Think startup in India and its Bangalore or Gurgaon that come to mind, but of late, the city of Hyderabad is making inroads as a major destination for entrepreneurs in India.
A report by NASSCOM titled Indian Startup Ecosystem Maturing 2016 stated that around 70% of Indian startups are concentrated in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. The state of Telangana was formed in June 2014 – by this time, startups in India were booming with the spotlight solely on these three cities. The capital city of Hyderabad entered the fray in 2014, but has already laid the foundation for a robust startup ecosystem by collaborating with startups, investors, government, and academia.
One of the key factors in the growth of Hyderabad's startups is T-Hub, India’s fastest growing startup engine and the country's largest startup incubator. Spread across 70,000 sq.ft, T-Hub's Catalyst building houses co-working spaces, meeting areas, networking sessions, events and conferences. Srinivas Kollipara, founder and chief operating officer of T-Hub says, “We are taking a holistic view of building a start-up ecosystem.”
T-Hub is fostering innovation and collaboration through three core business outreach programs. The first is the model of selection for startups to work in the building. After careful assessment, T-Hub brings onboard startups best suited to solving real-time issues through technology. The second program is corporate innovation, where T-Hub acts as a conduit between major corporates and startups for better collaboration. “It’s important for corporates to understand the vision of the startups, and equally important for startups to understand the needs of the corporate entities, and accordingly offer its services and solutions,” explains Kollipara.
The third business program is to enable startups to work in the right international markets, and help international start-ups participate in T-Hub’s programs. “We’re building a network of partners in key overseas markets and creating a market access program that would help startups create maximum impact in markets,” he added.
Moreover, T-Hub urges its startups to identify a niche and play to their strengths. According to the India Brand Equity Foundation, pharmaceuticals and information technology are among the leading industries in Telangana. In 2016, export of IT products from the state was valued at $10.42 billion. 20% of India’s pharma exports come from Hyderabad, states the report. Kollipara says T-Hub is working with some disruptive startups in the agri-technology, healthcare, smart cities, transportation and deep tech domains.
Investors bullish on Telangana
Investors admit that didn’t see much opportunity in Telangana until 2014. Now, a strategic approach to developing an ecosystem in addition to government support is lifting the investor confidence greatly. Sanjay Enishetty, managing director and CEO of 50K Ventures, says, “In the past year, we’ve witnessed a surge of core technology companies in Hyderabad, focused on solving real world problems. We’ve invested in four such companies.” He adds that T-Hub has played a major role in enabling inclusion between the entire entrepreneurial community in Hyderabad. Now, there’s a lot of clarity among startups pertaining to product development to solve critical issues, due to which investors feel bullish about Hyderabad.