Not Silicon Valley, nor Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Is this city the “dream city” for entrepreneurs?

The term "making a rich myth" is commonly seen in Internet companies. California's Silicon Valley, China's Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen Internet agencies, and India's Bangalore and Mumbai.

Today, when the development of Internet companies in China and the United States has entered a steady development, Bangalore and Mumbai in India have become the most likely places to give birth to the next "myth of wealth creation." It's just that the valuation of Internet companies is constantly rising today. The best global entrepreneurial ecology is not Bangalore, which is known as the "Silicon Valley of India," but Mumbai, the most populous of India.

Mumbai, the most promising entrepreneurial ecosystem in the world?

Mumbai is known as the "City of Dreams". It owns the most important financial institutions in India, such as the Reserve Bank of India, Bombay Stock Exchange, National Stock Exchange of India, etc. It is also the financial, commercial and entertainment capital of India. It is one of the top ten commercial centers in the world, accounting for 6.16% of the country’s GDP, 25% of India’s total industrial output value, and 70% of India’s ocean trade.

It is precisely because of these elements that the first stop of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's India trip in 2020 is Mumbai, and Apple also chose Mumbai's Maker Maxity Mall to open India's first Apple retail store.

▲ Apple Store

But the favor of technology companies does not mean that Mumbai is a city full of Internet companies and abundant technical talents. The most concentrated place for Indian Internet companies is still Bangalore, which is known as the "Silicon Valley of India." Mumbai can break out of the Silicon Valley of India, largely because of wealth.

Money is certainly not the only reason a startup can succeed, but not having money is definitely not. As the richest city in India, Mumbai can provide entrepreneurs with initial capital. Almost all major banks and financial institutions in India have central administrative offices in Mumbai, which means that applications for loans, mortgages and equity financing from startups can be processed faster.

In addition to India's local financial institutions, Mumbai has also gathered world-class financial institutions. Business Insider reported that Morgan Stanley moved some Wall Street positions to Mumbai in 2016. Because there are too many employees in high-cost areas, “it’s time to solve the cost of our infrastructure.”

This is also a city that encourages entrepreneurship, and this city provides students with multiple entrepreneurial incubators. Maharashtra, the first-level administrative region of Mumbai as the capital, has also been praised by the outside world for its pragmatic entrepreneurial incentive policies and a good regulatory environment.

▲ Entrepreneurship support in Maharashtra

The shared office in Mumbai also allows entrepreneurs to reduce costs. In 2018, the use of joint offices in Mumbai accounted for 14% of India's. In addition to the highest percentage in the country, Indian entrepreneurs are accustomed to realizing their dreams in a shared office with lower rents.

Although, there is a lot of start-up capital, which is enough to give entrepreneurs hope. In addition, Mumbai itself is the most prosperous city in India, with a cultural melting pot, talent gathering, policy orientation, many business opportunities, fast business development, and multiple advantages, making India the most suitable for entrepreneurs in the past two years. city.

According to the latest data from Startup Genome, an innovation policy consulting and research company, Mumbai has surpassed the other 99 cities on the list in terms of entrepreneurial ecology, entrepreneurial and exit success rate, capital acquisition channels, labor costs, talent quality and acquisition channels, and continues to be the world’s largest city. Top of the list of the most promising emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems.

▲ List launched by Startup Genome

The city of dreams may also be the place where dreams are shattered the most

Recognized by the statistical agency, this is a good time for Mumbai to consolidate its name as the "City of Dreams". But outside of the halo of the City of Dreams, there are also many entrepreneurs who are here.

High cost of living and expensive housing prices are important factors for startups to leave. Because of the sales tax imposed by the Indian government, the price of gasoline in Mumbai may be twice that of New York; in the latest house price-to-income ratio list, Mumbai ranks fourth, and it is more difficult to buy a house on wages than in Shanghai and Guangzhou; there are even nearly four adults who can only live here. In the slums, there are many well-educated middle classes among them.

▲ The slum area and high-rise buildings merge, this is Mumbai

Don't think this has much to do with entrepreneurship. After all, when you want to attract talent, these are the disadvantages that hinder you. To attract these people who already have a stable life in Bangalore to Mumbai, you are likely to have to pay more.

The high local housing prices have also become a weapon to restrict entrepreneurs. Even if a lot of shared offices can effectively reduce costs, for established start-ups, the high rents are unsustainable, so they can only move to other areas to continue their business. This is also the reason why ride-hailing company Ola and mobile advertising technology company InMobi quickly moved their headquarters elsewhere after they started in Mumbai.

Just like Morgan Stanley came to Mumbai for cheaper, some startups moved to other regions for lower costs.


Poor transportation is also an important factor hindering Indian start-ups, especially for services that require intra-city delivery and logistics.

