I am part of the crowd that believes that Bengaluroo is not the silicon valley of India!
Bengaluru has many IT services companies and has probably reached a saturation level that its quite difficult for it to become a valley anymore. The service “culture” has set in and it is difficult to change that aspect of the city.
If not Bengaluroo, Which other city can come close to become a Valley?
The purpose of this post isÂ to have a healthy debate on which city has better prospects of becoming the next silicon valley of India (I am sure there would be one in 2020 :. )We are not going to arrive on a conclusion anytime sooner though !!
Do give a read on Paul Graham’s how to be silicon valley – My humble opinion is that all things mentioned there might not be applicable to Indian culture and setup as such, but attributes like need for “nerd” community and private angels are mandatory as elaborated in the article.
Without debating too much on that article let meÂ jump on to what we have and prospective Silicon Valleys in India.
For me, only 2 cities really come to my mind – Pune and Chennai !
Off late there is a lot of buzz about pune and its growing community of entrepreneurs. Home of returning NRI’s and new IT parks bolsters that assumption. Lets look at some of the positives that could help Pune to gain the next Silicon valley status:
The Pune Positives
- Excellent weather like California
- Its Proximity to the financial Hub – Mumbai
- Small town atmosphere
- Great Tech Community – Pune Open Coffee Club has highest members in India
The Pune Negatives
- Many good Colleges and Universities, but IIT / NIT Missing.
- No previous success stories (may be they are on their way)
- Bad Infrastructure ( Power, Roads, Internet Access etc)
Universities like IIT/NIT have greater exposure to research & funding and have greater chance of finding successful startups. I dont mean to say that other private colleges are not capable of starting one , but first league Universities have a edge. Pune is also in need of a success story to create a reputation for itself.
And most importantly, it needs to get Infrastructure in place, especially required for tech Startups – Decent Power, Internet Access and Infrastructure. Pune is really lagging behind here.
Chennai on the other hand has a bigger student community in and around the IT belt. Guindy Engineering college- Anna university, IIT Madras, Chennai Mathematical institute are around 1-2Km radius from the IT highway. Apart from NRI’s the initial seed of people who will own a startup would probably come from this belt most.
- good student community and popular universities
- lesser hustle & bustle compared to other cities
- cheaper rents and techies compared to other metros
- success stories like ZOHO are making waves already
- The biggest spoiler – Terrible Weather
- To a certain extent Language barrier in day to day living
Pondichery, which is around 1.5 hr drive from IIT-M is also a viable option and an alternative to Chennai’s hot weather. (Do I need to mention the night life there :p)
But, whatever the place , I firmly believe that the “tech community” is the lynchpin in makingÂ a silicon valley. Rest all will followÂ or comparatively easier to bring.
Some of the other places that came to my mind were :
CoimbatoreÂ – Huge no.of Engineering colleges (both in TN and Kerala) around this place. Ooty isÂ about couple of hours away.
AhmedabadÂ Â – Government is taking up a number of initiatives to build a vibrant tech community. It is also a business friendly place. So there is some buzz as of now.
These are just my thoughts, I may not be completely right, but those are my choices of the Next Silicon valley in India.
Whats your take on it?
[This guest post has been authored by our regular reader, Ganesan Vijay]