Some days back when I was travelling to Bhubaneswar I happened to meet a person who is currently incubated in Bangalore based SELCO Incubation Center that works in the field of Clean-Tech. He was in Bhubaneswar to look for opportunities for business. According to him, Bhubaneswar is now in the phase into which Bangalore was, in the early 1990s.
After Tier 1 cities like Bangalore, Delhi –NCR, Hyderabad and Chennai, smaller cities like Cochin, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur and Indore are emerging as the new start-up hubs of India. Since the last decade, Bhubaneswar has seen sprawling growth of Startups. Tatwa Technologies was founded by Mr A.K Mohanty and Tapendra Senapati in 2002 as an IT services company, now Tatwa Technologies has ventured into Business Technology Services, Mobility & m-Commerce solutions. HelloDoctor24x7 Pvt Ltd was founded in 2010 by Sanjay Das is a teleconsultation company that connects specialist doctors with the patients. Incubated in KIIT-TBI, it raised 20 Lakh Seed fund from Angel Investors. It has also been awarded the Best Private Sector Initiative of the year and 2nd Prize in E-Health Private sector Initiative category in 2010. To name some of the Bhubaneswar based promising startups are: AMOKart, Medioctor, SlickAccount and SakRobotix. The Startup Journal is also headquartered in Bhubaneswar.
Some key factors that make Bhubaneswar a startup paradise are its closeness to the world-class educational institutes and research environment, comparatively lower operational cost and exposure to the global markets. The emergence of IT giants like Infosys, Mindtree and TCS in Bhubaneswar also acts as a catalyst for the fast-growing startup culture in the city. The young generation in Bhubaneswar has understood the value of self-employment and is willing to take the risk with a lot of enthusiasm. This year the World Bank has ranked Bhubaneswar as the best place to do business in India.
“Bhubaneswar acts as a great destination to start and validate customers. Having a limited and curated demand, the cash burn would be lower, facilitating stability of business model to enter Tier-1 cities,” says Amlan Patnaik, facilitator for Startup Weekend in Bhubaneswar.
Other responsible elements for the growing number of startups in Bhubaneswar are government support and encouragement. KIIT-TBI is an initiative of KIIT University and is supported by government organizations like MSME, and DST (Department of Science and Technology). It is recognized as a TBI (Technology Business Incubator) in 2008 by the National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB). It has a wide network with all the TBIs of the country and international links with AABI (Asia Pacific), European UKBI and US NBIA.
The current focus of KIIT-TBI is in the field of Pharma-Biotech, Bioinformatics, Exploitive Microbiology, Agri-tech & Information Technology, Robotics and other Electronics & Engineering based technology. The facilities of the incubated startups include office space, high-speed Internet, basic utility auditorium, conference room, library and meeting space.
Roboticswares P Ltd, an incubated company founded by Mr Gautam Kumar has been awarded the Young Innovators Award at EmTech India 2011, by MIT’s Tech review magazine. The startup has also been featured in the article “50 Start-Ups to bet on” in the DARE magazine. He was also recognized as Super Achiever at India leadership Summit in 2012.
The state government of Odisha has dedicated a support scheme to promote entrepreneurship. It launched the Odisha Youth Innovation Fund to encourage entrepreneurship among youths with innovative ideas. It has a total deposit of Rs 2 Crore. The deserving innovators will be rewarded with Rs 50000 for new ideas and Rs 1 Lakh for any demonstrative technology.
The Temple City is also home to a customer base which is maturing at a fast pace and is willing to try new ideas and concepts. Realizing the market potential big startups like Olacabs, Uber, Meru and FoodPanda have extended their operations to Bhubaneswar in past years.
Varun Mundkur, City Manager for Uber in Bhubaneswar says,
“We have launched on 2nd July and have seen a tremendous response both from riders who use our platform and partner drivers who wish to associate with us. The response has truly been overwhelming and surpassed our expectations.”
From the developments and incidents that are taking place in the startup ecosystem of Bhubaneswar, we can anticipate its emergence as the next major startup hub of India.
What’s your take on this?