Unpacking the $80+ billion ONDC opportunity: India’s next startup catalyst

India's approach to unbundle payments made the world look up and take notice. Now it's time to disrupt commerce with the Open Network for Digital Commerce

Susmit Patodia

Associate Partner, Capital
March 9, 2023
Share article

I cannot describe the magnificence of the markets at Delhi, nor the variety of goods exposed for sale. The richest stuffs, the finest muslins, the most brilliant shawls, the most precious stones, are seen there in profusion.

From "Travels in the Mogul Empire" by François Bernier
Image made with Midjourney: Grand Indian Bazaar, early history, teeming with activity

There are thousands of accounts like this from early historians that have marveled at India’s bazaars and commerce and how it brings together craftsmen, artisans, merchants, and everyday folk. 

Centuries later, with the help of technology, we might be able to bring the Grand Indian Bazaar back to life. Only this time, the bazaar spans the whole of India and instead of a few hundred or thousands, there could be millions of merchants selling everything from groceries to furniture. 

The way to make this a reality is through a unique confluence of technology, policy, and entrepreneurship called the Online Network for Digital Commerce, or simply, ONDC. Over the course of this extensive report we will dive deep into everything ONDC and share perspectives from entrepreneurs building on it and insights on how it could change commerce. But if you have only a few minutes, here are four key takeaways

  1. ONDC is a common language of commerce: ONDC is not a platform killer or an e-commerce website, it is set of protocols that enables various players across a commerce transaction anywhere in the country to talk to each other and fulfill a transaction.
  2. ONDC could create value unlike anything we have seen: Traditional e-commerce is ruled by the winner take all approach. ONDC goes against this, by unbundling the essential aspects of commerce and making it interoperable, it is making the pie big enough for everyone to share.
  3. ONDC could spur a revival in e-commerce innovation: E-retail has been reduced to a game of fine margins, the ONDC model could revitalize innovation in the space. Unbundling will enable niche players to build specialized apps and open data could shed new light on buyer behavior and sellers to borrow better. 
  4. Expect initial bumps and bold bets: As we explain later in the report, there will be some challenges for ONDC to gain hold, like, the cold-start problem and ensuring a seamless customer experience. However, while these are inevitable, the entrepreneurs and investors who chose to venture into this will need to be brave and reframe how to understand and value e-retail outcomes.

We have also discussed our thesis in depth and visualised many of the concepts detailed below!

The need for open commerce and the birth of ONDC

Some (conservative) estimates indicate that the ONDC Network could add 60-80 billion USD to India’s economy by 2030.

Vibhor Jain, COO & President, Network Governance, ONDC

The growth of e-commerce in India is a paradox. Despite experiencing meteoric growth in recent years, India's e-commerce sector still has much untapped potential with e-retail penetration at 5-7%.

E-commerce giants have done wonders to spread awareness and kickstart the e-retail movement in India but e-retail as a portion of retail is still in the single digits. This is despite the huge catalog assortment, standardization, fulfillment infrastructure, instant returns, and refunds. 

Their push unlocked a huge market by distributing production and personalizing consumption and we moved from “What is seen, sells” to “What can get delivered, sells”. 

Eventually, the companies became monolithic in their approach, locking in all aspects of a commerce transaction. The platform became larger than the participants, and innovators are close to becoming incumbents that are too big to fail. 

However, this is not a new story, we have seen it before with digital payments. 

While digital banking and financial service providers existed before, it was the Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI), Unified Payments Interface (UPI), built by the government that helped supercharge digital payments in India. In hindsight. The government build the digital equivalent of a free to use payments platform that brought together merchants, banks, and consumers. By making payments a public good, the government made it possible for startups to innovate on everything that is built on top of it. The UPI story seemed inevitable because it made the benefits of accepting digital payments greater for consumers and merchants than the initial adoption pains. 

Lessons from UPI, the pandemic-driven push for digitization, and the ever-present but unfulfilled promise of eCommerce led to the birth of Open Network for Digital Commerce or ONDC. This could be India’s next great startup catalyst and that is why we have compiled an extensive report that will cover 

  1. What is ONDC and how is it different from UPI
  2. A picture of what ONDC-enabled commerce looks like
  3. A map of the existing ONDC landscape 
  4. Our predictions and thesis for ONDC
  5. Insights from early network participants 
  6. The future of commerce and ONDC

What ONDC can do for commerce can go beyond what UPI did for payments. The ONDC scope is much broader, enabling both products and services. There is tremendous room for innovation and value creation for startups, product builders, on-the-ground operators, as well as for large and conventional players and investors to come together and reimagine one of the most fundamental aspects of our society.

