Sunday, 23 August 2015

Coimbatore - New Start up Capital

Move over Bangalore, Coimbatore is the new start up capital

The silicon valley of India, Bangalore is too noisy and and perhaps even over-hyped. We aren't saying this, but the start ups based out of that region allege as much. So, what are they doing about the situation? A few of them are quietly shifting their base from Bangalore to Coimbatore to avoid the hullaballoo of the state capital and focus on quality. Some of them include Dhruv Kumar of online medical advice platform, iCliniq who shifted to Coimbatore 3 years ago after his 2 year stint in Bangalore.

"I wanted to be out of all the noise and focus on building a quality product," said Kumar. "There are events all the time and the place is flooded with funding stories. Those days, we thought we were a tech startup and did not focus enough on the health and business side."

A much-focussed development and the wait for the product to mature have been rewarding for him. iCliniq now has more than 1,000 doctors on its platform and they have so far addressed tens of thousands of health issues. It gets a large portion of revenue from the US and Europe.

"Entrepreneurs are celebrated in Coimbatore," the 27-year-old told ET, cheerfully. The cotton-growing region saw its first industries in ginning and moved on to make garments, machinery, automobile and many ancillary products. It is often called the 'Manchester of South India', drawing comparison with the first industrial city.

Several young entrepreneurs like Kumar, who started up in Bengaluru are shifting to Coimbatore. Do-PartTime, a part-time job discovery portal, is another example and one of the reasons for the shift was talent retention. "Every company has a dynamic workforce, which frequently shifts, and a static workforce with loyalty. In a place like Coimbatore, the teams stick around," said Kumar.

Coimbatore has pleasant weather conditions like Bengaluru and is seeing its fair share of startup activity. The Coimbatore chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), a non-profit consortium that promotes entrepreneurship, has identified 47 active startups.

One of the catalysts for them is the educational institutions in the region that have helped establish a sound technical ecosystem, TiE-Coimbatore President Selvakumar said.

There are five incubation centres in and around the city, almost all of them set up by a technical education institution. PSG STEP, the incubation arm of PSG Institute of Technology, was established in 1998, much before any other college, including IIM Ahmedabad, did so.

The centre incubates startups in IT, electronics and mechanical streams from Coimbatore. NanoTechnolgy was added to the list recently.

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