Over 30 prominent startup founders based out of Mumbai have come together to form an organisation to build ‘brand Mumbai’ for startups, in a move to establish and nurture startup and entrepreneurship culture in the country’s financial capital.
The organisation, which is likely to get named as TEAM--Tech Entrepreneurs Association of Mumbai--will be led by Dream 11’s co-founder Harsh Jain and Haptik co-founder Aakrit Vaish, at least five people aware of the matter told Moneycontrol, requesting anonymity.
"Right now things are in the initial stages of formation. We have got a good group together and the next steps are going to be to form the charter, elect the board, etc. and then go from there," said Vaish.
The organisation’s aim will be to establish brand Mumbai as a startup hub and a city where founders would want to headquarter their businesses, the people said requesting anonymity.
"The good tech talent from Mumbai is going to other places which are marketed well. The ultimate pinnacle is Bengaluru. That is what we want to change considering so many unicorns are in Mumbai. It is the financial capital of the country, but it needs to be marketed well," one of the people quoted above said.
"The focus is to work together, engage with the ecosystem as well as the government to let brand Mumbai shine as a favourable place for startups and tech," the person added.
Mumbai currently houses a sixth or about 18 of the country’s 108 unicorns, the third most after Bengaluru and Delhi/NCR (National Capital Region), but has never been recognised as a startup hub, primarily due to high cost of living.
“Cost of living or high cost in my opinion is a perception issue. It might have been the case a few years back, but as the ecosystem has matured and as the compensations (to employees) have gone up, we will see a shift in that perception,” said a second person quoted above.
Bengaluru, meanwhile, has always been known as a startup hub as the first three unicorns of the country--InMobi, Flipkart and Mu Sigma--are headquartered in Bengaluru. For the longest time, Bengaluru has also been known as India’s startup capital, but Delhi/NCR replaced it earlier this year as more than 5,000 recognised startups were set up in Delhi/NCR between April 2019 and December 2021, against 4,514 in Bengaluru, according to the Economic Survey of 2022. Mumbai did not feature on the list of top startup cities in the Economic Survey even as the state of Maharashtra had highest number of recognised startups as of December 2021.
“Mumbai has always had many successful companies but branding has been a bit of a problem. Somebody has to talk about it more actively, within the tech talent circles, and this needs to be more socialised,” said the second person quoted above.
“Harsh has worked closely with a lot of bodies and associations and corporates over here because all these companies are eager to create ways in which there is better visibility and marketing for Mumbai-based companies,” the person added.