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Kerala Startup Ecosystem Report: Decoding What Makes The State An Attractive Destination For Startups


Kerala Startup Ecosystem Report distils the state’s startup DNA

The report has been curated by Inc42 Datalabs in association with the Kerala Startup Mission

It was unveiled recently at the TiE Conference Kerala 2018 in Kochi

Kerala Startup Ecosystem report — a joint initiative by TiE Kerala, the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), and Inc42 Datalabs, the data and research wing of Inc42 — was launched recently at the TiEcon Kerala 2018, Kerala’s largest entrepreneurial convention. It was launched by well-known Indian businessman SD Shibulal, cofounder, former CEO, and MD of Infosys Ltd and co-founder of Axilor Ventures Ltd.

The report encapsulates key information and statistics about the growth achieved by the Kerala startup ecosystem and KSUM, a nodal government agency focused on promoting technology startups.

The state of Kerala has been forthcoming about introducing various tools such as Tinkering Labs and Young Innovators Programme in schools to ensure that students are introduced to an entrepreneurial mindset at an early age. To support the state government’s initiative, KSUM launched Innovation Entrepreneurship Development Centres (IEDCs), which support over 10,000 aspiring entrepreneurs across 226 technical colleges by equipping them with the tools, know-how, and capabilities to face the challenges of the startup world.

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Given its focused approach, the Kerala state government has been able to achieve some appreciable results that have been included in the report.

A Glimpse Of The Startup Landscape In Kerala

Packed with insights, The Kerala Startup Ecosystem Report reveals that about 37% of the startups in the state are based out of Kochi and 23% of them are based in Trivandrum.

While 35% of the startups are focused on providing IT services, 11% are working on health tech, and 9% are devising edtech solutions. Given Kerala’s sharp focus on a high HDI (Human Development Index), these numbers don’t come as a surprise.

The Kerala startup ecosystem boasts an even spread of B2B and B2C startups, which comprise 28% and 24% of the total startups, respectively. Product-based startups make up for the lion’s share in the ecosystem.

Kerala, however, does need to work on the gender ratio in the space as, currently, only 13% of the startups in the state are led by women. About 53% of the startups have less than five employees and only 2% have an employee headcount of more than 51. A strong indicator of how invested the state government is in helping the ecosystem is that approximately 60% of all the startups in Kerala are incubated.

The Anatomy Of The Report: What All It Contains

Kerala Startup Ecosystem Report report gives a detailed overview of the various ecosystem enablers that are powering the Kerala startup scene and the school-level initiatives that have been undertaken to instil an entrepreneurial mindset among students.

KSUM has introduced a Startup Bootcamp through which it sets up mini incubators that enable students to experiment with their startup ideas and test them through the IEDCs, which serves as hubs of entrepreneurial activities in colleges.

The report talks at length about KSUM, its initiatives and the activities it supports. It also provides information about events being hosted in Kerala to fuel the startup mindset and help budding entrepreneurs. Its promising list of tech communities makes for a great resource for both entrepreneurs and employers alike.

The report also includes lists of R&D institutes, incubators, and accelerators, co-working spaces for entrepreneurs who work with limited resources and, most importantly, a list of investors who are backing this breed of next-gen entrepreneurs.

We have also provided readers with some great tips and resources on how to build their network and listed the Top 30 startups in Kerala, along with some of the ingenious ideas that founders have come up with.

Kerala Startup Ecosystem: Looking At The Future

The aftermath of the  Kerala floods in August made the state government only more resolute in helping more startups to come up with technology-focused solutions to effectively handle contingencies in the future.

“As rebuilding Kerala requires $43 Bn (INR 30,000 Cr), the technologies contributing to the mission have to be sustainable, responsive, and resilient,” KSUM CEO Saji Gopinath announced at the inaugural session of the two-day TiE Kerala Conference 2018 where the Kerala Startup Ecosystem Report was launched.

Gopinath also stated, “Being the first state in the country to formulate a policy for the development of the startup ecosystem way back in 2014, Kerala today has over 1,500 startups developing innovative products and services leveraging on Industry 4.0.”

Moreover, emerging businesses in Kerala received a funding of $39 Mn (INR 273 Cr) in 2017-18 and the state registered 24 technology patents in the last three months with brand new businesses dominating the scene. The report bears testament to the fact that Kerala is all set to top the chart of successful startup ecosystems in India.

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