A nascent stage startup is no different from a toddler—it needs to be nurtured with utmost care and conditioned for tackling the challenges that lie ahead. To provide this grooming, several cities in India are preparing themselves for incubating and bolstering entrepreneurial ventures. The global buzz surrounding the startup mentality has made it more important than ever to create a breeding ground for innovation and creativity; and it's great to see that India is also taking this seriously.
This has given rise to a number of startup hubs across the country, with the quantity increasing continuously. There has been a paradigm shift when it comes to the importance of 9 to 5 day jobs. Although, many Indians still prefer such jobs over conceiving new ventures, some studies report that the number of startups in India has grown over 7 times in the recent decade. Are Indian's ditching the traditional conception of employment? Quite likely a yes. According to the reports, the number of Indian startups in 2008 lingered around 7000. A 2018 study estimated approximately 50,000 startups in existence across India.
If one was to single out a specific brand or entity that paved way for entrepreneurship in India, it would be Zoho. Then known as AdventNet.inc, Zoho offers productive tools (Document processing, etc.). It began in 1996 and amplified the "startup" trend in India.
Here is a list of some Indian cities that are providing startups and initiatives to the pedestal to grow and make name for themselves. With penetration of more international tech giants, most of these cities are changing into the IT hubs of India.
Startup Hubs in India-
The IT hub and startup capital of India, Bengaluru, has been the womb to big shots like Ola and Flipkart. The city houses various technical and analytical firms, an enticement for budding and established entrepreneurs. Rightly christened as the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore is the perfect amalgamation of corporate lifestyle and vibrant social life. Home to the country’s top technical and managerial institutions (IIM, Bangalore and IISC) and a strong industry connect, there's no shortage of opportunities in this city. It is known as the best city for startups in India.
Even freelancers across the country have an inclination towards working out of Bangalore; such is the lure of the city. Other countries are becoming cognizant of the the strategic significance of this south Indian city—large organizations are adamant on having at least one of their offices in Bangalore. This creates an extensive network highly beneficial to ventures and initiatives seeking support and guidance. On the other hand, startups based out of Bangalore are expanding their operations and services beyond India. With the city in dire need of renovation and re-modelling (lack of space and water issues being some reasons for worry), the inevitable transformation of Bengaluru will open up new avenues for entrepreneurs.
DELHI, GURUGRAM, AND NCR
The center of India commanding a respect of its own, Delhi is the seat of political power and this lends a greater hand to the startup ecosystem flourishing there. Having a strong hold in telecommunication and media, Delhi has been a destination for various entrepreneurship related meetups and conferences, with the Government of India promoting and publicizing a majority of these events.
The close vicinity to Delhi has enabled both Noida and Gurugram to establish themselves as startup hubs. A trade and commerce place historically, Delhi has seen the rise of tech startups such as Hike and Paytm, food tech startups like Zomato, and Shopclues belonging to the e-commerce segment.
With booming infrastructure and ease of business, foreign behemoths like Samsung are exploiting Noida and Gurugram to the fallest; Samsung recently opened the “world’s largest mobile factory” in Noida. These regions entail a huge potential for growth along with a thriving network of investors and entrepreneurs. The presence of centres of excellence like like IIT, DU and IIFT (to name a few) means there's no shortage of expertise.
Check out our exhaustive list of startups in Delhi.
Traditionally known as the city of pearls, this city in Southern India is witnessing a rise in foreign investments and the number of successful startups blossoming on its land. Hyderabad can be called the second IT hub of India after Bangalore. With many international giants like Microsoft, Google, and Uber setting up their offices in Hyderabad, the city is slowly yet steadily catching up with Bengaluru as a startup hub. Top institutes like ISB, IIIT, and BITS being located in Hyderabad is an icing on the cake—alumni from these places are directly incubating their ventures in Hyderabad.
The support from the State Government has encouraged entrepreneurs to make the best out of unrealized opportunities Hyderabad has on offer. The State Government is vesting time and money in organizing and setting up conferences, hackathons, state initiatives, and development centres—everything geared towards making Hyderabad synonymous with entrepreneurship. It is even slackening on policies and procedures to showcase the city as a favorable incubator!
Also read: Startups in Hyderabad
The city of dreams, also the home to some of the world’s wealthiest businessmen, has only recently been dethroned by Bangalore when it comes to India’s favorite startup destination. Mumbai is still the first choice for anyone who is into non-technical startups as it is India's financial capital. One among India's most recognized institutions, IIT Bombay has been instrumental in cultivating the startup ecosystem across the nation, being the birth place of many wildly successful startups. Moreover, alumni from this esteemed college have gone on to make name for themselves across countries through their initiatives. It's a proud feeling to say that many globally recognized brands are the outcomes of the toil put in by IIT Bombay grads and post-grads. It is among the best cities for startups in India.
BookMyShow, JustDial, and Cleartrip are only scratch the surface of the plethora of startups to have emanated from this sea facing city. With conglomerates like L&T and Tata setting up their offices in Mumbai, the financial hub has seen a steep growth in economy, employment, and business. But the rising cost of living and real estate in Mumbai has caused a few unicorn enterprises such as Ola to shift base. In spite of such issues, Mumbai will continue to dominate the entrepreneurship segment, come hell or high water.
Also read: Startups in Mumbai
With big cities gradually losing their shine and attraction, many emerging startups are focusing on tier 2 cities for growth and sustenance. Cities like Ahmedabad, Pune, and Chennai have seen a surge in entrepreneurial activities. Various financial startups from Ahmedabad, software startups from Chennai and Analytics startups from Pune have made it big in the last 3-4 years.
The Government setting up a tech park called GIFT City in Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar, Pune becoming a smart city, and Chennai emerging as a host to entrepreneurial discussions and events—smaller cities are gaining traction.. Cheap land rates, low cost of living, remarkable talent yet to be utilized, and lucrative government policies have made these cities the future of Indian startup ecosystem.
These were the top startup cities in India. Let me know if your city should also be featured in this list.