T. Koshy, Chief Executive Officer, ONDC

ONDC under the hood: How unbundling unlocks value 

ONDC by definition is a set of specifications designed to enable an open interchange and connections between shoppers, technology platforms, and retailers. But, what does this really mean? 

The key premise of ONDC is based on two concepts: Unbundling and interoperability. ONDC does this by breaking a typical commerce transaction into parts (unbundling) and creating protocols so that everyone on the network can seamlessly work on these unbundled parts (interoperability). Unbundling unlocks value. When every step of a commerce transaction is opened up, players focussing on one specific step can innovate.

Source: ONDC Strategy Paper

Practically speaking, ONDC is taking the four steps of commerce that were traditionally taken up by one entity: discovery, assortment, fulfillment, and governance and unbundling it so that multiple players can execute each of these steps independently. 

More importantly, ONDC is decoupling the infrastructure stages of commerce (discovery, assortment, and fulfillment) from the governance aspect, so that specialized players can handle each of these steps and no one entity can dictate rules.

The Namma Yatri app, built by and for the autorickshaw drivers of Bengaluru, is an example of this. It shows how a participant-driven decentralized network is not only possible but scalable.

The Namma Yatri App lets riders choose their drivers
As an open community initiative, just about anybody could build Namma Yatri using Beckn protocol - the same protocol fundamentals that are in place in ONDC today. Within three months of launching, Namma Yatri is doing close to 6000 rides a day with over 2 lakh users and 35,000 auto drivers, all with little or no marketing spends. This is an initiative that was taken up and driven by the auto-rickshaw drivers and shows the power of unbundling driven adoption.

Sujith Nair, CEO & Co-Founder FIDE, The Genesis Author and an Angel Donor to Beckn Protocol

One can draw parallels to how ONDC is similar to UPI, in that both are DPIs. However, the ONDC problem statement is a wholly different proposition from UPI.

Why the ONDC challenge is different from UPI 

  1. Scale: For UPI to take off, about 50 banks (that controlled ~90% of transactions) had to come onto the network for users and merchants to start using it. But with ONDC we are talking about 63 million small businesses (that drive over 90% of commerce) adopting this network! 
  2. Complexity: DPIs have usually dealt almost entirely with bits. UPI was for digital transactions, and Aadhaar was for digital identity. With ONDC, protocols directly affect the movement of goods and services or real-world atoms. 
  3. Novelty: While UPI had some equivalents like PayPal and FedNow prior to its inception, there is nothing like ONDC anywhere in the world. ONDC is a unique confluence of technology, policy, and entrepreneurship. It’s something that could have only come out of India.

How ONDC DNA is different from UPI

Due to the different nature of challenges that ONDC is tackling, it is also different from UPI in the way it is designed as explained by Vibhor Jain,  COO & President, Network Governance, ONDC.

UPI is an open-source technology but it is not open-access. One has to tie up with a bank, for example, to get their SDKs to create a UPI application that can carry out transactions. ONDC on the other hand is open source and open access. Nobody needs any clearances or permissions to create a fully functional application (while you may need certification to ensure compliance). 

That said, there are a few things that ONDC is designed differently vs UPI. 

  1. Unification over uniformity
    In UPI, a diverse set of entities function together, whereas, in ONDC, all entities have to conform to a common way of doing things. For ONDC to succeed, the approach has to be that of unification rather than uniformity.
    For example, In UPI, you needed all banks to operate in the same way but in ONDC you don't need all the sellers and logistics providers to work in the same way but need them to work together, e.g. if a customer searches for something on an ONDC app, the seller app has to respond, and logistics has to fulfill.
  2. Operating on a light-touch community driven governance/regulation model
    For there to be order within the diversity, some common rules have to be laid down, but the rules cannot be so cumbersome that they become a barrier to entry and business. The rules have to allow many different business models to thrive while creating trust in the system for all users. Achieving the right balance between diversity and some common consensus on ground rules requires continuous engagement with the community of users. ONDC has constituted multiple different bodies through which Network Participants (NPs) and civil society can contribute to the governance of the Network.
If UPI and Aadhaar are the digital equivalents of building public infrastructure like roads, then building ONDC is akin to building a national scale open-city of commerce where buyers, sellers, transporters, and everyone else can come together and interact.

