When it comes to Kolkata, everyone recognizes it as the cultural hub of India, but rarely would anyone agree to accept the city as a startup hub. But, things are changing. Startups in Kolkata are getting a more favourable environment now.
While cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Pune are surely more acknowledged for their innovative tech ventures, the City of Joy is also not far behind in making significant breakthroughs in this area.
Some recent reports indicate a dramatic change in the scheme of things, with the startup ecosystem in the Eastern metropolis improving considerably across various sectors, which were not so vibrant in the past few years. This has changed over the last few years.
The city is recently witnessing a rapid emergence of technology entrepreneurs, investors, and new-generation businessmen, who are trying to bring the wave of innovation into the city like never before.
Right now, there’s a battery of startups that are thriving in Kolkata, and many more are rapidly coming up, driven by fresh initiatives which are briskly aiding the city’s startup boom. Letâ€™s take a closer look at some of the significant factors boosting the startup culture in Kolkata.
NASSCOM Support System for Startups in Kolkata
NASSCOM, a national leader in creating favourable business environment for IT-BPM industries in the country, has launched a “Startup Warehouse” program where entrepreneurs and startups can work together and exchange experiences in a co-working environment. The co-working spaces, being developed under NASSCOM’s 10K startup initiative, offer state-of-the-art infrastructure to budding startups at a very nominal cost.
The first startup warehouse was floated by NASSCOM in Bangalore, followed by Kolkata, in association with the West Bengal government. Supported by Microsoft, Amazon, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Google, and IBM, there are currently eight mobile and web-based app developers operating out of NASSCOM’s Kolkata facility. In fact, the cityâ€™s startups have already started acquiring funds from national and international investors to expand their operations.
IIM-C Startup Incubation Initiative
IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP), a company formed under the patronage of IIM-Calcutta, plans to incubate over 100 startups in the city by 2020. The organization, launched to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in business and research, has recently invested in six Kolkata startups working in different sectors. IIM-Calcutta, under this initiative, intends to support startups in the eastern region with network services, funding, mentoring, and knowledge imparting, which will help these newly-formed businesses to move on to the next level.
West Bengal Government’s New Business Development Support
The West Bengal government is also promoting the state as a prominent centre of startup activities, encouraging the youth to take up entrepreneurship. It is planning to support the educated youth of the state by setting up startup incubation centres that will help them to start their own businesses. The incubation centres, promoted by the State Information & Technology Department, will come up in the WEBEL premises in Saltlake Sector V. The state government of Bengal is also thinking of building a seed capital of rupees hundred crores, which can be utilized to fund the startup businesses. All startup initiatives, including IT-based startups, are eligible to be a part of the state government’s startup incubation program.
Funds, a Problem No More
Calcutta Angels Network (CAN), a company founded in Kolkata two years ago, has introduced an investment of nearly four crores to fund City-based startups. Raghav Kanoria, Pradyumna Dalmia, and Apurva Salarpuria, the founders of CAN, are super optimistic about the growth of startups in the city, as more and more investors are expressing interest to invest in Kolkata startups. It is worth mentioning that Indian Angel Network (IAN), the parent company of Calcutta Angels Network, has already invested ten crores in WOW! Momo, a food startup founded by two Kolkata-based graduates.
Some Promising Start-ups Too have Come up
The city is recently witnessing a rapid emergence of technology entrepreneurs, investors, and new-generation businessmen, who are trying to bring the wave of innovation into the city like never before. Let us give you a glimpse of the budding startup culture of Kolkata with these ten new-age companies born and bred in the city.
A top-notch analytics solution provider, GlobalStat primarily focuses on IoT development, cloud implementations, predictive analytics, machine learning, statistical science, big data, and more. GlobalStat’s solutions have use cases across diverse industries, including healthcare, telecommunications, pharma, banking, and insurance.
Mihup / Nectar
Nectar is a mobile and web consultancy firm, which also has its own flagship app – Mihup – an AI-powered personal mobile assistant, having over 5 million users with a growth rate of nearly 15 percent every month.
What Nfly essentially does is, bridge the gap between qualified candidates and the speedy hiring needs of today’s modern firms. The cutting-edge online recruitment platform mainly focuses on connecting eligible candidates to new job opportunities.
Paydeck is a digital payment platform that enables users to easily send invoices, pay for services, and receive payments. The electronic payment solution allows users to pay with credit cards, irrespective of whether the merchant accepts credit card payments or not.
A one-of-its-kind innovative platform, Surgerica lets users browse and find the best hospitals and doctors across India. The company, which featured in Business Insider, Silicon India, India Today, and BBC News, intends to infuse transparency into the Indian healthcare system.
Joogaru is a virtual assistant and shopping platform that delivers an extensive listing of service providers, retailers, and local shops. Users can avail best deals and discounts on a variety of items ranging from noodles to toothbrushes with a single click.
A web development and UI/UX designing firm, RedElegant specializes in building customized user experiences for top brands. The tech firm also offers its own range of products, including article and video bookmarking tools.
Roovx is a prime developer of smart LED lighting solutions that integrate embedded computing power, intelligent sensors, and a robust software, which reduce energy consumption levels significantly. Roovx smart LED offerings are directly available from the company’s website.
iKureâ€™s wireless healthcare solution has been designed to offer remote healthcare services to rural areas, where health clinics are not readily accessible. The revolutionary system, which operates via a hub-and-spoke model, manages a broad network of rural healthcare workers, who are trained to provide basic healthcare services.
A Promising Future Ahead
Despite a myriad of socio-political and resource-oriented challenges that entrepreneurs have to face, the city’s tech-based startups are nevertheless making a significant headway, attracting the interest of both domestic and international investors, as well as the attention of audiences who are looking to explore the next generation of products and services.
The trend witnessed by the startups in Kolkata definitely marks the beginning of a new era that promises to transform the city into a booming startup hub. A thriving startup sector is also bound to bring the entrepreneurs, investors, and influencers on the same page, which will create new job opportunities for the youngsters of the city, and the country at large.
Whether Kolkata makes it to the top league of tech hubs in India is yet to be seen, but the startup scene of the city is definitely one to watch out for!