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Commercialising Science and Technology-enabled Innovation

Cartezia runs Round Table Conference in Mumbai on the Indian e-commerce boom on August 25, 2015

Cartezia, in partnership with ELP, a leading Indian law firm, organised a Round Table Conference on the e-commerce boom in India in Mumbai on August 25th, 2015. This Conference was the first in a series of 'private’, ‘by-invitation-only’events to be held in India, for players active in the e-commerce space to compare experiences with the current generation of Indian entrepreneurs and to discuss some of the implications.

The Conference was curated by Dr Uday Phadke and focused on three key aspects of the current e-commerce scene in India:

  • effectiveness of approaches that replicate US e-commerce models
  • how would the challenge of physical distribution impact business growth time scales, investment requirements, and overall outcomes and
  • how much rationality is there in the valuations being handed out to e-commerce players.

The proceedings were underpinned by Cartezia's Triple Chasm Model, a powerful framework that describes the commercialisation challenges across the three chasms of Concept to Prototype; Prototype to a Product or service with viable Business model and Scale-up.

Key conclusions from the Conference discussions were:

  • the state of the market may appear to be a bubble, but the majority view was that while individual initiatives would doubtless fail, the cushion created by growth, scale and opportunity would prevent any explicit correction en-masse - in effect things would 'muddle along'.
  • while unmodified US business models are less likely to work in the Indian context, given the differences in infrastructure, in cost, the balance between capital and labour, and price points, the overall perception was that these models would be tweaked until they worked.
  • on distribution, the widely-held view was that this is a real challenge, but there was an optimism that Indian energy and innovation was kicking in and that this would be fixed in the course of time, through measures unique to India such as cash on delivery.
  • on valuation, while the initial responses were cagey, the consensus was that the apparent disconnect between valuations, investment and underlying value and probability of success is likely to continue until either events or sentiment of events trigger a correction.
22 Sep 2015