Nitin Sharma, Partner at Antler.

So what does all this look like in practice? And who is building on ONDC?

ONDC Today

The ONDC network is composed of five types of Network Participants that work together 

  1. Buyer Apps: These are consumer-facing apps. Their key function is to connect buyers with every seller on the ONDC network.
  2. Seller Apps: Seller apps are the apps that merchants and service providers interface with to access every buyer on the network.
  3. Technology Service Providers (TSP): TSPs are the technology backbone of end-user facing apps on the buyer and seller side. They provide services like digitizing catalogs, network analytics, vertical integration of accounting, CRM, and other tools.
  4. Logistics Providers: Logistics providers take delivery requests from sellers and fulfill them. They are the real-world connective bridge between buyers and sellers.
  5. Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Providers: In a world where no one central authority is in charge of governance, ODRs take up the mantle of resolving disputes, refunds, and returns.  

Given below is a visualization of every live NP as well as those in advanced stages of development.

Source: ONDC
  1. Financial apps want to integrate with ONDC to expand the offerings for their captive audience. If you’re going to pay via a UPI app why not shop on it too? 
  2. Logistics providers see a massive opportunity in expanding their SMB user base and fulfilling previously unserviceable demand. 
  3. Three firms, Eunimart, ENS, and Plotch are working on being a TSP for buyer-side and seller-side apps while everyone else is focused on enabling only seller-side apps. 

Now that we understand what ONDC is, how it works and its current state today, it's time to answer three big questions that will determine the future of the network.

Three big questions about ONDC and our answers 

  1. How will ONDC grow as a network?
  2. How will ONDC change e-commerce for buyers, sellers, and everyone else?
  3. Who will win in an ONDC-enabled commerce world?

How will ONDC grow as a network?

The answer to how ONDC will grow as a network has two parts: understanding the trajectory of growth and the network participants critical for growth.

The trajectory of network growth

While ONDC will be subject to the same laws of network effects, we believe its trajectory could be unique on two counts.

ONDC will scale slowly in pockets and then suddenly

The scale of the challenge for ONDC is unique which also means it could take longer to hit an inflection point. However, once it does, e-commerce penetration will be self-sustaining.

Just like how Uber found its niche initially with limousines in pools of demand around California and New York, the same could happen for ONDC where certain use cases and geographies will find the ONDC way of doing commerce better and more economical than offline and platform alternatives. 

Network growth will prioritize expansion and inclusivity.

ONDC is designed to onboard the long tail of buyers and sellers from rural areas and tier 2 and tier towns by offering them ease of digitization, choice, and affordability. While this will not mean fulfillment experiences of modern-day e-commerce platforms, it will increase penetration of e-retail into traditionally low volume and niche products.

Network participants critical for growth and their roles

Two kinds of network participants could be key for network effects to take hold: Sellers apps in order to thaw the cold-start problem and horizontal players (TSPs and ODRs) to accelerate network effects.

How seller-side apps can thaw the cold-start problem

For the ONDC model to work, more buyers need to find the buyer apps attractive enough to switch from existing apps.

For buyer apps to be attractive, two key components need to be in place: a wide catalog of goods from sellers all over the country and a reliable and cheap fulfillment experience.

For this to happen, offline to online onboarding of sellers, digitization of storefronts, catalogs, and a suite of tools around the business from financing to inventory and taxation presents an immense opportunity for seller apps. As seller apps integrate and onboard more sellers in particular categories, we believe that the cold-start challenge of generating enough demand for buyers to come onboard the network will start to be solved.

Horizontal players will be essential to accelerate network effects

Horizontal players like ODRs and TSPs who work closely with both buyer and seller apps are critical for the entire transaction to flow smoothly. TSPs are one of the few areas where existing SaaS playbooks and products can be applied across the network and provide value to almost every other part of the network.
ONDC enables TSPs to build Shopify-like digital services for every category and that is a massive value unlock in sectors like textiles, flooring, home & decor, and other categories.

