Going digital seems to be the mantra for some of India Inc’s generation-next. Kavin Mittal, son of Airtel’s Sunil Bharti Mittal; Ananyashree Birla, the eldest daughter of Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of Aditya Birla Group; Isha and Akash Ambani, scions of the Reliance Group, are spearheading various online and digital ventures.
The new generation not only wants to carve a niche for itself by getting into the online ventures but also plans to take on the digital biggies.
Harminder Sahni, founder of consultancy Wazir Advisory, said that “the trend clearly shows that the new generation wants to step out of the traditional businesses and create a separate identity for themselves. They don’t want to get associated with business that they don’t relate to, a trend opposite to what their parents did.”
While Isha Ambani played a pivotal role in the launch of fashion portal Ajio.com, Akash is deeply involved in RJio telecom venture.
Twenty-eight-year-old Kavin Mittal is the founder of messaging app Hike, which recently raised about $175 million from Chinese Internet giant Tencent at a $1.4-billion valuation.
Ananyashree Birla is coming out with her own luxury portal, CuroCrate, never mind that the Aditya Birla Group has a fashion portal Abof.com. Ananyashree, who started her first venture when she was 17, has declined to join her father’s $41-billion diversified conglomerate.
According to Devangshu Dutta, founder of advisory and research firm Third EyeSight, “The new generation has grown up in the age of Internet. They understand it better than their parents. Digital business, Internet of Things, e-commerce are moving rapidly in India and hence makes sense for the GenNext to enter this space.”
But can the next generation compete with established players such as Flipkart and Snapdeal?
Arvind Singhal of technology research firm Technopak says “digital is the toughest segment as it has no entry barrier. Besides, even if you have enough money and infrastructure, one can fail as in this space all you need is agility, hunger to do something different and innovation.”