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The Thriving Startup Ecosystems of Southern India: Bengaluru, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana Whether you are in Fintech, Life Sciences, Robotics, AgriTech, AI, or Clean Tech, these states of India provide a fertile environment for entrepreneurs to grow

By Paromita Gupta

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India's startup ecosystem has flourished over the past decade. With 1,17,254 Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) recognized startups as of 31st December 2023, the country continues to climb the startup-friendly country ladder.

Notably, India has the 3rd largest startup ecosystem in the world. Amid the likes of Silicon Valley, Shanghai, Zürich, and Copenhagen as the world's leading IT hubs, 4 South Indian states are competing on the global.

Bengaluru, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and newly developing tech powerhouse Telangana—offer supportive and dynamic environments for startups to grow with strong government policies, skilled talent pools, and established infrastructure. Whether you are in Fintech, Life Sciences, Robotics, AgriTech, AI, or Clean Tech, these states of India provide a fertile environment for entrepreneurs to grow.

Recently, Startup Genome launched a report 'Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2024' in collaboration with the Global Entrepreneurship Network. It has studied global companies and ranked the top 40 Global ecosystems and top 100 emerging ecosystems—read the full story to learn Indian states' global position.

Bengaluru: India's Silicon Valley

Bengaluru is not just a city; it is a powerhouse of innovation and technology. It has ranked 21st globally for Startup Ecosystems under the top 40 Global Ecosystems. It has created USD 158 billion in Ecosystem Value.

This Indian Silicon Valley is the home to more than 80 percent of global IT offices, contributing 40 per cent to India's IT exports—valued at an astounding USD 76 billion annually. With 43 Unicorns like Zerodha, Cred, and Flipkart, the city is one of the favorites for venture capital, having established itself in the top 10 globally for funding.

The sectors including Fintech, Life Sciences, and CleanTech are booming in the state. Ola Electric and Ather Energy are revolutionizing the clean Tech segment along with them HealthifyMe and PlasmaGen Biosciences are breaking boundaries in health tech.

Additionally, the city is known for its renowned institutions such as IISC and IIM-B, additionally, it produces 90,000 engineering graduates every year. Along with this, the state government launched policies such as the Karnataka Startup Policy 2022-27 and the establishment of a 100-acre Technology Innovation Park.

"The Government of Karnataka is committed towards making Bengaluru the best place for founders to start and scale their businesses through conducive policies by the state government," said Dr. Ekroop Caur, I.A.S, Secretary to Government, Department of Electronics Information Technology Biotechnology and Science & Technology.

Kerala: The Green Startup Oasis

Kerala is emerging as a dynamic player in the entrepreneurial scene in India with thriving hubs like Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. As per the report, the state recorded a 15 per cent increase in its startup funding–raised USD 33.2 million in 2023. The reason behind this booming growth is the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) which aims to transform Kerala into a Deep Tech city with policies—a USD 180 million Technocity project.

According to the report, sectors including Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics, AI, Big Data & Analytics, and Life Sciences are changing the face of the city. Also, the introduction of the Kairali AI Chip and the launch of India's first Digital Science Park underscore the city's solid commitment to developing advanced technologies.

"Building on Kerala's dynamic Startup ecosystem that drives the forefront of transformative innovations, we are now pivoting towards Deep Tech, investing in talent and infrastructure to nurture groundbreaking startups in advanced technologies", said Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister, Kerala.

Tamil Nadu: The Industrial Innovator

Tamil Nadu is known as the second wealthiest state by GDP and the most industrialized and is now also thriving in entrepreneurial activities—ranked as 21-30 emerging startup ecosystem. The state registered more than 8,583 startups and significant VC investments in the forecasted period. The state is thriving in Deep Tech, SaaS, and Fintech.

Additionally, the state's Startup Policy 2023 aims to establish 15,000 startups by 2032, supported by its excellent infrastructure and a skilled talent pool. Initiatives like the IIT Madras Research Park and the upcoming Tamil Nadu Knowledge City exemplify the state's commitment to innovation.

"Tamil Nadu is marching towards a USD 1 trillion economy 2030 vision and our startups and innovators are playing an impeccable role in this journey. We are nurturing the startup culture in the nook and corner of the state in alignment with our aim for an innovation-driven economy that ensures socio-economic growth," said Thiru T.M. Anbarasan, Honorable Minister, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Department.

Telangana: The New Age Tech Powerhouse

India's newest state, Telangana, has established its footprints in the tech landscape—ranked 41-50 as an emerging startup ecosystem in the report. Its capital city Hyderabad is home to more than 7,500 startups. Initiatives such as T-Hub have led the tremendous growth of more than 2,000 startups and managed to raise nearly USD 2 billion in various investments.

The state is booming in various advanced technologies such as Agtech & New Food, Life Sciences, and AI, Big Data & Analytics. Additionally, the Telangana government has policies and innovations such as the upcoming Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Technology Hub and the global AI summit in Hyderabad. Along with this, states' tax incentives make it a top destination for startups.

"Hyderabad's transformation from 200 startups in 2014 to over 7,500 today showcases Telangana's focus on fostering an ecosystem for entrepreneurs. T-Hub catalyzed this growth by empowering startups in their journey with resources, investors, mentors, and support systems" said Mahankali Srinivas Rao (MSR), CEO, T-Hub.

Paromita Gupta

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer with Entrepreneur India

Covering news and trends in AI and Metaverse segments. An avid book reader running her personal blog on the side. You may reach me at paromita@entrepreneurindia.com. 
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