We also believe that a lot of TSPs for seller apps could become seller apps themselves as they gain visibility and integration with a seller’s business. Some of the more innovative and yet untested systems such as dispute resolution could turn out to be one of the factors that help ONDC take off with automated resolutions, regional support, and other possibilities.

How could ONDC change e-commerce for buyers, sellers, and everyone else?

ONDC is a fundamental rethink of how e-commerce is done, this holds new possibilities for everyone.

For buyers: Unlock access to micro-economies

Right now, local commerce is limited to how far people can travel to get what they want. ONDC will probably give consumers the choice to get what they want to their doorstep without having to worry about logistics.

As more kirana stores and local suppliers and sellers come on the network, consumers who were normally underserved will benefit from lower prices and better delivery options.

For buyer side apps: A new UX challenge and the advent of complex commerce

Whilst creating and scaling buyer apps in the midst of well-established incumbents might be the hardest piece of the puzzle to figure out, for the buyer apps that do take up the challenge, two key challenges will need to be solved.

Reimagining the UX of e-commerce

One immediate opportunity for anyone looking to build on this side of the network is making delayed/deferred gratification a feature.

Buyer apps will have to communicate and coordinate with at least three parties for a transaction. This will not give users the instant gratification of apps today right away so apps will need to make up for that through a customized fulfillment experience and offering true choice.

In an ONDC-enabled commerce environment, instead of one super app offering you a number of undifferentiated services and products, ONDC enables specialized service providers to come together and offer differentiated experiences to one user at a time.For example, on an ONDC-enabled network, you could book a cab to the airport, and arrange for coffee/food on arrival all through the map application that you use to plan your trip.

This helps incumbents double down on what they are good at while allowing others to innovate. For example, when Uber launched food delivery, they had to completely build UberEats (incl restaurants, delivery partners etc) but with ONDC, Uber can just integrate it through the ONDC network restaurants along with other logistics providers.

Building experiences for complex commerce use cases 

ONDC doesn’t just enable multiple smaller players to come together and offer services they would have never been able to offer on their own, but it also unlocks new applications and possibilities like complex commerce, where your experience of fulfillment is tightly coupled with the product itself. 

A case in point is furniture delivery and fulfillment. One of the reasons why e-retail penetration for furniture has been lacking is because big, bulky furniture pieces like sofas require different delivery mechanics than smaller home decor items. 

Source: How India Shops Online

Furniture fulfillment specific to a city and type of furniture is an application that is possible through ONDC. We are already seeing this work in niche commerce categories to the benefit of artisans and weavers.

One of the live use cases is the example of saree weavers from Kanchipuram who are live on the network. These are small artisans from rural areas who were used to selling their precious wares to traders who sell the sarees at huge markups. Through the ONDC Network, these weavers are now selling directly to customers in cities, boosting their incomes by several multiples.

Vibhor Jain, COO & President, Network Governance, ONDC
Change the equation between Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and Life Time Value of the customer

Some of the main factors that drive CAC for e-commerce are awareness and conversion.
While ONDC apps may not be able to compete on awareness in the short term, they could enable higher conversion rates by offering a wider range of products and better fulfillment experiences at cheaper prices in the long term. These knock-on effects over years could increase the lifetime value (LTV) of ONDC customers, along with an increasing per capita GDP, which will lower the real value of CAC. 

For sellers, brands, and lenders: Break data silos and democratize business intelligence

Possibly the most consequential change that ONDC could bring about is the breaking down of data silos and unlocking the free flow of intelligence between sellers, brands, and lenders. 

This will enable two key possibilities that were not possible before

Give brands direct access to buyers

Today brands only have an approximate idea of who their customers are and what they want because of platforms positioning themselves between the seller and the brand.

ONDC could change this. As an open protocol, network data is available for anyone to make use of. This is a goldmine for brands to find new customers, upsell to existing ones and customize offerings for pin codes. 

Unlocking flow-based lending for sellers

Most Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are denied credit by banks. Traditional lending is associated with assets and regular income, however, the reality is that most businesses have incomes that fluctuate with seasons and have little collateral. The ONDC approach can change this by providing lenders with real-time data and intelligence on the financial health of a business. 

A Kirana store could conduct its retail transactions on ONDC, where a retail customer purchases (say) a bag of atta from them. The Kirana store could procure it from a wholesaler on ONDC, providing a seamless connection between the wholesale and retail sides of the business. This would allow these businesses to build a credit history. 

