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An introduction to the startup ecosystem:
Hyderabad, a city in the South of India, is known for its biryani, pearls and heritage. In recent times, it is being talked about for a new reason. It is the wave of entrepreneurship that has hit the city in the last few years.
India is the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem and Hyderabad did not want to be left behind. The city is a thriving hotspot for information technology (IT) startups with several of them making it big! Such is the euphoria that graduate students no longer want to pick up a well-paying job but prefer to start up. In StartupBlink’s 2019 report, Hyderabad is ranked 5th in India and 75th globally.
There are a plethora of resources to help one start up in Hyderabad. You have mentors to guide you pro-bono, angel investors that you can reach relatively easily, startup events happening on a regular basis to educate entrepreneurs, startup fests that expose one to the amazing world of entrepreneurship, coworking spaces that promote thriving communities and incredibly helpful peers who go out of their way to make you succeed!
Startups that made it big in Hyderabad:
Let’s look at a few of the extremely successful startups that grew out of Hyderabad:
NumberMall (@NumberMall): They offers online services for bill payment and ticketing in association with small retailers. The startup is a revenue-generation stream for merchants. Using it, merchants can earn additional revenues by offering value added services such as data cards, bill payments and phone recharges to their customers. NumberMall raised $10Mn in a seed round in January this year.
Customfurnish (@CustomFurnish1): Customfurnish provides users with a designing tool that lets them customise their furniture and review the same in real time. The delivery and installation is faster than it takes offline. Customfurnish raised $2.5Mn in seed funding from various angels in March 2015.
Mapmygenome (@mapmygenomein): Using state-of-the-art technology, Mapmygenome decodes and understand an individual’s DNA and provides actionable steps towards a healthier life. The company raised $1.1Mn in Seed Funding from various investors in March this year.
TalentSprint (@talentsprint): A skill development and talent management company, it was acquired by Bangalore-based Java Learning Center (JLC), for an undisclosed amount.
TalentSprint had previously raised $4Mn in Series A from Nexus Venture Partners in April 2012.
Zippr (@ZiPPRd): The app allows its users to shorten their address into a short code. This can then be shared in the form of a link.
It raised $982K in Seed Funding from Indian Angel Network in October 2014.
Why should you launch a startup in Hyderabad?
Cosmopolitan Culture: Hyderabad is known for being one of the prime IT destinations of India, besides Bengaluru. Over the years, the city had been very welcoming to population influx from other states and countries, giving it a cosmopolitan nature.
Ease of Doing Business: Hyderabad has been consistently ranked as the No.1 city for ease of doing business in India over the years. It’s easy to start and easy to shut shop in Hyderabad.
Cheap Real Estate: Hyderabad has the lowest real estate prices when compared to other top cities across the world. For an entrepreneur, that is lower establishment costs.
A Thriving Ecosystem: Hyderabad’s startup ecosystem is bustling with coworking spaces, accelerators, entrepreneur programs, startup fests and so on. It’s always good to be in the eye of the storm.
Over and above that, Hyderabad is a great destination for food, culture and heritage. The people around are helpful and friendly and can make your entrepreneurial journey a memorable one!
Some drawbacks of the Hyderabad startup ecosystem:
Still Growing: Hyderabad’s startup culture is still growing and is relatively nascent as compared to other metropolitan cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi. So, you sometimes tend to face bottlenecks which are commonplace in a new system.
Recent State Bifurcation: A few months, a new, 29th state was carved out in India called Telangana from the former Andhra Pradesh. Hyderabad, remains a common capital for the two states for 10 years to come. This turmoil scared many to move the business to other peaceful states but the region is falling back to normalcy.
Lack of Proper Access to Mentors: Mentors do exist as part of the Hyderabad startup ecosystem but it is often tough to find the right channel to reach them. Efforts are being made to streamline this process.
