Can a Mega App do in India what a Super one couldn’t?

By Ashok Shastry,

In the world’s most populous democracy, even the super-app would uncover it challenging to strike a chord. For, the Indian customer desires an app for anything, from managing payments (PhonePe, Paytm) to ordering meals on the net (Swiggy, Zomato). However, India is late to the game.

Although the idea remains viable, when it comes to bringing it all below an umbrella, the thought hasn’t but clicked. That’s what we are performing for vehicle ownership.

India: The Land of A Super Mega App

In the last 5 years, the quantity of smartphone customers in India has grown by 150% to more than 700 million. Meanwhile, current news reports mentioned that mCommerce grew by 800% more than the last one year. With the masses becoming technologically enabled and comfy with spending digitally, India has develop into the new frontier for “Super Apps”.

What is a Super App?

A Super App provides a single platform exactly where customers can do many unrelated issues such as ordering meals, or hailing a cab, all below the identical app.

This is enabled by “Mini-programs” created especially for the Super App platform, or by “Progressive Web Apps” (PWA’s) that open inside the Super App’s in-app browser outdoors the platform. WeChat, Gojek, and Grab are prime examples of thriving Super Apps across South East Asia that now command multi-billion dollar in valuations. But can an Indian organization replicate the identical results? Probably not, provided that there is diabolically distinctive India and Bharat to be served collectively. However, we think that Mega Apps is an thought whose time has come.

What is a Mega App? 

My definition of a Mega App, is a platform that aggregates a pretty massive specialized industry, such as finance, eCommerce, meals delivery, understanding or transportation, all the although sticking to the core and not foraying into unrelated territories. We’ve seen several firms such as PayTM, PhonePe, Uber and even Amazon enter markets outdoors of their core domain top to hundreds of millions getting squandered away and, in some instances, comprehensive winding up of these experiments.

For instance, in 2017 PayTM Mall, a marketplace, was launched to compete with the likes of Amazon and Flipkart. With Paytm’s 400 million sturdy user base, one would have anticipated a phenomenal results story emerge even as media outlets pegged it to develop to $10B GMV by 2019. However, it was rather the opposite. In FY2019 PayTM Mall reportedly spent a whopping $300M, to earn a measly $120M– that primarily meant the organization was, say getting a bottle of Coke for Rs.80, and then promoting it at Rs.30. Discounts drove so a great deal targeted traffic, that when PayTM Mall decided to lower cashbacks, their targeted traffic tanked by 90%. The only worth PayTM’s Super App gave to shoppers have been its in-residence funded discounts. PayTM could have lost the race with regards to the eCommerce domain, but they nonetheless dominate the monetary services and payments space. The organization has filed for its initial public supplying to raise Rs 16,600 crore, generating it one of India’s biggest industry debuts of all time. As per their Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP), their GMV has more than doubled from the last fiscal year, mostly driven by on the net and offline merchant payments and a with a sharp focus on income producing company models such as complete-suite payment items, and remedy to develop merchant’s corporations. This shows that the organization promptly rolled back the initiatives that didn’t work and alternatively focused on their core DNA.

Super App vs. Mega App

While it is unlikely that an Indian organization will emerge as a Super App supplying anything below the sun, what’s becoming increasingly clear is that firms expanding into complimentary verticals in an ecosystem can be wildly thriving through a Mega App. Swiggy is a notable instance of a organization that has added complimentary services with Genie and Instamart, supplying choose/drop services and each day groceries respectively. In a uncommon interview with Money Control relating to Swiggy’s current $1.25B fund raise, co-founder &ampamp CEO Sriharsha Majety says that he plans to double down on Genie and Instamart to additional diversify their income streams with the capabilities they’ve constructed and the stickiness they have inculcated.

A prevalent theme that emerges in several of these thriving vertical launches is the identity of the user base. PayTM anticipated its customers, who have been transacting on the app, would effortlessly adopt their eCommerce solution. But what they failed to understand is that their user base was transacting offline at retail outlets and several utilised it only for mobile recharges. They have been not accustomed to getting on the net. Swiggy on the other hand realized this early on and capitalized on their homogenous user base use case– delivery. It was simple for Swiggy customers to adapt to getting groceries or obtaining parcels delivered at their doorsteps due to the fact they have been used to it.

Gojek, Indonesia’s one-quit-shop $10.5B Super App, that provides cabs, bike taxis, meals delivery, buying, payments, each day demands, and news/entertainment amongst several other services, is a accurate Super App. The organization was birthed in 2010 through the app boom that saw the launch of WeChat and Grab as properly. They have been pretty early to the game and presented higher-frequency items such as cab hailing, bike taxis and a messaging platform. All have been capable to capture sizable audiences just before a comparable competitor could raise sufficient funds to compete at scale, and by the time they could, these firms presented even more items to their clients to make a stickiness that couldn’t be dissolved.

In a 2019 weblog post, Gojek’s SVP Engineering Sidu Ponnappa says, “Gojek runs the equivalent of three Indian unicorns rolled into one”. In India, by the time any one organization could encroach into a further solution or service, the competitors and expense to enter was as well higher. PayTM attempted and failed to enter eCommerce, Ola Cabs acquired Foodpanda in 2017 but dropped it in 2019 and pivoted to the Cloud Kitchen model, and UberEats burned $3B only to sell its meals delivery company to Zomato a handful of years later in 2020.

What is the Future?

Despite these cautionary tales, Indian firms nonetheless have the opportunity to effectively deploy a Mega App and dominate a distinct &amp#39market cluster&amp#39 that caters to a homogenous user base. This is due to the reality that these customers see a distinct organization in the light of the domain they are predominantly  recognized for, and getting into into a new industry is incredibly risky and expensive. However, with conglomerates like Tata and Reliance snapping up firms for hundreds of millions dollars, one could speculate there is a consolidation of Mega Apps upon us, and either of these two giants will duke it out to develop into India’s Super app.

(The author is Co-founder and COO, DriveU. Views expressed are private and not necessarily that of TheSpuzz Online.)

Originally appeared on: TheSpuzz