Chennai’s startup scene has seen a slow but steady growth over the years. While there have been sharp ups and downs seen in other Indian Startup ecosystems, Chennai’s Startup ecosystem has always held its ground and as a result of, it is now emerging as a thriving startup ecosystem. From hi-tech labs housed within research institutions to 24×7 active co-working spaces, Chennai has it all.
Over a period of last 6-7 years, Chennai has been successful in establishing its name as an enterprise or SaaS (Software as a Service) hub. In fact, it has been witnessed that even the investors who grace the city for a pitch, most often make a request for SaaS companies before going for their meetings with the founders. According to Venture Intelligence‘s Arun Natarajan’s statement to a national daily, Zoho and Freshdesk can be credited for establishing a clear branding in the favour of Chennai city.
The city isn’t just home to business models that have been tried and tested in other Startup ecosystems. While there’s no denying the fact that established business models are aplenty in the city, but Chennai is also a welcome place for new business models. Incubators like The Startup Centre, the Paypal Startank, IIT-M Research Park and Anna University Incubator have provided a great atmosphere of innovation and research to aid budding entrepreneurs in coming up with new, out-of-the box ideas.
Chennai has also caught the fancy of various famous industry bodies like CII, Nasscom etc. The city witnesses sessions for city entrepreneurs being arranged by the CII and The Indus Entrepreneurs. Last year saw Naascom opening the door of its Tidel Park warehouse to 13 startups, which included names like Furnify, Klenty and Paperflite.
Akshay Sasikumar, Manager of 10,000 startups, Nasscom feels that Chennai has seen a flurry of startup activity after the opening of the Startup warehouse. He also added that, since inception Nasscom has been working as a facilitator for startups to get connected to the industry, and the body strives to do the same for the Chennai ecosystem.
According to Pick Your Trail’s co-founder Hari Ganapathy’s statement to TOI, the Chennai Startup ecosystem is finally taking shape. Events, group discussions, and an active angel community, which are some of elements considered crucial for a startup ecosystem, have now all come together in Chennai.
While everything seems to be going on smoothly, some startups feel that the city’s infrastructure needs to be improved drastically. This is mainly because infrastructure plays an important supportive role in the success of a startup ecosystem, and for the Chennai startup ecosystem to be able to compete at a global level, the city will have to do something about its infrastructure issues.
So, while India’s economy currently flounders, the Chennai Startup ecosystem seems to have its back.
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