Key players of Hyderabad startup ecosystem:
Here’s a list of players who make a considerable impact on the Hyderabad startup ecosystem –
Accelerators & Incubators:
Based out of BITS Pilani, one of India’s best private technical schools, the Technology Business Incubator started in 2013 and has incubated over 12 startups, mostly founded by its faculty and students. TBI also offers virtual incubator program for outsiders.
The International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Hyderabad manages an incubator center known as the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) on campus. The CIE is open for all.
Set up by Indian School of Business (ISB), DLabs is focused on fostering innovation and strengthening entrepreneurship. Its selected ventures receive mentorship, guidance and research expertise from ISB.
Co.Lab.Orate Coworking (@Lets_Colaborate)
Hyderabad’s first community coworking space started in October 2014, it caters to entrepreneurs, startups, freelancers, travelers, artists, writers and students. The space takes pride in adhering to the values of community, openness, collaboration, accessibility, and sustainability. Their focus is more on building a great community around entrepreneurship through quality events and workshops while at the same time providing economical workspace.
Collab House (@CollabH)
A space for individuals and organisations to co-create businesses and build on their skills, Collab House, aims to build a collaborative community. In addition to being a co-working space, it also conducts workshops and events.
They provide affordable workspace in a flexible plug and play format so that entrepreneurs can focus on their business. A relatively new entrant into the Hyderabad market, 91 Springboard has been operating out of other cities like Delhi and Gurgaon before.
Parampara Funds is experienced in the fields of finance, operations management and technology. They provide entrepreneurs with guidance and mentorship in crucial areas of starting up.
SRI Capital is the investment fund of Sashi redi, an active ange investor. The investments range from $50,000 to $500K. Some of the companies tha fund has invested in include numbermall.com, Shephertz.com, hellocurry.in, yupptv.com, bank-smarts.com and imomentous.com.
He is a seasoned investor, havng delivered brilliant quality products across areas such as mobile games, digital content, motion pictures and web applications. He is the MD of Flexeye IT Services and is also a TiE Charter member.
The founder and CEO of Meraevents, he is looked up to by various startups and organisations as a mentor. He has 18 years of entrepreneurial success and experience. He provies support and guidance to many budding entrepreneurs.
Ravi Korukonda (@RaviKorukonda)
COO and co-founder of PurpleTalk, he is closely involved in Hyderabad’s startup ecosystem, working with various platforms as well as the government. His current company develops new digital properties.
Startup Events that happen in Hyderabad:
There are numerous events that happen around the city on a regular basis. Some of the most prominent and noteworthy events are as follows:
Startup Saturday: Held on the second Saturday of every month, Startup Saturday is an initiative by HEADSTART network. It is a forum for the entrepreneurial community to come together on a monthly basis to meet, interact, learn and network.
The August Fest: The August Fest is India’s Largest Startup Conference that celebrates arts & entrepreneurship! You get a chance to meet founders of million dollar startups, interact with investors and launch your product too. Held in the month of August every year, it has only been getting bigger and better.
Devthon: The platform was developed by PiSutra Labs in an attempt to solve challenges and build prototypes. Mentors and facilitators help the participants to improve their outcomes.
Startup Crawls: Startup Crawls in an initiative of Co.Lab.Orate Coworking, where you get a chance to interact with the founders of successful startups in their own premises. Aspiring entrepreneurs get a never before chance to visit the offices of funded companies and have lunch with the CXOs.
About the Author
Raghuveer Kovuru plays a regular and prominent role in the Hyderabad startup ecosystem. He is the cofounder of Co.Lab.Orate Coworking, Hyderabad’s first community coworking space and interacts with startups and entrepreneurs on a daily basis.
He is also a startup consultant and helps entrepreneurs from countries like England, Bolivia, Curacao, Australia, Qatar and India in the areas of innovation, finance and strategy. He is currently working on developing a Startup Retreat program for entrepreneurs across India through which they will get a chance to network, interact, learn and have fun.
You can reach Raghu at email@example.com