Memos from Asia

Indian Cities and Their Startup Ecosystem

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Till the end of the 19th century, India was the world’s top 2 biggest GDPs together with China. That was because Indian products like spices, cloths, teas, Jutes etc were world-famous and was in high demand across the world. India always had a rich entrepreneur history and Indians were always great merchants and innovators. So, no doubt in 21st-century mushrooming startup scenario, India is one of the hotspots of the revolution going on.

Indian cities are some of the most productive global hotspots in terms of startups. Recently, overall India ranked 23rd [1] out of 100th, when it comes to startup ecosystem quality ranking. In terms of volume, India is home of the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem. In Asia Pacific region, India ranked 6th after Taiwan.[2] 38 Indian cities were among top 1000 startup cities in the world, which is 3rd after USA and UK. In 2019 alone, Indian startups raised a total of $14.5 billion, which is an astronomically large number.

Indian startups are very much part of the game. With extensive tie-ups with American startups and financing from Asian and American giants, Indian startups are solving a complex global problem. The problems which Indian startups are solving are global, in the senses which are for the developed world and developing world. All this is helped by a strong pool of STEM professionals from prestigious Indians colleges and a culture of taking risk while solving complex global problems.

Overall Indian startup raised a total of $4.16 billion in equity funding in the first half (H1) of 2020.[3] The Indian startup scene is quite diverse as well with startups on space exploration, military tech, artificial intelligence, retails, telecom, Edutech, e-commerce etc all are breaking funding barriers.


Bangalore Skyline at business zone, India

Bangalore is known as Silicon Valley of India. It hosts many multi-billion dollar worth of startups. Bangalore is India’s best place to start your own technology business [4]. It has all the ingredients for starting a successful startup. With the right talent and good climate, Bangalore is known for its easy access to university across the state it is situated. It’s the hub for nurturing high-growth soonicorns.

Consider this, India has about 32 unicorns, of which Bangalore alone accounts for 14[5]. Bengaluru is home to unicorns such as Flipkart (now owned by Walmart), Ola, Swiggy, Bigbasket, Byju’s, and Udaan to name a few, which has had a positive effect on other ambitious startups in high-growth mode.

Delhi NCR

Under construction skyscraper shot at dusk in gurgaon, noida, lucknow, jaipur, mumbai, gurugram NCR. These housing and office buildings for real estate are being developed to house the ever increasing population

Delhi NCR is a region which is not just New Delhi, the capital city of India but also cities like Gurgaon, Noida, Gaziabad, Faridabad etc. This region is the economic neck of India as Mumbai is India’s with a nominal GDP of $300 billion.

No doubt this region is also the hub of many Indian startups and ranks seconds in terms of startup infrastructure in India. From past three consecutive half-year periods, Delhi-NCR topped overall funding to startups. Startups based in the city raised $1.76 billion in equity funding in H1 2020, which is 2.44 percent higher than the same period in 2019 [6]. The region gained a total of 123 startups in the last 6 months, probably one of the highest in India. Institutions like TiE Delhi-NCR are helping startups extensively.


In frame: From Lower Parel to Nariman Point, from Lalbaug to Haji Ali.

Mumbai is India’s financial capital and recently when it comes to startups it is solidly 3rd in the list. In the last 6 months, it has raised a total of $0.41 billion. It’s also a great place to get funding for your startup and last 6 months 79 of Mumbai’s startup received funding by FII’s.

Other cities are not far behind

As already mentioned, 38 Indian cities got selected among 1000 world cities which are a hub for startups and innovation around the world. India is shining brightly when it comes to startups.

Other Indian cities which are doing great when it comes to startups are Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune, Indore, Jaipur, Surat etc. The startup scene in India is diverse and broad. Many aspirational Indians are trying to make it big.

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