Has Hyderabad got what it takes to become the next cover story of Indian startup boom?
The roundtable in Hyderabad weighed in on the all important question of what the city has to offer startups and whether it is on the path of developing an ecosystem.
At The Economic Times Power of Ideas roundtable in Hyderabadon Tuesday, the discussion centered on what the city has to offer startups and whether it is on the path of developing an ecosystem to nurture entrepreneurship.
The Economic Times Power of Ideas roundtables are being held across eight cities this month in association with Jio, Department of Science & Technology and IIMAhmedabad’s Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE). While it may be important to have access to the wisdom of seasoned entrepreneurs and investors on tap, anyone wanting to start a venture should not be discouraged by the lack of a support system, panelists said.
"People often complain about (limited) access to capital, mentorship or talent in Hyderabad. These are not deterrents to being an entrepreneur," said Jay Krishnan, chief executive of the Telangana government’s incubator for early-stage startups, Technology-Hub (T-Hub).
A serial entrepreneur himself, Krishnan said startups in Hyderabad will shortly be able to access space and infrastructure and have opportunity to raise capital when the T-Hub becomes operational in October.
"The fact that we do not have venture capitalists chasing us is good for companies on stealth mode (so) you can build up the product," said Jasminder Singh Gulati, the cofounder and CEO of technology platform NowFloats, which helps small businesses set up online store fronts using a text messaging system. The company raised an undisclosed amount in its first round of institutional funding in February.
Sulakshan Kumar, CEO of MySmartPrice, and Rajiv Chilaka, founder and managing director of Green Gold Animation and creator of the Chhota Bheem cartoon character, were among the panelists.
Hyderabad has grabbed attention recently for startup activity. MySmartPrice raised $10 million in a Series-B funding round from existing investors Accel Partners. And online cab aggregator Uber has committed to invest $50 million in the city over the next five years.
"Despite the opportunity available here, what startups miss is the thrill of comparison with other players and advice and grooming on how to take their ventures ahead," said Harish Raichandani, founder and CEO at organisation development and human resource company Potentia.