The general feeling among the startup ecosystem in Madhya Pradesh is that the lack of mentorship and funding opportunities have been a deterrent to innovation.
Despite being home to some of the most prestigious educational institutions in the country, Madhya Pradesh is not known for its startups and even in the past few years, very few startups from the state have made it big on the national stage. As the state’s ecosystem matures, multiple incubators and coworking spaces have tried to bridge the gap and bring more stakeholders together through industry events and seed-stage funding, access to incubators, accelerators and mentors.
As Vinay Singhal of WittyFeed told Inc42 this recent spurt of activity means that the funding situation in the state is also changing. Today, there are established angel networks such as Ah! Ventures and Venture Catalysts building their networks in Madhya Pradesh, while Swan Finance launched a new Swan Angel Network that is exploring deals with startups in the state.
Stressing on the lack of mentorship opportunities in the state, Tanutejas Saraswat, founder of ShopKirana said that there was a time when MP startups were giving up huge equity percentages in return for mere mentorship support. “With the emergence of the first generation of entrepreneurs from MP, this trend had changed,” Saraswat told Inc42.
Talking of the government’s role in enabling Madhya Pradesh’s startup ecosystem, Singhal added, “Startup India might be doing good from the PR point of view but the central government has not made enough efforts to educate their departments in Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns. Especially tax departments who do not really understand digital businesses and thus end up creating unnecessary problems for the startups and entrepreneurs in these cities.”
He added that the situation is much better in metros such as Delhi and Mumbai where the government knowledge database is updated, and they have had to actually make an effort to understand digital businesses.
However, with respect to MP government efforts, Singhal said that startups have not faced any interference from the state government. “I always believe that a government may or may not support what your business but if they don’t create any hurdles in your company’s operations, that is more than enough. And, that has largely been the case with MP government in the past six years.”
Today, fast-growing startups such as ShopKirana, WittyFeed, Gramophone, and many more, who have placed Madhya Pradesh on the startup map of India. And these stories have been made possible with the initial support of incubators and coworking space in the state. Some of these high-performing enablers from MP are:
Incubators And Coworking Spaces
Based in Indore, Workie is a coworking space with over 3000 seats in the city and also has space for an in-house incubator. It has seven locations in Indore and has served 22 clients till now. Workie was founded by Sawan Laddha in 2017.
Headquartered in Gurugram, Incuspaze is a chain of co-working spaces spread across Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities including Indore, Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Kochi, and Trivandrum among others. Founded by Sanjay Choudhary in 2017, Incuspaze aims to expand to 20 Indian and eight international locations by 2022.
Indore-based Adited was started by Abhinandan Gupta in 2015. The coworking space also offers in-house branding services in addition to working spaces. Adited workspace comes with a team of graphic designers, website designers, and social media experts.
Headquartered in Patna, Work Studio Coworking was founded in 2018. It already has operations in Patna, Ranchi, Gurugram, and Indore. In addition to this, the company has plans to enter cities such as Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Raipur, Mumbai, and Jaipur soon. The coworking property offers discounts or free services from partners such as Instamojo, Google Cloud, OYO and Digital Ocean.
Cliqué is an incubation space setup at IIM Indore in 2017. It has incubated startups such as Xpressomat, Carving Minds, KrigerCampus, Campus Khaana and Drona Maps. The incubator now has plans to partner with various corporates, CSRs, government and venture capitalists to catalyse entrepreneurship and create a sustainable impact in MP’s startup ecosystem.
Atal Incubation Centre
Atal Innovation Centre (AIC) is a startup incubator set up by the central government think-tank, Niti Aayog. AIC helps in nurturing of startups through mentorship support, networking, investment support and access to industries among other benefits. AIC in Madhya Pradesh has been set up at Aartech Solonics Limited, Prestige Institute of Management and Research and Rabindranath Tagore University.
Started in 2016, Swan Angel Network is Madhya Pradesh’s first organised angel network group. It is a group of 35+ HNIs from Indore, Mumbai and US. Some of its portfolio companies include MaalGaadi, OnSpon and Anaxee.