Innovation for the Next Half a Billion

India is on the cusp of a new wave of entrepreneurship as several technology enablers pick up speed, and populations that businesses could not reach are now easily accessible. The key trends include mobile phone penetration, greater internet usage, over 1 billion enrolments under Aadhaar and low-cost infrastructure for digital payments. Thus 3 out of 4 adult Indians have a mobile phone and over 200 million people access the internet through their mobile phones.

These trends will propel innovators to build businesses to improve the lives of 100s of millions of Indians from low, lower and middle income groups who can now access basic services like jobs, education, healthcare, transportation, financial services and services for small businesses via their mobile phones. The next half a billion Indians (NHB) who will come online through their mobile phones would have a huge market potential, but unlike the earlier users would be from different income profiles, education levels, language skills, and social/cultural milieus. What will it take to succeed with the new consumers? This lecture focused on the barriers that the NHB would face and perceive and the challenges in addressing them. 

Roopa Kudva is the Managing Director of Omidyar Network India Advisors, where she leads overall investment strategy, operations and portfolio development. Prior to joining Omidyar Network, she was the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of CRISIL for 23 years. She has served as a member of several policy-level committees relating to the Indian financial system, and is an independent Director on the board of Infosys and Tata AIA Life Insurance Company. She is a Distinguished Alumnus of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Ravi Sundaram is Professor at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Thursday, 16 November 2017
5.30 pm, CSDS Seminar Room