India is fast emerging as a startup nation. In just over a decade, it has become one of the top 20 ecosystems in the world, sports unicorns and has startups developing solutions that are not only used in the local markets, but also used worldwide. It is a global hub attracting startups, corporates, investors and government bodies to create innovation for the world.
To support the startup and innovation ecosystem in India, Techstars is launching the Techstars Bangalore Accelerator. Techstars Bangalore will support innovative startups across many sectors, stages and business models (B2B/B2C).
I am excited and looking forward to working with innovative startups and founders who are building next generation solutions for the local and global markets.
As the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, we believe we can help realize the potential in India by connecting with our global network of mentors, founders and investors.
Applications are now open for Techstars Bangalore. Apply today.
India is not just a country, but an innovation gateway for the next 5 billion!
India is not just one country but a mini continent. And technology is helping the country leapfrog and positively impact the socio-economic landscape. Startups are the center of this transformation. To understand this a little more, consider the fundamental shifts happening across the country.
India is a country of 1.3 billion people, with around 900 mil of them experiencing the “mobile only” world for the first time. This provides a rich and diverse canvas for innovation as India is not just one country but a mini continent. There are 22 official languages, and 400-500 regional ethnic sects. In this environment, “scale” has a very different meaning. The template for innovation here is unique and different, and India serves as an innovation gateway for the next 5 billion people who are leapfrogging into the technologically connected world.
India has about 150-200 million (3/4th of the US) people who are globally mobile and live in the cities. They have the same preferences and habits as any in the western world. Alongside this, there are 300-400 million (a little over the size of US) who live in Tier-2 cities. They understand English but prefer their local languages. They are aspirational and fast embracing mobile and internet. They are the mobile only users who are driving online consumption and next generation models. Next to them is another 700-900 mil (twice the size of the US) people who live in the rural villages and have started getting access to technology in the past three years. This segment of the population lives in a highly constrained environment with lack of access to healthcare, education, financial systems and have limited social and economic mobility. Technology and innovation have the potential to dramatically impact this segment and shape a better future.
India has a unique combination of domestic corporates, over 1000+ Fortune 2000 multinational companies, global system integrators, and government bodies looking at partnering with startups to accelerate innovation.
I moved back to India from the bay area in mid 2000s. At that time, the Indian startup ecosystem could have easily fitted into a large conference room. In a short span of 10 odd years, it grew significantly.
Having built multiple startups and mentoring many more in India, I believe that we have solved the question of volume of startups in the ecosystem – there are over 5000+ tech startups with 1500 being added every year. There is a positive mindshare around startups, and good supporting ecosystem of investors and ecosystem players.
The constraint, however, has now shifted to “value” – which can be characterized as:
Path to market – There is limited access to local, regional and global markets. Startups find it difficult to build traction.
Product depth – Startups need to focus on building innovations that are narrow but go significantly deeper to solve a problem than light-weight solutions that stitch something together in a novel way.
This is where Techstars can really help the Indian ecosystem. Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. It can bring its decades of experience helping startups and founders globally in 100+ countries. Its 1500+ founder network, 10,000+ mentor network and corporate partnerships bring a powerful ensemble that can help Indian startups up level – both in terms of path to market and in building world class quality.
And in this process, Techstars too will gain in understanding how next generation entrepreneurship works. India is a gateway to innovation for the next six billion users in emerging economies. Innovation in this environment of constraints, cultural diversity and scale is unique and requires a different approach.
This complementary synergy – that of Techstars global experience combined with India’s massive canvas of innovating for the next six billion is powerful.
This is why I’m pleased to be joining the Techstars network as President of Techstars India. I believe that we are embarking on an exciting journey together.
Techstars India will be innovating in areas aligned to startups, corporates and talent.
India’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is unique in multiple ways
This ecosystem is now one of the top 20 in the world, sports few unicorns and has solutions that are not only used in the local markets, but are also used worldwide. Entrepreneurs’ confidence has grown from building solutions that are adaptations of models elsewhere, to building unique and relevant solutions to the problems and opportunities of India.
Tech Resource Scale: Over one and half million engineering graduates come out of colleges every year. With a young demographic (the median age is 28), the headroom for talent availability is significant.
Developer ecosystem: Over three million developers (second only to the US) are available and this number is growing.
Corporate ecosystem: There is a strong mix of software R&D, system integration, and startup companies, creating a unique opportunity for collaboration to create innovative solutions.
Large (open) domestic market: With over 1.3 billion population, it has a large and growing domestic market. Over 700 million people are getting technology access via smartphones and data, making it a fast growing market for tech enabled products and solutions.
Global startups: India also has a growing pool of startups going global. Almost 40% of all new startups are focused on selling globally.
If you are interested to know more about any of the programs in India or if you would like explore partnership with Techstars, please connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.