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What’d make a killer ONDC-first startup idea?
Hint: Replicate. Don't create
I know many founders are currently exploring the nextbigwhat of India’s digital growth, esp the ones who missed the UPI wave.
ONDC offers that opportunity, though things are quite different and…delicate at this point.
I have been spending a lot of time understanding ONDC framework, API docs, exploring possible opportunities looking at different platform and here are some (WIP) notes, especially for the founders exploring/evaluating building marketplaces using ONDC network.
Here are notes (feel free to add your notes in the comments section)
Replicate. Don’t create.
It’s best to look at existing offline/online marketplaces and bring them to ONDC rather than create new marketplaces.
For example, Namma Yatri brought an existing demand/supply to ONDC network and it has worked well. Really well. It took Ola/Uber years to create the seller side – but the same was pretty much available on a silver platter (almost!) to Juspay (the co. behind Namma Yatri).
Avoid creating new marketplaces, new behaviors. Why? Continue reading.
You don’t own the supply side on ONDC. Here is the reality – while Namma Yatri team has put in a lot of hard work building the supply side of the marketplace and getting auto drivers onboarded, the supply side doesn’t belong to them only.
It belongs to the ONDC network (unlike Ola or Uber, wherein the supply side is owned by the companies).
The truth: You can also build your own Namma Yatri kind of a ride hailing app – using the supply created by Namma Yatri team.
Creating a new marketplace?
If you are creating a new marketplace – it calls for behavior changes in the buyer/supplier side, creating new supply side models, a lot of training and eventually a lot of value creation.
Think of what UrbanClap has done since the very early days – they spent years building the supply side, training them could reap the value during pandemic time as both the supply and demand side was wildly ready for the platform.
Imagine taking the pain of creating the same supply, training existing gig workers and not owning that audience!
To reiterate, supply side on ONDC belongs to the network, not to the companies who are onboarding them – and any buyer app can access the same network.
That’d be a real bad deal.
Who is passionately frustrated in the network?
For a marketplace to look at other options like ONDC which is relatively smaller (compared to the traditional ones) yet growing rapidly, somebody in the network has to be passionately frustrated with the way things are.
Passionate about the job. but frustrated with the current players. For e.g.
Auto drivers are passionately frustrated with Ola and Uber
Smaller retainers are passionately frustrated with their lack of reach (and discounts offered by Flipkart/Amazons of the world)
Gig workers are passionately frustrated with current players and their ever-changing payment structures.
Similarly, are there current marketplaces where either the buyer side or the seller side is passionately frustrated with the system? Well, that’s your ideal catchment area and there lies some interesting opportunities (in both B2C and B2B).
Reimagining the business model
UPI enabled Indian startups to reimagining their business models. UPI cos. like PhonePe, Google Pay are anywhere between an adtech company to lending to selling insurance.
This is the opportunity ONDC will open – new business models, never done anywhere in the world. For example, going back to the Namma Yatri example, you can build your own Namma Yatri type of a buyer app and create new business models – like say, subscription.
Given that the supply side will be (fairly) democratized and accessible to all participants, a lot of innovation will happen on the buyer side.
What are you building?