Far from the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan cities, tier-2 cities like Indore, Bhubanswar, Kochi etc are undergoing a burgeoning change to emerge as the next biggest startup hubs of the country.
Madhya Pradesh, the second largest state by area has been trying hard for a long time now to establish itself as the next startup destination. Despite minimal government support, private organizations in the state have successfully established incubators, funding groups and other supporting system for the emerging startups. Over the last two years, local startup groups like Indore Entrepreneur Network and Indore Startup Community have spring up to keep the spirit going. Recently, NEN which is supported by the Wadhani Foundation has established a centre for excellence in partnership with Acropolis, group of education institutions in Indore.
Indore Entrepreneurship Network is a startup chapter of the early-stage startups which helps aspiring entrepreneurs to connect to mentors and investors in their domains by organizing monthly seminars and workshops.
Data says that Madhya Pradesh houses as many as 500 startups, majority of them being based in cities like Indore, Bhopal etc. After e-commerce, the startups here are mainly focused in IT and service category. The government of Madhya Pradesh collaborated with the SIDBI to set up a VC fund in the state amounting to INR 200 Cr, with INR 75 Cr being provided by the state government itself.
While Indore has still not been successful enough to get hold of VC’s sight, local businesses have shown extreme interests in terms of investments. According to Jatin Chaudhary, co-founder of eChai Ventures, “The big difference we saw in Indore and other cities we go to is that most of the ventures giving the demo were already funded.” He further adds, “Some are also funded by families and friends.”
eChai is a social network of entrepreneurs which operates both online and offline to help fellow entrepreneurs to connect through various networking events and workshops. Entrepreneurs can share their insights, have discussions and help each other to succeed in their respective ventures.
Indore also comes with the advantage of housing the most prestigious institutions of the country, IIT and IIM Indore. While IIM Indore is planning to come up with an incubator within the next 12 months, both the institutions keep holding events regularly to attract the budding entrepreneurs.
“We are interested in supporting the entrepreneurial ambitions of students,” says D L Sunder, professor of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship, IIM Indore. Mr Sunder along with nine other faculty members will be mentoring students who want to convert their ideas into reality.
Let us look at some of the startups flourishing in the heart of the city to be recognized as the next biggest startups of the country.
An auto rickshaw pooling startup which is essentially an aggregator service provider on the lines of carpooling, it aims to initiate standardization of a highly fragmented transportation channel in India to ensure safety, transparency, affordability and availability to the urban public.
Founded in 2013 by Karanvir Singh, TeleRickshaw provides door-to-door connectivity of auto rickshaws through its special portal “auto-on-call”. The startup claims that all the rides booked through them are safe because they have taken the auto rickshaws on board only after collecting complete details and past records of the drivers. The company has seen an exponential growth of auto rickshaws from 50 to more than 5000. It also provides GPS and panic button in the auto rickshaws to ensure safety of its customers. Telerickshaw charges a commission per journey.
Vatsana Technologies has successfully created innovative products like FollowMe247 and Evrystry to make life easy. It was started in a college hostel room by Shashank Vaishnav, Viany Sinhal and Praveen Singhal in 2010. While FollowMe247 is a cloud enabled, hierarchy based instant information sharing application, Evrystry is a platform which allows users to share and crowdsource their stories with other users present on the platform.
Founded in January 2016 by Aditi Chaurasia, Avdhesh Solanki and Mayank Pratap, MotorBabu operates through an app which helps users to find service centres nearby. It also provides the facility to its users to book bikes and cars without any hassle. They aim to increase transparency and easy availability in the process. MotorBabu is currently bootstrapped.
My Child App
Founded in January 2015 by Harsh Songra, My Child App helps parents to identify developmental disorders in their child at an early stage within just 45 seconds. The app is a one-stop solution which monitors the growth of a child who is between 11 to 24 months. The app also recommends doctors specializing in particular fields for further treatments and diagnosis.
Founded in January 2015 by Shraddha Khandelwal, Garima Piryani and Geeta Hablani, Bindaaskart is an online medical assistance company which mainly targets patients suffering from chronic diseases like Thyroid, heart disease, Diabetes etc. It has already served 318 families till date and is also generating profits through their operations every month, as said by the founders.
The Optimistic Citizen
Founded in the year 2014, The Optimistic Citizen is a very innovative and optimistic startup aiming to present only positive news to its readers. Their basket is huge and contains stories starting from motivation to stories of unsung heroes and acts of courage and achievements. It is a one stop solution to gain practical motivation without any deviation and interference from the external world. It claims itself to be world’s first “open source good newspaper” where citizens can come and connect to each other for positivity. Presently, its print version has readers across Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmadabad, Chennai and Bhopal.
Despite several startups blooming in the city, Indore has still not come up with a lot of accelerators or other facilities that entrepreneurs in large cities typically enjoy. “Until now, even if there was an incubator, there was no pipeline of startups,” as pointed out by Marlina Ramchandran of the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN). In terms of numbers, Indore, a potential startup hub, is still lagging behind according to Ramchandran who points out that the city has a little over 100 startups to its name.
Indore is also infamous for lacking the real entrepreneurship spirit which can prove to be a big challenge if it wants to flourish as the next startup destination after cities like Bangalore, Delhi etc. where the startup zeal is already enjoying its prime time.
What are your views regarding the startup ecosystem in Indore? Do let us know by commenting below.
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