With that and the open, interoperable architecture of ONDC, software solutions can be built to integrate these systems with credit enablement such as TReDS, Account Aggregator framework, etc. In the future, the government can build APIs to make it easier to pay taxes, and/or get permissions (such as customs clearances).

Vibhor Jain, COO & President, Network Governance, ONDC

Who will win?

The most important question we are trying to answer as investors and believers are who are the winners in this new era of commerce? We believe that two kinds of winners will emerge.

Catalyze hundreds of unicorns instead of a handful of decacorns

ONDC could enable scrappy startups to work with other network participants to deliver a breadth of experiences that large platforms can’t match. Instead of a David vs Goliath scenario, ONDC will lower the threshold for startups to enter by enabling 100 Davids to collaborate and coordinate.

Hence instead of having a handful of e-commerce startups valued at 10s of billions of dollars that focus on everything, ONDC can enable multiple unicorns that are focused on niche categories, fulfillment services, and seller enablement.

Foster the profit-first founder

Founders and startups that could flourish in the ONDC system will be focused on being profitable from the start. 

For example, ONDC provides an opportunity for seller-side apps and TSPs to create revenue from day 1 of operations, through commissions on facilitating transactions, helping merchants accept payments, and shipping goods. 

Also, operating in ONDC means dealing with both bits and atoms. This means not just working with digital protocols but also working on ground-level execution. Hence founders and teams building in this space must be prepared for this and willing to get their hands dirty.

The future of commerce and ONDC

ONDC is up and running in 80+ cities with 30+ network participants across the country for FMCG, logistics, and other segments.

As it evolves, ONDC could face many challenges such as creating a critical mass of adoption, scam prevention, and implementing a reliable dispute resolution mechanism. However, as a technology protocol and innovation, the success of ONDC might redefine the global nature of commerce itself.

As Vibhor Jain, explains ONDC has two parts to it - the ONDC API Specifications and the ONDC Network. The ONDC API Specifications - which form the backbone of the technology - are intended to be a DPG for the entire world, just like the Beckn Protocols on which they are based. That is why they are published under a free, open, and permissive Creative Commons license. That means anyone around the world can use the ONDC API Specifications without having to take permission or pay any license fees or royalties, but just giving attribution to ONDC. 

The global orientation is also reflected in the design of the API Specifications. First, the attributes defined in the API Specifications are generic, and not India-specific. So what each attribute refers to can be easily understood by anyone and they can be used without any modification for many different use cases. Second, the core APIs are designed to be extended and adapted for different use cases. That means, if the user needs to modify the Specifications to suit their particular need, it is easy to do so.

While the ONDC API Specifications are a Digital Public Good for the globe, the ONDC Network is Digital Public Infrastructure intended mainly for India

So one possibility is that similar networks built by many countries may all be able to interoperate, creating a seamless market for cross-border trade, from trading raw materials to finished goods, and including ancillary services such as payments and credit.

In the next section we share insights from startups and companies building from each part of the network who helped build our thesis.

Insights from Network Participants

As part of our report, we reached out to every network participant live on the network and collated insights from every part of the network. The insights below are edited for clarity.

Buyer side

Building a buyer side demand and solving the UX challenges that trade instant gratification for delayed but customized fulfillment will be some of the challenges that buyer side apps need to solve. Manoj Gupta believes that there are enough reasons to tackle this.

ONDC is a population scale network where more than $100B of commerce is expected to happen with more than 500 million customers and 15 million sellers. In ONDC, multiple types of entities can become seller apps and/or buyer apps including banks, content companies like Dailyhunt, and telco operators like Airtel. The hyperlocal feature is much stronger in buyer apps, for example, these apps will most likely show stores near you to buy from rather than starting from category/brand-based merchandising.

Lastly, there are multiple white spaces like lending, catalog AI, search AI, asset-lite dark stores, vertical supply aggregation, ONDC-first D2C brands, multilingual storefronts, vertical reselling networks, payments, and settlements between nodes.

Manoj Gupta, Founder, and CEO, Plotch.ai

Seller side 

A huge portion of initial value creation will come from creating a large enough curation of sellers on the ONDC network. This side of the network is seeing founders who have extensive experience in services and product development, like Lalit Bhise of Bizom.

