SIDBI x WaterBridge Ventures – Problem Statement Challenge


WaterBridge Ventures is a $150mn early stage VC fund that invests in pre-seed to pre-series A rounds with first ticket size of investment that lies between $300k to $3mn. Post the first check, we do follow on investments at pro-rata. We typically invest in 5-6 startups in a year. Some of the notable names in our portfolio include – Unacademy, Magicpin, CityMall, Chalo, Bijnis, Atlan, etc.

In the quest to empower entrepreneurial talent across the country, WaterBridge Ventures has partnered with SIDBI to help young entrepreneurs identify the right problem statements to solve for. The investment team at WaterBridge Ventures has curated a list of the most pressing problem statements in India’s consumer story and aims to support founders to build businesses around them. These founders will be required to furnish details about their existing startup and preliminary understanding of their potential business around the problem statements. On the basis of the above, the WaterBridge team will shortlist founders who will get a chance to seek mentorship from the WaterBridge investment team in order to strengthen their ideation process. Depending on the founders’ progress, WaterBridge team may decide to co-create the startup with the founder and explore funding them.

Problem Statements:

ThemeProblem Statement
Offline DistributionDistribution-as-a-Service for FMEG products
Retailer underwriting on the basis of qualitative aspects like locality, size of shop, quality of brands stocked in the shop, rate of sales of products, no. of counters in the shop, local distributor feedback, no. of distributors catering the shop etc. Basically, evaluating these aspects which aren’t related to cash flow based underwriting done via Paytm, BharatPe etc is important so that retailers can be analyzed proactively rather than reactively after transactions. This new model can complement the quantitative mode of underwriting accomplished by existing startups
Platform comprising of trained sales fleet and promoters in retail stores. These sales fleet and promoters cut across categories like electronics, BPC, Nutraceuticals, etc or across any category that has products with high AOV and the need to have greater customer awareness. The platform will source relevant sales fleet and promoters from tier 2 and beyond and train them. Basis the category that is doing well, this platform can start to approach other brands in that category and build its funnel of clients (brands) and can then place these brands in retail stores through their sales fleet and promoters.
Business Analytics platform enabling prescriptive analytics for sales, growth, data, and market researchers to research, collaborate, and drive growth.

Reports are tailored to your needs that contain prescriptive and predictive analytics for multiple business-critical use cases like
1. New product research and development
2. New product variation research
3. New geography and customer segment discovery
4. Competitor and acquisition signal
5. Continuous pricing optimization
6. Demand forecasting for new product launches

These reports can be based on 4 types of data sources:
1. Live public and social media data
2. Brand’s own product, sales, and consumer data
3. Human input
4. Existing paid datasets and market research reports
MT & Standalone stores (with POS systems) chains don’t know how to interpret sales data to

1. build loyalty programs
2. provide discounts/trade schemes for certain items and introducing dynamic pricing for best-selling items
3. identifying less relevant categories that are slow moving
4. sales team efficiency at store
Distributor underwriting on the basis of qualitative aspects like locality, turnover, partner brands, ROI, local retailer feedback, sales fleet feedback, etc.
ONDCOnboarding sellers to the ONDC network and digitizing them. Onboarding them onto the network is operationally complex and time consuming, however it may give the startups a strong idea of the problems faced by retailers in digitization. Some of these problems may serve as the foundation of new business models
Retailer underwriting through the transactions through the ONDC network
Efficient matching of sellers and consumers. At scale, when there would be millions of sellers and consumers on the network, because of which it will become imperative to optimize the right set of buyers and sellers for the right set of products. Another aspect that emerges is display of right SKUs and managing inventory efficiently to avoid stock-outs on the network.
Leveraging transaction data for consumers and sellers to help sellers build consumer engagement programs to retain customers.
Leveraging transaction data to build retail intelligence around which set of brands are selling fast in which geographies. This retail intelligence can also have the data pertaining to which set of logistics partners can fulfill faster and cheaper in which micro-markets.
Gaming as a ServiceImproving customer spend on consumer apps through building higher customer engagement via incorporating APIs that enable gamified experiences like quizzes, spin the wheel, opinion trading to win discounts and in-app currency
Commerce as a ServiceConverting any digital real estate across short video apps, news apps, websites, TV screens, OTT platforms etc into a mini-marketplace that allows sales of products visible in the content
Video as a ServiceSDKs creating audio/video experiences via livestreams and recorded videos on digital real estates like websites etc
Virtual Shopping AssistantsAPIs enabling celebrity ambassadors of brands (or any digital avatars) to assist sales on digital real estates through audio/video
Advertisement as a ServiceAPIs enabling any platform (app/website) to host programmatic ads
Subscription CommerceBuilding loyalty programs for customers that entails underwriting of loyal customers to provide them access to fresh innovative products before other types of customers. These new products can be provided on subscription basis to the customers until the customer likes the product enough to purchase it
AR/VR CommerceBuilding APIs that enable brands to create virtual try-ons on their websites or existing marketplaces
Neo-natal Care / Baby commerceBusiness models focusing around kids or newly born right from their birth to age 4 or 5. These business models entail building community around new parents to educate them on nurturing newly born kids through ancient wisdom, providing nursing care to babies for working mothers and providing assortment of commonly bought products via vertical marketplace.
Age-TechBusiness models focusing on elderly right from the age of 60. These business models entail building community around them to educate them on technological advancements, providing nursing care to them and providing assortment of commonly bought products via vertical marketplace.
Vertical Social NetworkFocused on niche audiences with high propensity to pay for a cause eg working professionals, religious devotees, dating enthusiasts etc
Medical TourismFacilitating surgeries of patients across Africa, Middle East and South Asia in hospitals across India for commonly occuring problems
Brand ManagementRising expertise and sophistication in operating a brand online for big brands – both marketplaces + own website (Significant potential in international expansion)
Brand ManagementRising expertise and sophistication in operating a brand online for big brands – both marketplaces + own website (Significant potential in international expansion)
Circular Economy (Apparel & Fashion)Circular economy solution for post-consumer fashion items collection and recycling so that the apparel item doesn’t end up in landfill
Return to OriginRe-processing centres for Steam pressing, labelling and ticketing, mending and refurbishing, Packaging → reducing the RTV time

Program Benefits:

  1. Access to mentorship by seasoned investors 
  2. Fundraising opportunities 
  3. Access to network in the VC community 

Eligibility Criterion:

  • Startup has to be registered with the incubator partners of SIDBI 
  • Startup to be headquartered in India 
  • Preference towards startups building around retail, ecommerce, consumer products and services and B2B distribution

Register Now:

Duration & Timelines:

  • Call for applications starting on: TBA
  • Call for applications closing on: TBA
  • Launch of the program: TBA
  • Demo Day and Closure: TBA
Share this post on social media