Kolkata – the City of Joy that breeds artists, writers and visionaries. Home to nearly 5 Mn people, the erstwhile capital of India has a quaint old-world charm that draws people in, inspiring them to dream and achieve great things. In recent times, Kolkata has become a popular choice for startup founders and aspiring entrepreneurs. In fact, the city is currently witnessing the emergence of a new class of startups that are ambitiously working to solve many of the problems that people of Kolkata commonly face.
To bolster the fledgeling startup ecosystem that is taking root in this historic city, Inc42 in partnership with Amazon India recently hosted the second instalment of its localised meetup series – BIGShift on October 13 in Kolkata. The event brought prominent startup founders, influencers, investors, and ecosystem enablers together for an engaging and stimulating discourse about the challenges of starting up, the fear of failure and the common notions about fundraising.
For the uninitiated, BIGShift is a one-of-a-kind series of localised startup events spread across eight cities, including Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneshwar, Nagpur, Kolkata, Vizag, Ranchi and Indore. Through BIGShift, Amazon India and Inc42 are looking to support the startup ecosystem that is building up in cities beyond Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The aim is to help bridge the gap that currently exists between the ecosystems in tier I and tier II cities by making the essential resources available to fledgeling startups in these geographies.
So, Why BIGShift In Kolkata?
Spread roughly north-south along the east bank of the Hooghly River, Kolkata is majorly known for two things – the Howrah Bridge and the only operating tram network in India. The city also has the third most-populous metropolitan area in India.
The walls of the city house within them a budding startup ecosystem with passionate entrepreneurs, great mentors, and a supportive government. According to Angellist, there are over 250 startups in Kolkata and with government facilities and initiatives the startup ecosystem has picked up the pace in the city.
These startups are currently operating in a number of diverse verticals such as edtech, healthtech, the ever-popular ecommerce and foodtech, as Kolkata is famous for its cuisine, among many others. As per Inc42 Datalabs report, between July 2016 and July 2017, there were 19 deals that collectively raised $23.8 Mn in funding.