The Dialogue | Horizontal SaaS and the new digital business opportunity

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The pandemic has brought many changes for businesses and startups across industries in India. While some have gone out of business, those who operated without technology or digital tools were forced to adopt them quickly, in addition to moving to remote operations. Much has changed for SMEs in particular and as a result has widened the market for horizontal SaaS startups.

Last year, during one of the best years for enterprise tech, startups in this industry secured total funding of $ 1.03 billion, whose horizontal SaaS startups contributed $ 809 million – along the way, the industry has also won two unicorns in the form of Druva and Icertis. So there was good reason to be optimistic in 2020 to begin with and the rising tide of digitization thanks to the impact of Covid-19 has lifted horizontal SaaS startups.

While until 2019, horizontal SaaS giants such as Zoho, Freshworks, Deskera and others had built their businesses around international clients, the focus is now on Indian SMEs and startups. So there is a huge opportunity for horizontal SaaS companies because more traditional businesses Indian Tier 2, 3 and 4 markets are bringing their businesses into the digital fold.

We decode this burgeoning new opportunity and the challenges it will invariably bring. How will SaaS models need to adapt to this spring and how critical a product’s agility will be to meeting a changing market. Inc42 in association with tech giant Microsoft launched ‘The dialogue’ has already looked into the future of agritech, healthcare and fintech, and now is the time to look into the horizontal SaaS market.

The final episode of this four-part series – “Horizontal SaaS for India’s Next Billion: Harnessing the New Digital Business Opportunity” – saw pillars of the Indian SaaS ecosystem plunge into this hot sector.

The Dialogue: Horizontal SaaS for India’s Next Billion

Moderated by Inc42 Co-Founder and CEO Vaibhav Vardhan, the discussion brought together Microsoft India COO Rajiv Sodhi, Locus Nishith Rastogi CEO and Co-Founder, Blume Ventures Co-Founder and Managing Partner Sanjay Nath and the founder and CEO of inFeedo Tanmaya Jain.

The discussion deepened and provided insight into various aspects such as:

  • Impact of Covid-19 on the horizontal SaaS landscape
  • Capitalizing on the new wave of digitization of SMEs
  • The new horizontal SaaS playbook
  • Value-added services for a free upselling platform
  • The role of data center technology in reducing horizontal SaaS costs


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