"Jo Dikhtha Hai Woh Bikta Hai”

Startups and early-stage entrepreneurs should leverage ONDC to gain visibility online. With a one-time listing, they gain access to customers on all platforms!

And for India's eCommerce to come of age, it needs to include the smallest and remotest businesses.
Bizom has been working towards making it a reality for years now. The government's ONDC initiative is the right step in that direction. We are very gratified and have had rewarding collaborations with ONDC's leadership.

Lalit Bhise, Co-founder and CEO, Bizom

From silk weavers in Tamil Nadu to toy markers in Rajasthan, unlocking India’s depth and breadth of commerce will be vital to creating the demand for buyers to use ONDC. Startups like the Seller App see a number of reasons why merchants will sign up.

With our extensive experience in serving eCommerce sellers globally, we recognized the need for solutions like ONDC. There are also several reasons why startups and early-stage entrepreneurs should adopt ONDC:

[1] Wider reach:
ONDC expands business reach by breaking down geographic barriers and offering access to a wider customer base. 
[2] Better insights:
On ONDC platforms, businesses can access data that can provide valuable insights into customer behaviors which is lacking in the current Marketplace setup. 
[3] Lower costs:
A virtual ONDC storefront eliminates the need for physical storefronts, eliminates market monopolies, and reduces inventory management costs.
[4] Improved seller/buyer experience:
ONDC offers both sellers and buyers features such as personalized recommendations, easy payment options, user access, and real-time tracking.

It's been an exhilarating journey partnering with the ONDC team and leadership for nearly a year now.

Brij Purohit, CEO, SellerApp

A little over 19,000 sellers have been on-boarded onto seller-marketplace platforms in the ONDC Network. For someone like Girish Pai, founder of Growth Falcons, ONDC represents a fundamental change in a sector he has worked in for decades.

I strongly believe ONDC shall cross 900 Mn buyers in less than 5 years with the network effect. Each buyer app shall be a channel of demand for the seller apps/sellers in the “ONDC ecosystem and it solves the key problem of seller discovery. 

Once a seller gets onboarded onto ONDC, they could get discovered across multiple buyer apps. Conversely, a seller could now be discovered by millions of subscribers.

Girish Pai, Founder & CEO, GrowthFalcons

Logistics providers 

Some of the country’s largest logistics companies are betting on ONDC to solve last mile logistics for the unconquered frontiers of e-commerce in India.

Our collective goal was to make eCommerce more inclusive for tier-2/3 cities. Working with ONDC as a logistics provider to enable sellers from all segments to ship products to cities and towns across India. This will create a major impact by empowering MSMEs to target more customers with same-day delivery options.

Joining the ONDC network will be the best strategic bet for these businesses to not just sustain but flourish amidst the ever-increasing competition in the e-commerce landscape. In this mission of building a digital economy, ONDC can help startups and early-stage entrepreneurs to break through the control of online marketplaces and truly accelerate their innovation-driven growth.

Saahil Goel, Co-founder & CEO, Shiprocket

Technology Service Providers for sellers (TSPs)

The ONDC framework helps bring the cloud to kirana instead of the other way around. This opportunity to digitize millions of SMEs has attracted the likes of Zoho to work on ONDC.

As a technology service provider (TSP) on the ONDC platform, Zoho enables sellers to become digital-ready by leveraging Zoho Commerce, the company's unified cloud platform for e-commerce. Currently, the primary challenges sellers face are

[1] Inability to create a digital catalog   
[2] Lack of centralized inventory and order management
[3] Unfamiliarity with digital commerce

To support sellers Zoho helps in building storefronts, managing digital catalogs, orders, invoices, accounting, payments, customer support, and performance analysis through Zoho Books and Zoho Inventory. We will also coordinate with the ONDC team to expand the reach of the network to tier 2/3 cities.

Akshaya Dhandapani, Business Development Manager - Global Business Development, Zoho Corp

Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)

Perhaps the most innovative and yet untested aspect of ONDC will be how a decentralized and unbundled network helps address grievances such as refunds and returns. For an ODR to function effectively, it will need a mix of people who are equally adept at dispute resolution, legal frameworks, and digital arbitration.

