Indian startups of all sizes are raising record amounts of investment funding this year and getting public exits, as we’ve been covering in recent months. To hear more about the growth behind the numbers we caught up with Ayush Srivastava, a co-founder of growth marketing group Growth Folks (and a growth marketer at Zynga by day).
The organization, which describes itself as “India’s largest community of growth enthusiasts,” began as in-person events for growth marketers across major cities, but made the jump to online networking during the pandemic. From there it began an online speaker series for its 1,300-some members, introduced more community networking groups and virtual events, and one-on-one mentoring.
In the interview below, part of our ongoing series profiling growth marketers around the world, he says India’s startup scene has quickly gotten more sophisticated about growth in recent years. Companies are centering high-quality user growth as a shared team goal, not as a side job, and are thinking more creatively about where and how to find users. “I am amazed at how the startups are focusing on tier two-three cities here in India. With the pace with which internet access has grown … they are making sure they are solving the problem faced by rural Indians as well. [I] just love the fact that proper solutions are being built in the right manner for the concerned pain point.”
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
You describe Growth Folks as “India’s largest community of growth enthusiasts,” with more than 1,300 members. What does “growth enthusiast” mean to you, and how does that term define you?
The terms “growth” and “growth marketing” have picked up a lot in the last five years in the Indian startup ecosystem. All of a sudden there are more than a million heads who are interested to be a part of this circle or are already a part of this community. This had a positive impact as more and more people started to look at their growth problems and not only just promoting their business. For us, growth enthusiasts are everyone and anyone who is even one percent excited about how to grow a particular brand/service.
How did the focus and efforts of Growth Folks change during the pandemic for community engagement?
In the pre-COVID era, Growth Folks was heavily functional in the offline space. We used to manage and engage the community online but most of the efforts went in and success used to come from the offline activities that we used to organize. From December 2018 through the end of 2019, we organized more than 80+ offline events in nine cities of India. These events were previously panel discussions, industry talks or seminars followed by networking sessions.[H]owever, once COVID came into the picture, our operations shifted completely online and I must say the shift was quite smooth but exciting for me.