/fɪn'ɑ:keɪn/: arkein is the greek root word for autarky. I know I know, interesting choice of words for a new venture right? Everywhere around me, I see massive inequality on multiple fronts: be it income, access to healthcare, opportunities and more.
As for India, I'm a part of the generation that has grown up hearing India will be the next super power in a few years. Of course the supporting arguments all sound great in theory, that we one of the greatest demographic advantage globally and we will leapfrog from an agri-based economy to a services based one skipping a few steps along the (jugaadu) way. Is this possible? Sure, there's definitely a reality in which I think this can happen, and I don't need to be Dr. Strange to figure out which one.
So what does this reality look like and how do we get there? I think in this time and age, there's no escaping the fact that we are in the digital age. Data is often claimed to be the next oil, but I strongly feel that definition is a misnomer. Last I read, Indians consume around 12 GB/month and are on track for 25 GB/month. Sure a bunch of that has probably been on TikTok (RIP) and the likes, but guess what? TikTok was always a data science/artificial intelligence company with a front end to create and consume content. Remember the weird AI person in Netflix's Social Dilemma? If you're a non-tech person and found it shocking, guess what, its all true. But if I had to choose a company, I would say TikTok definitely does it the best. The knobs and levers exist folks. And it exists because of our data. There's a reason why you had the likes of Oracle and Walmart in the contention for TikTok's acquisition and why China decided to add regulatory hurdles for tech IP outflow.
TikTok was able to pull this off because they optimized for data acquisition from day zero. Now let's get back India's path to $5 trillion economy. Based on my TikTok monologue, I'm sure you guys have an idea. Data today belongs to the platform/service you use. Sure you create it, but its Amazon that derives value from your searches. Your data is the backbone on which multitrillion dollar companies have been built. Surely now that we have this awareness, Indians can also create such global companies right? Mostly wrong. The playing field is just not leveled yet. Indian startups have to start with a smaller Target Market as you need massive capital and momentum to take on the big sharks. So you have to a small fish feeding on scraps pivoting to bigger TAMs and hope the big sharks don't pick up on your scent. Sometimes this works, the western companies are caught on the backfoot and you get the likes of Zoho and Freshworks, and kudos to them right? Mostly though, you get acquired, your talent get poached, or you pretty much get ripped off.
So if its all gloom and doom, does this mean Indian startups should be content with the scraps and not dream big? Hell no. Enter Open Digital Ecosystems (ODEs). ODEs are “open and secure Digital Platforms that enable a Community of actors to unlock transformative solutions for society, based on a robust Governance framework." ODEs are going to be the great levelers. India Stack has already begun this disruption through the likes of UPI & Jam Stack, and now Account Aggregator & OCEN are being touted as the next wave of this disruption. As per the BCG-ONI study, National ODEs (NODEs) can create new value upwards of $500 billion and generate $200 billion in savings for India. Once these public infrastructure blocks fall in place along with sufficient data privacy and security laws, Indian startups have ability to swing big, hard and fast.
Sounds great right? Access to data is going to be democratized, sure, but as with any new technology, there will be a learning and adoption curve. If only there was an entity that could help companies, new and old, adopt and stay on the cutting edge. Hint: if you're reading this, you've come to the right place. Finarkein is our take on AatmaNirbhar Bharat. Our modular analytics platform can be leveraged by both public and private sector entities to unlock a wide range of innovative services for individuals, businesses, and government bodies. Our platform takes care of the plumbing, infrastructure and connectivity to diverse data sources while incorporating strong 'privacy-by-design' principles. We want to be a part of the enabling ecosystem that will bring about an equitable data driven revolution. This is us, this is Finarkein Analytics.
Definitely check out the ODEs website for further reading on ODEs.