Vision and Values: Here's what India is #Buidling (Insights from Graviton)

Arpit Nik (CEO, Graviton)
February 16, 2023

India has always been a land of entrepreneurs, and the emergence of the web3 space has only served to underscore this fact. At Graviton, we recently launched an accelerator program to support early-stage startups in the web3 space, and the response has been overwhelming.

We launched Graviton accelerator right before the holiday season in 2022, soliciting applications from early stage dreamers, builders and founders who were keen on disrupting the web3 space with promising ideas and products.

In the process of seeking out these startups, we undertook a journey into India's web3 grassroots through a pan-India roadshow called "Buidler Hunt". We traveled across New Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bangalore. We met more than 600 founders in person, listening to their stories of inception and building for a decentralized world.

The Indian business landscape has always been synonymous with chaotic and chiral patterns when it comes to work culture, growth opportunities, and investment outlooks. This is especially true when studying growth opportunities across various geographies. Indian metros such as Bangalore, Gurgaon and Chennai for instance, have traditionally been at the forefront of new technological innovation. Trade and administrative capitals like New Delhi and Mumbai generally witness more fluid capital dynamics when it comes to institutional investments in new product categories.

Since taking our website and form live, we have received over 300 applications at the primary stage, and while it has been a subjectively challenging task of shortlisting startups further into Graviton's assessment process, we have learnt a great deal about the Indian blockchain space from insights gained during a study of these applications.

Web3 in India: Stages, Categories, and Values

What we found was that Indian founders are eager to build for the web3 space, with a particular focus on decentralized finance (DeFi) products, decentralized communication and social platforms, decentralized applications (DApps), core blockchain infrastructure, metaverse products, NFTs, NFT analytics and trading platforms, play-to-earn games, payments products, platforms for the creator economy, and DAOs, governance, and identity protocols.

The highest degree of competitive building was happening in the infrastructure space, followed closely by DeFi and CeDeFi products. More than one-third of all applicants were ready with an MVP, indicating that there is significant momentum building in the Indian web3 space.

Web3 is an exciting new frontier that promises to bring many benefits to the users. It is a new paradigm that empowers individuals and removes the need for intermediaries. Blockchain technology is a central component of Web3, and it provides the means for secure, decentralized data storage and management. This technology is being used to build a range of applications, from decentralized finance and social platforms to gaming and metaverse products.

Web3 in India: What the future beholds

India is well-positioned to take advantage of the opportunities presented by Web3. The country has a large pool of digital talent, which is growing at an impressive rate. According to a recent NASSCOM report, India has 2.14 million STEM graduates annually, which is one of the largest globally. Furthermore, India has emerged as a leader in DeFi adoption globally. DeFi is a key area of focus for Web3 applications, and it has seen explosive growth in recent years. India's expertise in this area provides a significant competitive advantage in the global Web3 landscape.

If you haven't been living under a rock, you know that Web 3.0 requires cross-functioning emerging technologies like the Blockchain, AI, 5G, and IoT. And guess what? India is at a significant advantage in taking the first step towards emerging as a leader in the next internet revolution and improving access to Web 3.0! With India's high internet penetration and availability of cheap internet connectivity, paired with the arrival of 5G, the country has all four major pillars in place: high internet speed, massive computing power, smart devices, and AI/ML capability.

Today’s web3 space is powered by just over 18.5K monthly active developers, according to a report by Electric Capital. And you know what that means? India's own homegrown massive engineering talent, with the right funding and fair regulations, could lead to a thriving Web3 ecosystem that ushers in the age of web3 around the world!

In fact, FICCI-EY's 2022 report shows that Web 3.0 and blockchain technologies could add a staggering $1.1 trillion to India's GDP by 2032!

The sleeping giant has woken up! Coindesk has pointed out that the inflow from Web2 to Web3 could build a massive ecosystem in India. Some metrics showcase India as the most prominent developer ecosystem in the world currently. Others claim it will become the biggest by 2024-25. And, with Layer1 ecosystems like Polygon, Solana, and ETH India hosting hackathons, the response has been tremendous, with traction set to increase as other ecosystems come into India.

The funding growth has been exponential, with venture capitalists ploughing more cash than ever into emerging companies in the sector. Startups in cryptocurrency and blockchain were powered by a record $33 billion in VC funding last year! And with recent huge fundraises by Web3-focused VC funds, a lot of white powder is available in the market. A sizable portion could be deployed towards Indian Web3 startups pushing further growth!

It's not just the funding and talent that's growing; India has also seen a significant increase in internet penetration. It is estimated that the number of internet users in India will reach 1 billion as early as 2024, with over 70% of India's population having access to the internet. India is ideal for digital asset applications and projects, given its tech-savvy population. Internet usage in India is rapidly growing, with around 622 million internet users in 2020, and it is predicted that this figure will double within the next 2 to 3 years.

And what's not to love about the demographics?

66% of all users are below 35 years of age, which shows a trend of higher adoption rates in cryptocurrencies among the country’s youth. As of June 2022, there are roughly 115 million crypto investors in India who either currently hold crypto or have traded crypto in the past six months, which accounts for 15% of the Indian population aged 18 to 60.

The Indian startup ecosystem is vibrant, and Graviton is committed to supporting these early-stage startups. We believe that the Indian blockchain space has the potential to disrupt industries and create new ones. Our accelerator program is designed to provide democratic access to the most mission-critical technology and capital resources that early-stage Indian Web3 founders need to scale their products up to a potential unicorn stage.

We can't wait to see what these founders will build next, and are excited to be part of the journey towards a more inclusive and equitable digital future for all.

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