In the past few years, several Indian SaaS companies have made a mark globally thanks to their cost-effective world-class products and fast turnaround time.
Indian mobility, food-tech, and hospitality startups have also been able to expand globally. According to a 2020 report by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), 155 Indian companies have created nearly 125,000 jobs in the US with investments of over $22 billion.
However, scaling to a market like the US is still not an easy task for small and early-stage companies.
Three in four early-stage Indian startups want to expand to the US, but cost of expansion, hiring, and managing overseas teams remain the biggest hurdles, reveals a survey conducted by Alariss Global, a Silicon Valley-based company that acts as a one-stop-shop for a foreign company launching in the US.
The survey reached out to over 1,000 Indian startups, of which 42.9% were Series A funded and the rest seed-funded or bootstrapped. Almost one-half respondents are based in Delhi NCR and more than 76% of them are in the services and SaaS industry.
As many as 76.2% of the respondents wish to take their products to the US but also highlighted the hurdles they face. Many respondents stated that they have tried entering the US market in the past, but had their hands burned due to a variety of reasons, especially hiring the wrong local person to lead sales for them, and were forced to delay their plans.
The survey also found that over 95% of the scale-up startups that are looking to expand in the US wanted a localised partner who would manage the sales vertical in the country. About 24% said that they also wanted a partner that could provide a local tax accountant, and 19% were interested in a local lawyer.
“Indian startups have a strong interest and capability to take their products to a market like the US. As barriers to entry reduce and access to global resources become more democratised, I think the time is right for Indian companies to grab the opportunity and make a global impact,” said Joyce Zhang Gray, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Alariss Global.
In most cases, companies that want to expand to the US need to spend considerable money and time in order to do so. More often than not, the CEO or the executive team have to make a visit to the US in order to set up operations. The process can take up to six months and isn’t always successful.
Headhunting firms are effective but expensive. This becomes challenging for early-stage companies that have limited funding and resources. Other options, such as using job boards or LinkedIn are time-consuming and unreliable. “The survey indicates that Indian startups need turnkey solutions that can help them execute a reliable go-to-market strategy in the US,” Gray said.