NetApp and Zinnov study heralds B2B tech startups as key enablers for cloud-led digital transformation

NetApp in partnership with Zinnov released the findings of a study titled “Leveraging Start-Ups to Unlock Digital Opportunities in Large Enterprises.” In the report, NetApp has drawn on its cloud expertise to contribute data-led insights into the role of business-to-business (B2B) tech startups in speeding up digital transformation. The advent of cloud technologies has entrepreneurs from India building products for the world. The report highlights a thriving technology ecosystem of over 4,200 B2B tech startups from India, with 63% of them working on enterprise technology in the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI), healthcare, retail, and automotive verticals.

Speaking of the coaxial path of startups and data-driven enterprises, Ravi Chhabria, VP and managing director, NetApp India, said, “Big data, analytics, AI, and ML are advanced technologies in focus for B2B startups. Enterprises in every industry want to gain the first-mover advantage using the power of these technologies. Much before this need became apparent, NetApp has been reinventing customer experiences through the Active IQ platform, using AI for optimal data management as AIOps. Today’s infrastructure investments mark a clear preference for technology providing business-relevant solutions that can be adopted across the value chain.”

The report further states that:

  • 44% of all startups are now in the B2B tech bracket.
  • 43% of all Indian unicorn businesses now are B2B tech startups.
  • Over 415 B2B tech startups received a cumulative equity funding of $3.0 billion with a twofold growth in average funding.

A key driver of this growth is an increase in cloud-born startups that are using advanced technology to solve new use cases across industries.

Pari Natarajan, CEO, Zinnov, said, “The global digital engineering spend, which is expected to reach $750 billion by 2023, underscores the trend of accelerating enterprise digital transformation and creates a massive opportunity to be capitalized on. As companies rethink resilience, forge newer partnerships, and leverage the external ecosystem, new-age infrastructure becomes critical.”

B2B startups have truly come into their own by using advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to create and offer enterprise-grade solutions. However, even mature startups often require assistance with go-to-market opportunities. That is where experienced technology companies such as NetApp fit in. According to the study, there are over 60 active open innovation programs run by corporations in India. NetApp Excellerator is one such program that has engaged with more than 1,600 startups, seen 3 successful exits, and worked on 9 proofs of concept (POCs). Over 70% of startups received follow-on funding after graduating from the program.

Madhurima Agarwal, director and leader, NetApp Excellerator, said, “Organizations are democratizing innovation through these converging disruptive technologies, and B2B tech startups play an integral role in enabling this across all industry verticals. As we’ve seen with the NetApp Excellerator, a structured collaboration program results in multiple outcomes for the startups such as joint go-to-market opportunities, equity investments, or acquisitions.”

Key growth verticals and their areas of technology spending in 2019 

  • The BFSI sector spent $32 billion on digital engineering in 2019. Robo-investment advisory, payments technology, and telematics-based insurance are the major areas of focus.
  • Healthcare digital engineering spending stood at $18 billion. The focus is on remote patient monitoring, diagnosis prediction, healthcare robots, patient experience platforms, and physician assisted technology.
  • Auto industry spending was $25 billion with focus on producing autonomous vehicles, connected cars, and advanced driver assisted systems (ADAS).
  • Digital engineering spending in the media sector was $11 billion. The focus has been on over-the-top (OTT) media, AI/ML-based content recommendation and tagging, and targeted advertising using intelligent platforms.
  • The retail industry is using connected tools for monitoring and feedback, delivering omnichannel experiences. Digital engineering spending for the sector was $19 billion.
  • The industrial sector, too, witnessed technology spending around $11 billion. Predictive maintenance, Industry 4.0, and digital twin technology have been the major areas.

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