Having faith in Indian start-ups

Having faith in Indian start-ups

Passing by

Nearly five years ago, when Emily Huo started working with Twitter in San Francisco, neither her team nor she thought that the start-up would grow to be one of the fastest “opinion drivers” in the world.

“We never thought it would take off the way it did — from a scrappy start-up to a global public company,” says Singapore-based Huo, who currently runs the social media giant’s small and medium business (SMB) markets across Asia-Pacific (APAC).

On her maiden visit to the capital, she mentions how start-up culture in the South Asian region, specifically in India, is “interesting and holds a lot of “bright prospects”.

“Today, over one lakh advertisers worldwide use Twitter to interact with their target audience. Since the self-service ad platform launched in India four months ago, thousands of Indian SMBs have advertised on it and the average monthly spend has grown 60 per cent per SMB advertiser. This makes India one of the fastest-growing SMB markets for Twitter worldwide,” avers Huo referring to the micro-blogging site expanding its self-service ads platform from 33 countries to over 200 countries in September 2015.

Including a range of Indian SMBs (across verticals such as e-commerce, travel, sports, and finance), the ad platform looks to help business owners reach the right target audience, develop objective-based campaigns, create best-format ads, as well as use analytics to improve their campaign.

“So, when I look at our customers, even though, they range in sizes which includes start-ups, the most striking aspect is the entrepreneur spirit, more so in India. It is so impressive. Whether part of established companies or experienced over the years, the desire to take the business organisation to the next level is insurmountable. It is really great for Twitter, which is so new in this marketplace. We are working with customers who have been around for much longer than us. It is hard to convince them, to change their practices and take a chance with marketing, but they are ready to do that.

So, when I look at the start-up culture in India, it is interesting,” Huo tells Metrolife on utilising the social media giant’s creative, measurement, and targeting tools to drive website clicks that lead to app installs or re-engagements.

“They don’t have to commit to large budgets. That is also what we are trying to propagate. India has been unique because that spirit has been there especially among the SMBs to take control of whatever business objectives they have and get results.

As a result, it is fun to work in this start-up space in India. The start-up culture is ready to accept the unknown, and is also willing to work together to figure out the way forward,” adds the 30-year-old.

With the growing environment of start-ups and small businesses looking to make a mark, Huo is quite positive that they will only continue to grow. “The exponential rise of the Internet, mobile, social media, along with the changing face of Digital India, has made this country one of the leading start-up hubs worldwide. In just four months, India is our third largest SMB market in Asia Pacific, after Japan and Australia,” she mentions.

“In fact, even though, there is start-up culture everywhere, Indian start-ups are more
prevalent. You often feel that energy and it’s great to work with the entrepreneurs and customers here,” she adds. 

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