- Aadhar was forced into being without legislation or check/balances.
- The guy heading it is Nilekani, a not so ethical dude, who once ran Infy, and has quite a lot of
influence with the right people, both in the US and India.
- Previous admin. was likely planning on making it mandatory "citizen id", but was
pushed back by the courts.
- Current admin. has magically turned back on their erstwhile opposition due to "a presentation"
and have finally made it mandatory, for everything from passports, SIM cards, and tax refunds.
- Aadhar has no legislative curtailment. There is nothing stopping them from forcing the
collection of my DNA, and then selling those to some insurance company in a few years.
- There is also nothing stopping the vogons in the Indian state (and the corporatocracy it serves)
from getting hold of all my data... because you know "national security". Accountability is the
last thing you'd expect of the Indian state; transparency probably being penultimate.
- This means that anyone who declines to be part of the Animal farm, can neither leave the
country nor work there. Jaitley really screwed us over. Naturally this is dressed up as a "us-
vs-them" "nationalistic" "black-money hunting" "anti-western/left" move, and this is what
comments on Indian newssites reflect. Ironic that the system will be used to clamp down even
harder on the people who belong to a English colony run by Brown sahibs, which has made it
its goal to destroy every culture, language and religion that are its heritage.
- Next stop is likely the complete destruction of cash (and thus opposition), by tying it all back to
Aadhar (which the parent is cheering for). Very very scary future.. will be moving out before the
prison cell closes shut.
 India's IT Industry does not serve India; now that the outsourcing play is coming to a halt, many are looking to diversify. One way out is to secure massive contracts from the state.
We're trying to get a way from the first thing that comes to mind when you think about our country (even though Netflix is making harder for us, lol).
More than happy to talk about how it's been done, and how other developing nations could replicate the model and how it's benefitted the region.
To power this through, it's leveraging the new fangled Aadhaar infrastructure - which is kind of like "social security number with biometric data" and is triggering this huge polarising debate on privacy vs value.
However, what cannot be denied is that the tech and regulatory landscape in India around payments has leapfrogged the world. The new NPCI (National Payments Corp of India) API is designed and intended to make VISA/MasterCard redundant...and is well on its way.
We now have a regulatory framework to unlock bank data to make anyone start a service like Yodlee .
Crazy , interesting times
P.S. We (RedCarpetUp.com) are a YC startup building credit-for-billions in India. I love talking about this stuff - never thought I'd see it in my lifetime. Ping me if you want to chat anytime.
Some currency notes were declared as "no more legal tender". There was no demonetization. And it makes no sense to say that "the whole country was demonetized". :-)
And why is that ? Because the powers that be decided to push it down the throats of Indians.
Although there have been setbacks from recent government shenanigans the wheels of law
are turning (albeit slowly) and the ruling Zuma faction is daily
facing more and more resistance. In the meantime the weak rand makes SA cheap, and their interesting ideas enter the world market.
Amazon has a strong presence in SA - and (this is generally a little known fact) EC2 was developed in South Africa
Locally, the Silicon Cape initiative is aiming to create an environment where tech startups thrive, and
has grown to 10k members in 500 organisations.
Ventureburn has a lot on the startup scene in emerging markets, and a lot on South Africa in particular.
The limitations and challenges of South Africa actually drives innovation.
South Africa's (actually, Africa as a continent too) large informal and unbanked sector has led to a lot of fintech and mobile-banking related startups.
Limited Internet infrastructure penetration leads to interesting ways to solve, say, the last-mile problem. For instance Flickswitch has focused on greasing the wheels for those within the IoT and M2M market who use the GSM networks to address the last mile problem (disclaimer: I am one of the four original co-founders of and exited last year after being there for 9 years).
Etc. It's a super market to explore, bigger than, say, Ireland, and more innovative than most.
Here are some links with more information, hope it helps:
p.s: SED it's a great podcast! ty!.
something you may be interested in as an index to some stuff the central bank is trying: http://bdlaccelerate.com/2016/
The Guardian's chips with everything covered some of it recently-ish: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/audio/2016/nov/24/bei...
edit: just looked at the podcast, i see you've recently done middle east, oh well :P
I mean, like i said, i've kind of left that behind me (only worked there for a year), but i can definitely put you in touch with people who are more up to speed.
Ukrainian IT market is mostly outsourcing and does not depend much on the internal market and local currency, outsourcing developers usually get paid in USD (or equivalent) regardless of the hryvnia value.
BBOXX are using the combination of developments in renewable, battery tech, big data and IoT to bring down the cost of offering solar energy to people living in the most rural areas of the world. Briefly, we use the above technology to enable a pay-as-you-go solution to energy whereby a customer can sign up for a small and affordable down-payment. We will then dispatch one of our installers to fit the system in the customers house and teach them about how it works. We will then remotely monitor the system over the GSM network to ensure it is providing a reliable source of energy. The customer then pays weekly or monthly using mobile money to keep the system enabled. The data-side of what we do enable us to prove to investors and financiers that we understand our customers and can control repayment rates which means we can continue to grow the number of systems we have deployed.
We currently have most of our units deployed in Rwanda and Kenya through our fully owned retail network but more recently have launched partnerships in Nigeria, Cameroon and Pakistan.
Also found this:
> GoJek - Fintech/Uber-like startup:
Raised over USD 550 million. They started out providing on-demand motorcycle taxis (called ojeks), but expanded to on-demand food delivery, cleaners, make-up, courier, massage, housecleaners, etc.
