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Indian internet startups fail to meet VCs expectations

Bangalore: Internet Services companies in India are one of the largest venture capital [VC] funded companies in India. However, these firms have not delivered as per the expectations of the VCs. "With broadband penetration and PC affordability still an issue, internet companies have not met the expectations we had set two years back," said Sachin Maheshwari, Principal at Draper Fisher Jurvetson [DFJ] India. DFJ has funded many Internet startups like naseeb.com and seventymm.com. VCs had earlier expected the number of internet users in country to grow to 80 million by 2012. But so far it has just reached 40 million and therefore the traffic is too low to generate good revenue.



Many internet companies rely on online advertisement for revenue. They might find it difficult to survive due to low internet users. The internet advertisement revenue in country is $200 million, but majority of it is generated by Google. Few VCs feel that internet companies have not found the correct business model. "The business models that work abroad do not necessarily work in India," says Ritesh Banglani, Senior Investment Advisor, IDG Ventures India.

According to Alok Mittal, General Partner, Canaan Partners, the most successful internet companies in India are subscription based or lead generating like Naukri.com. But despite not meeting expected results, internet companies are still amongst the most favored by VCs. "We expect these companies to do better as when the internet penetration picks up and monetization models are clearer," said DFJ's Maheshwari.

According to Venture Intelligence, 21 percent of the VC deals struck between July 2008 and June 2009 were in internet services. The value of these deals was around $120 million.

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