India: where are the information services?
In the US, I was on a team that invested in data centric businesses like Verid (acquired by RSA/EMC), Prosper.com, Cortera, and Asset Control. When I moved to India, I brought along a fervent interest in information centric businesses. Some examples of success stories in this sector are:
- Credit bureaus: Experian and TRW
- Corporate information services: Dun & Bradstreet and Hoovers
- Ratings agencies: Moody’s and Morningstar
- News and pricing services: Reuters and Bloomberg
Over the past three years, I have come to realize that the information services sector in India is still very young to say the least. The only established models are a couple of ratings bureaus (CRISIL and the new entrant, Highmark) and rudimentary pricing/news services for financial investors.
It is hard to imagine that the entire $1.3 Trillion Indian economy is supported by less than $200M worth of information services (by my estimate which includes the $140M of CRISIL revenues and the Indian components of global information providers).
As we look at the prospects of a $5 Trillion economy in India over the next ten years, this anomaly surely has to correct itself.