Their bigger play is GoPay. That's their e-wallet service that lets you pay for service you pay for via GoJek and also transfer money to other GoPay users
> Tokopedia - C2C ecommerce
They're a C2C ecommerce site with over 4.0 million product listings with 250 million USD raised.
Others to check out are Traveloka, Bhinneka, Bukalapak, Doku, Qerja, Talenta, Qraved, Fabelio...tons of energy and funding going around.
I think it has a lot to do with its government having laid out a plan since the 90s to develop its IT industry.
1) Lots of IT grads
2) Lots of funding
3) Okay-ish infrastructure
If we add this to the interests in entrepreneurship among Vietnamese people, it results in a strong tech scene.
He traveled to Vietnam and observed a high quality Computer Science education in primary / secondary school. Talking about grade 11 scholars, he wrote:
After returning to the US, I asked a senior engineer how he'd rank this question on a Google interview. Without knowing the source of the question, he judged that this would be in the top third. The class had 45 minutes to design a solution and implement it in Pascal. Most of them finished, a few just needed another five minutes. There is no question that half of the students in that grade 11 class could pass the Google interview process.
I have seen university students in my German CS classes struggle to implement breadth-first search; I would by highly surprised if an average grade 11 student could write a program to compute the connected components of a maze in less than 45 minutes.
I know Malaysian companies that have back-offices in Vietnam because of the great talent there. The lack of English is a hurdle, but not impossible.
While I realize this isn't exactly related to start ups it is interesting because in order to produce and support esports teams, and especially true if the team is any good, a couple of things must be true.
1) Large population of adolescents/young adults with regular access to internet.
2) Large player base to produce quality players.
3) Money from sponsors who see it as a viable marketing venture.
The fact that Vietnam has been able to do this bodes well for them.
Some nuance: https://medium.com/@ostl/tunis-as-a-startup-city-or-not-2d4d...
You can check it out here: https://softwareengineeringdaily.com/2017/05/11/tech-in-the-...
BKash is a good example. its a mobile payments company with equity interest from Gates Foundation & IFC/WorldBank.
then there is NewsCred, the leading enterprise content marketing platform. Based in NYC, it is founded by Bangladeshis, & have a dev centre in Dhaka.
GrameenPhone was one of the pioneers in Mobile for Dev
+ Economic empowerment. Iqbal Quadir, founder of GP also founded The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT. (0)
anyone intetested for more info + discussions re: the field of ICT4D i.e. Tech for Development, I find the TIER group at Berkeley & their mail-list quite useful.(3) (4)
thete are other groups & countries that are also interesting. hope to get back with some more data once I locate them.
Konga (a Nigerian company) is trying to upset Joomla (a South African company) to become the Amazon of Africa, and co-working spaces are starting to sprout all over the place.
There are over a hundred different mobile payment solutions, not just in the micro-payment sector, but for traditional middle class spending.
There's also been a recent boost for Nigeria to get back into agriculture (~80% - 90% of produce is imported. Welcome to the Resource Curse), there are some entrepreneurs trying to approach this field with the advantages tech can bring to the African agriculture landscape.
And Ruby as well. Don't overlook Ruby!
Anyway, English is the official language of Nigeria
Andela's business model is to scout for young talent and train them as developers. They rent them out to companies in the developed world essentially exploiting the gap in wages that exists between the West and Africa.
Not bad in the sense that it gives young people a job and exposure, but hardly an innovative idea and not a startup if you go by the common understanding of the term .
Before anyone says that I'm mean or anything, I'm Romanian. Our IT scene started with people pirating software and hacking servers left and right. We were banned from Paypal for quite a few years...
I think you meant Jumia instead of Joomla, and it's also a Nigerian company. The South African company that seems to usually be mentioned in the same breath as these two and Amazon is Takealot.com which is a South African company.
In 2012, Jumia Group was launched with the
support of Rocket Internet, MTN, and Millicom.
In March 2016, Jumia Group secured over €300M
of funding from MTN, Rocket Internet, AXA,
Goldman Sachs, Orange and CDC
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Jio is already covered in previous comments
I am sure you will find a lot of resources about Tech sector in Palestine.
"developing" in this context is a synonym (perhaps more specifically, a euphemism) for "less developed".
> and it's not a nation either.
Palestine is absolutely a nation (it's also an increasingly widely recognized state, though with disputed borders, but that's independent of it being, or not being, a nation.)
Anyways, hopefully we will see a better age soon and people will live harmony or TAIUSH in arabic.
Gojek on its own is an amazing story and product. Its also a major player in a larger plot: Payments, chat, e-comm and on-demand platforms are being mashed together in an attempt to build china-style mega portals.
Its pretty exciting stuff. On the product side Gojek & Kudo are relativly unique. On the market side check out the recent Grab / Tencent / Ant financial investments and down the rabbit hole from there..
This has now led to a fintech industry evolving and is currently seeing a surge in blockchain related business.
Interestingly the cycle has now gone full circle and seen the launch of an Exchange Listed Bitcoin Fund....
Rangoon, Myanmar: A scene is forming now that internet and mobile phones have become widely available and affordable.
Vietnam: Lots of startups.
Semi-relatedly Cuba has some pretty ingenious innovation to get around the tightly controlller internet access including makeshift internet that closely resembles a meshnet. Would be interesting to see how Cuba would react to state sanctioned capitalism considering the population very much has been educated under the Castros.
"Creative/technology-related news and ideas, that are by and large NOT from the US/UK/EU. Inspiration can strike from many other places (the multiple Other Valleys spread across the world), and I like to know about them. Now you can too."
I didn't do much though, just had to drive around the area.