The current narrative of Web 3.0 means that the hold of power will shift away from a few dominant Web 2.0 companies and give control back to the masses, while also spelling new and diverse opportunities for innovation. With the world having fully entered the third generation of the internet, or Web 3.0 as it is popularly known, we are now moving towards an era of decentralised blockchain-based architectures which enables user-ownership of platforms.
Web 3.0 also offers a myriad of opportunities for India, especially with the country having the largest number of English speaking software developers in the world. This puts it in the position to be one of the prominent countries to lead the Web 3.0 narrative.
Nevertheless, there also exist obstacles in terms of blockchain regulatory measures, taxation, and decentralisation. If India succeeds in resolving these issues, it has a chance to become one of the key players as the next frontier of the internet is established.
In a freewheeling conversation at YourStory’s The Metaverse Summit, Pranav Sharma and Himanshu Yadav, Founding Partners at Woodstock Fund, discussed the nuances of Web 3, and what it means as an opportunity for India and its startup ecosystem and beyond.
On being the only Web 3 focused fund in India
“Back in early 2019, when we started, we could not find any serious venture capital firms focussing on the Web 3 space. We truly believe that India could play a key role in the grand Web 3 story, and we’ll have a lot of good builders, developers who are building some great products in the space,” said Himanshu, talking about why they chose their journey as Web 3-focused investors.
We’re trying to build an East-West corridor where we take the best teams, and founders from India, and help them leverage the global network that we have built. Conversely, we also back some of the best global teams and founders and help them leverage the massive consumer market that exists in India and Asia,” he added, while pointing out that around 35 to 40 percent of its portfolio companies, had at least one Indian co-founder, while adding that was something that they planned on building very strongly on in the coming years.
India and the Web 3.0 potential
“India’s journey in Web 3.0 and to become a $10 trillion economy is inevitable.” said Pranav, talking about how Woodstock Fund truly believed in the dual potential of both Indian and Web 3.0.
“I truly believe that this decade belongs to India, and to Indians,” he added.
Speaking to investors in the audience, he added that if they were seeking a very authentic, committed team, which would stick their neck out no matter what, for the long term, Woodstock would be the right partners in their journey.
Giving back power to the user with Web 3.0
Himanshu also spoke about how Web 3 will shift away from a few dominant Web 2.0 companies and give control back to the masses, and what that meant for the average person.
“Web 2.0 opened up a lot of possibilities when it comes to information. But it essentially did not live up to the promise of the internet. It turned users into products – essentially monetising a user’s privacy and data. Web 3.0 has this promise to change that and become what the real essence of the internet is,” he said.
“Given what we have seen, especially over the last years in terms of the massive data monopolies that have been built and the amount of power that those data monopolies yield over the world today, I believe Web 3 would be a stage to help users leverage the power of their own data and be true stakeholders in the network,” he added.
Woodstock’s investment thesis
The duo also expanded on Woodstock’s investment thesis for this decade and the innovations in the space that were most exciting to the fund, and why they believe that a lot of great opportunities for Web 3.0 lay in the fringes.
“As a fund, we always look at opportunities that will lie in the fringes, which will eventually converge into Web 3.0,” said Pranav.
“Gaming happened as a fringe, but became integrated with Web 3.0. Something similar is also happening right now, early sciences, fintech, consumer tech, supply chain, etc. and we’re excited about the convergence happening here,” he added.
The next steps for Web 3 in India
“I love India. And there are multiple reasons for it,” said Pranav as he drew similarities between India and Web 3.0.
India is a plural society. It may seem very chaotic to somebody who’s an outsider, and that is essentially what Web 3.0 is right now,” added Pranav.
Himanshu believes that there is a tectonic movement happening across India with regards to Web 3.0. “India is Web 3.0 ready,” he says, adding that the early dabbling in finance and the popular trading narrative of cryptocurrencies are just the tip of the iceberg of possibilities for the country.
Pranav believes that the country’s large English speaking developer base and its demographic dividend ticks all the right boxes for Web 3.0.
“All of these things here create a very positive opportunity for India to shine,” he added.