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Vivek Goyal

Vivek Goyal is the Co-Founder of PlayShifu. A Stanford GSB graduate, his background includes eBay, P&G and his own startup in silicon valley.

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How Can An Indian Product Startup (Not Just Saas) Mark A Global Footprint

Every child’s brain has a unique way of processing information and grasping concepts. An Interactive AR toy can help them understand information at their comfort level and retain it for long. This is better than reading books or watching a video. Moreover, AR toys have an edge over videos and digital apps—thanks to motor skill development. In essence, AR makes learning truly inclusive and flexible. AR creates vibrant digital content controlled by tactile play. Various forms of digital content like audio, video, 3D figures, and images are combined to create a powerful learning experience for children. This keeps them holistically engaged and opens a two-way interactivity between the child and the technology, unlike traditional toys.

(L-R) Dinesh Advani, Co- Founder, PlayShifu and Vivek Goyal, Founder, PlayShifu.

How product based startups are mushrooming in India?

The emergence of the internet and introduction of mobile devices have created an ecosystem where a person can have access to the whole world. It has given a new dimension to the business reach and has opened new doors of opportunities for every enterprise.

In the last decade, the startup ecosystem in India has grown by leaps and bounds. It has been a story about the success of product-based companies. With the rise of companies like Ola and Flipkart, product-based startups have made giant strides in the market. Thanks to rapid digitalization, the local market has grown well over the course of years, making it possible to reach Tier 1, Tier 2 and even Tier 3 dwellers. To meet this growing local consumer demand, huge capital investments are being injected into the product based market. With this inflow of capital, entrepreneurs are boosted and ready to make a mark in the global market.

Selling SaaS globally from India is not a big problem if one has a good product?

No. If the product is of high quality and the pricing is effective, then selling SaaS in the international market is not a big problem. One must be perseverant, hard working and innovative to match international quality standards.

In the case of SaaS, consumer’s behaviour doesn’t change drastically on the basis of geographical demographics. But in a consumer space, it varies most of the time.

How product based Indian market is different from the US market?

The behaviour of the consumer creates a difference between the markets of two different geographical demographics of India and the US. Being a developing country, India is a price conscious and sensitive market, thus, the preference and value proposition changes. Unlike Indian consumers, consumers of the US and other developed countries spend on comfort rather than on necessity. This leads to a difference in the pricing of the product, and consequently the product quality. Also, cultural differences creates variation in consumer’s behaviour. For example, a consumer in the US prefers subscription services and in-app purchases.

Gaming market scenario in India?

The on-going digital revolution has led to enormous growth in the Indian digital games scenario. In the past, gaming culture was out of each for a majority of Indian consumers due to costly console devices, lack of micropayment infrastructure and affordable high-performance mobile devices.

Although most mobile games in India have a low average revenue per user, but with the surge in the adoption of powerful smartphones and improvement in the payment ecosystem, there is steady growth being witnessed.

Pertaining to children, the toy industry in India is a $1 billion market but lacks innovation. There is a rising demand in tier 1 cities of innovative toys that are educational at the same time.

How a startup can take their product global?

A startup must take a series of steps to take their product to a global market. It is a journey in itself.

Creation: It starts from identifying a specific user need and solving it through the product. Need of the hour - the idea, approach and execution of the product to be unique.

Market Identification: It is your product agnostic of geographies? Or it caters to a consumer need specific to a geography.

Customisation: It is faster to expand and penetrate multiple countries if your product solves a global consumer need, then you just need to localize your product. In the latter case, you will need to accommodate changing needs according to changing geographies. For both the cases - pick a market, localize, launch and then repeat the cycle.

Few channels to penetrate global markets:

Kickstarter: Kickstarter as a platform has a lot of credibility and following for innovative products specially in Design & Tech, Games, Food & Craft, Publishing, Arts etc.

International Trade Fairs: Participate in international trade fairs to establish international distributor relations. Also, it is a great place to gather insights from experienced global fraternity.

Amazon: Leverage Amazon’s global seller program. If you have a good sell through rate on Amazon India, you can access Amazon US, Canada, UK, Japan, Germany etc.

Finding niches: As you keep penetrating markets, study and identify niche channels that you can use apart from Amazon and distributors.

