Digital co-working spaces are coming up fast in India, especially in tech hubs like Bangalore, Gurgaon, and Kochi. But five Indian startups still came away starry-eyed after a week’s visit to Media City and The Landing in Manchester, UK.
Senthil Kanthaswamy, co-founder of Chennai-based startup Frilp, explains why to Tech in Asia: The Landing is unique since it has a combination of academia (University of Manchester), media, design, and tech companies in one holistic ecosystem where startups can collaborate with one another across domains. It also has one of the fastest internet connections in the world with Manchester being the internet gateway of the UK. This makes it easy for the companies there to serve clients in other geographies.””
Indian startups have generally looked to Silicon Valley for inspiration, investment, and collaboration. But other opportunities to go global are opening up now. Last July, the UK-based TechHub, a community of entrepreneurs, opened a Bangalore chapter. It recently partnered with iSPIRT (Indian Software Product Industry Round Table) and the Indian Angel Network to invite submissions from fast-growing Indian startups. The prize was a mantle of ‘Great Tech Rocketships’ and a networking trip to the UK.
Five startups were picked out of 289 eligible ones that applied. For Stewart Noakes, co-founder of TechHub Bangalore, it was a validation of coming to India to attract talent. “We have been overwhelmed with the enthusiastic response of so many high-caliber startups from across the country,” he says. Kumar Iyer, director general of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), which supported the initiative, adds: “Choosing the best five was not easy. The journey does not end here, however, as we take our winners forward globally.”
Here are the five startups that made the trip to The Landing in Manchester:
Incubated at the Startup Village near Kochi in Kerala, Agrima Infotech builds robots, apps, and AI products. Founded by three techie friends, Anoop Balakrishnan, Nikhil Dharman, and Arun Ravi, it already counts IBM, Microsoft, and Blackberry among its clients.
This Chennai-based IT services company has domain expertise in financial services, ecommerce, healthcare, and education. It serves clients globally, with offices in the US, UK, and India. But for its co-founder Balaraman Jayaraman, the Manchester visit was an eye-opener. “We were blown away by what we saw at The Landing,” he says.
This social platform uses advanced algorithms to suggest shops and services based on recommendations from friends and family. Founded by Shyam Anandaraman and Senthil Kanthaswamy in Chennai, it has a roster of tech wizards who previously worked at Amazon, Cognizant, and Goldman Sachs. Girish Mathrubootham, founder of Freshdesk and one of India’s iconic entrepreneurs, is an angel investor in the startup.
The Bangalore-based Talview enables recruiters to conduct video interviews of candidates. It has offices and clients in the US, Singapore, and India, and is funded by Mayfield Ventures from Silicon Valley. Its founders include IIT Bombay alumnus Sanjoe Tom Jose, Jobin Jose, and K. Subramanian.
This Bangalore-based startup enables contactless payments through mobile phones, using sound waves or NFC (Near Field Communication) technology with radio waves. “ToneTag has global aspirations,” says its founder and CEO, Kumar Abhishek.
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