The cause of the failure of beauty services startup Amber Wellness was related to transportation. Its co-founder Abhimanyu Dhamija revealed that transportation and logistics problems prevented them from delivering beauty products to customers in time: "Our employees have to carry beauty boxes. Repeated local transportation."

▲ Picture from: Medium

The last issue is the issue of talents. There are many colleges and universities in Mumbai, which provide a stable supply of talents for the city. But compared to these areas in Bangalore, the technical talents it can provide are far from enough. The founder of online recharge and cashback service FreeCharge said that there are many financial professionals in Mumbai, but high-end talents in technical product development are still lacking.

Of course, there are some common problems in India that also affect Mumbai's position as the most promising emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem. In the book "Mumbai: Jungle of Desire", the author fiercely complained that the rapid technological progress in India does not match the lack of real technology:

The basic literacy rate is not reached, but the world’s top computers are built and operated in a delusion; the signal of fixed telephones is intermittent, but they are eager to support the mobile phone network covering the whole country…India has the world’s third largest market for scientific and technological talents. But one third of our population is still illiterate.

▲ "Mumbai: Jungle of Desire"

In Mumbai, which startups are breaking out?

But in any case, Mumbai already has many successful startup companies, but most of these companies are not in the Internet field. As the financial, commercial and entertainment capital of India, consumer and financial service products can develop very well here. This city has many B2B platforms, education platforms that meet the needs of the Indian middle class, and different e-commerce services. platform.

Education technology company Eduisfun and online education platform Toppr have both received tens of millions of dollars in financing in recent years; financial technology company GrayQuest and digital lending service platform LoanTap have also received tens of millions of financing; plus furniture e-commerce company Pepperfry and taxi-hailing app Ola Also received substantial financing in Mumbai.

▲ Toppr

The successful investment and financing of these startups have all verified Mumbai as the financial capital to help startups.

The most "out of the circle" startups in Mumbai are game giant Dream11, health technology startup CitiusTech, and education technology company upGrad.

Dream11 is the first unicorn game company in India, and it is a rare and lucrative sports game in China. Like the protagonist of "Slumdog Millionaire", the story of becoming a rich man by participating in a quiz game is also present in Dream11. A player who started playing this game in 2017 received a bonus of 2.5 million rupees (about 21,300 yuan).

▲ You can make money by playing in Dream11

In this game, users can create a sports competition with more than 100 million users and invite friends to participate in these online skill games. The official website advertises that Dream11’s daily bonus pool can reach 500 million rupees, which is equivalent to more than 40 million yuan.

The "money capability" is also reflected in the promotion of new users, and a new user may be able to earn 500 rupees (about 42.77 yuan) in cash rewards. This challenge of human nature can not help but remind people of certain e-commerce platforms in China. By the way, this company also has a familiar shareholder-Tencent.

It's just that the new model is also facing controversy. Is the game linked to money gambling? The local laws of many states in India believe that it is that government officials in many states believe that the game of Dream11 is gambling. Fortunately, in 2017, the Supreme Court ruled the legality of Dream11 and allowed them to conduct business across the country.

▲ Many well-known players are the spokespersons of this platform

But this does not save the game company from disputes. Recently, Karnataka has amended its gambling law to prohibit online gambling, gambling and betting. Therefore, Dream11 can only prohibit users in this state from participating in paid games. But in any case, this is still a stable and smooth development platform.

CitiusTech is one of the representatives of India's advanced medical solutions. It wants to accelerate digital innovation, use next-generation technology to promote the data integration of the entire healthcare ecosystem, and ultimately help the healthcare system to complete the update to adapt to current needs.

▲ CitiusTech Office

Another representative of entrepreneurship in Mumbai is upGrad, an educational technology company, which is a successful overseas company that provides higher education and skills upgrading courses to more than 40 countries. Its users have one characteristic-not bad for money. According to official data, there are only 62,000 paying users among its more than 1 million users, but the cost of each user's course is between 3300-6750 US dollars. It's a course I can't afford to take.

But it makes sense to be expensive. After all, upGrad cooperates with Michigan State University and Indian Institute of Technology to provide students with more than 100 courses in data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain, finance, programming, and law. The courses offered by these schools are still very attractive to ordinary students.

A game platform with a humane gameplay, a cutting-edge healthcare technology service provider, and a higher education platform for the global market. These are all representatives of Mumbai startups.

It is true that each region has its own advantages and disadvantages for entrepreneurs, but the current opportunities that Mumbai can provide, the growth rate of products, and the financial environment where it is easier to obtain start-up capital are not fully provided by other regions. Because of this, under the influence of rising housing prices, the "City of Dreams" has attracted more and more dream chasers.

Not too interesting, not too optimistic.

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