  • Social Media - do not underestimate the power of social media marketing. Facebook and Instagram ads can be very beneficial in finding early adopters and later growing sales for each country.
  • Data Analysis - constantly crunch data specific to each market and channel to understand your consumers and reiterate your product offering to suit them better.

How Indian SaaS startups are different from product-based startups?

First, one needs to understand the difference between a product-based company and a service-based company. A product-based company creates a product like Oracle, Adobe etc. And a service-based company works with that product to provide services to clients like TCS, Wipro etc. Although the software is a product, SaaS startups use software products to provide services to their clients. The name itself is self- explanatory: as SaaS stands for Software as a Service.

How kids learn and play by merging two worlds for them - physical & digital?

The Indian market is filled to the brim with toys. Toys for every age group, of all price ranges are available in the market. With financial options readily available, the expensive range of branded toys is quite popular too. But there is lack of toys which engage and merge education with playtime.

Augmented Reality is slowly making its mark over the world, impacting many industries and businesses. The toy market too, has embraced AR and is making innovative toys that are interactive and educational at the same time.

What is Augmented Reality? AR creates a link between the real and the digital world. For example, AR can be utilized with a physical toy in combination with an app on a tablet that views or scans a real-world object (flashcard or image of a tiger). This scan will bring up a wealth of information over the object in real time (like a 3D figure of the tiger in its natural habitat). The power of AR lies in making a toy interactive and immersive. The strength of a tech-toy company lies in creating meaningful play experiences using revolutionary technology like AR.



Across the world, AR-based tech toys are a popular choice now because children today are getting smart. They need something additional to boost their rapid brain development. With smartphones and tablets present in every Indian home, kids are becoming tech-savvy from a very young age.

You could scan an AR flashcard and voila! You have a 3D model of the same. This 3D model can be rotated, poked and studied in-depth. AR helps in visualizing the concepts inside-out. You can even control the variables and learn the effects of each variable. The applications of AR is limitless and it provides a whole range of benefits. Why teach them about animals just through pictures when they can touch and feel them on their mobile screens? AR can help visualize how an animal lives in its natural habitat with 3D models. Children can learn about the sounds they make and about their eating habits by feeding them the right food. For an older kid, AR can help break down and visualize the complex food chain using interactive games.

Every child’s brain has a unique way of processing information and grasping concepts. An Interactive AR toy can help them understand information at their comfort level and retain it for long. This is better than reading books or watching a video. Moreover, AR toys have an edge over videos and digital apps—thanks to motor skill development. In essence, AR makes learning truly inclusive and flexible. AR creates vibrant digital content controlled by tactile play. Various forms of digital content like audio, video, 3D figures, and images are combined to create a powerful learning experience for children. This keeps them holistically engaged and opens a two-way interactivity between the child and the technology, unlike traditional toys. Why give them a flat world map or an old globe when you can stimulate their minds with an AR globe?

AR can elevate geography beyond boundaries. There are toys that help in exploring the cultural and natural heritage of a region on an AR-globe through its wildlife, monuments, inventions, cuisines and more. This helps in sensitizing young minds to the cultures present in different parts of the world. Not only are they learning about geography, but they are able to expand their knowledge at the same time. Scanning India on the AR globe shows up 3D models of the native animals on Shifu Orboot.

There are numerous ways to make toys more engaging, experimental and immersive

from a child’s perspective. Why show kids a video of the solar system when they can use an interactive 3D model to learn not just about the solar system, but about other galaxies, starbursts and more?

Simply use AR flashcards or AR books that will create a 4D space expedition for your kid. You get to experience the effects of gravity while walking on the surface of the earth compared to walking on the moon—all made possible with the help of AR. This process of learning ensures instant feedback, visualization and a self- manipulated learning experience for every individual child.

Another interesting bit as seen in most AR toys is the presence of a progress chart or report. This report is a personalized evaluation of your child’s skills and learning progress that can be monitored by parents and teachers alike.

Constant innovation and development taking place in the field have made this revolutionary technology accessible for all. Today, all you need is a smart device (smartphone or tablet) and a little awareness about its usage. And you can watch the world around you change with it.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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