We manage the entire retail collections and debt resolution processes including the legal aspects and timelines. This involves case management systems, integration of email, SMS, WhatsApp, voice bots, Interactive Voice Response, and audio/video conferencing. We bring both parties to the dispute resolution table where each party's submission is given due respect. 

We are already working with more than 100 leading banks, ARC(s), NBFCs, and FinTech lenders enabling them to digitize and streamline debt resolution. We have about 2,000 well-seasoned, eminent, and impartial neutrals on the panel to resolve disputes at scale. We are able to resolve around 50% of the cases through ODR, which is around 1 million cases resolved on an average every month.

Mayank Khera, COO & Co-founder, Credgenics

In essence, the ONDC model wants to instill trust and governance by assigning a Grievance Redressal Officer (GRO) and escalating it to an ODR like Presolv360 in case the grievance is not resolved in 7 days.

ONDC has the potential to revolutionize commerce in the country. This falls perfectly in line with Presolv360's offerings. 

An open network structure allows for analyzing common grounds of issues that emerge, the possible reasons for them, and their possible resolutions, thereby leading to improved processes and better decision-making
. The pilot stage will further translate into data-backed dispute resolution with reduced human touchpoints as we move forward.

Namita Shah, Co-founder, Presolv360

Enabling the buyer and seller ecosystem

Another area of value creation that became clear in our conversation is the opportunity to help create a critical mass of adoption on both the buyer and seller sides. 
As the network evolves, it is possible we can see network participants like Mystore that operate on both the buyer side and seller side.

ONDC is a natural extension of what we have been doing for the last 8 years. We were able to leverage the StoreHippo platform and launch Mystore, the First ONDC-connected marketplace, in a few weeks. The journey so far has been incredibly enriching. In a short period of time, we have connected hundreds of sellers to ONDC including brands like Peesafe, Berger Paints, Nutraj, Mcaffiene, Borosil, and also established strong partnerships with leading organizations such as SFAC, NSC, and JKTPO.

Connecting to the ONDC network from both ends has enabled us to understand the network from different perspectives which result in a seamlessly integrated experience for both buyers and sellers.

and Kriti Aggarwal, founders, Mystore

We believe the ONDC model could indeed transform the future of commerce and while only time will tell how the future pans out, we are eager to work with founders who are building on ONDC today. 

If you are interested in working with Antler to enable this please reach out to me on susmit.patodia@antler.co.

About Theory of Next: This deep dive is part of our series, Theory of Next, where we explore in depth, the ideas and areas that excite us with founders, builders, industry leaders and operators. In earlier episodes we explored Electric Vehicles, DAOs, Mental Health, and Space Tech.

Susmit Patodia

Associate Partner, Capital

Susmit Patodia is the Capital Director at Antler India. Susmit started his career with Accenture Management Consulting.

After which he spent the last decade with Motilal Oswal, one of India's premier financial services company. He has held various leadership positions in Motilal from heading institutional equities sales business to portfolio management at the Asset Management Company.

He is a strong believer in India’s meteoric growth over the next decade and his focus is on “Antifragile investing in India”, “Don’t bet against India” and “Return to not normal but better”. Susmit is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and Madras University.

More insights

See all articles
5 min read
Championing a new generation of women founders in the UK and beyond

Antler’s exclusive “Empowering Women Entrepreneurs: Building Venture-Scalable Businesses” summit in London brought together top women founders for a dynamic afternoon of thought leadership and discussion. Read highlights of the event—essential insights for the next generation of women founders in the UK and beyond.

5 min read
Daria Stepanova: The rocket scientist using data to combat the climate crisis

Meet the spacetech founder tackling climate change by setting the new global standard for precise and continuous greenhouse gas emissions measurements.

5 min read
Introducing Canada's Next Big Thing: A blueprint for future entrepreneurs

Exciting news for entrepreneurs ready to leave their mark: We've launched a pivotal initiative that spotlights the diverse opportunities within Canada's thriving industries.

Our report curates pivotal problem statements from Canada's leading tech visionaries, founders, and VCs, offering aspiring entrepreneurs a pathway to impactful innovation.

Discover 20+ big opportunities pinpointed by top Canadian minds, spread across six fast-growing industries. Each challenge is an invitation to create and innovate—leading the way to the future.

We hope it will serve as a roadmap for aspiring founders ready to build tomorrow's solutions today.