Founded during the Kalinga empire nearly 3,000 years ago, Bhubaneswar is an ancient city that currently serves as a major economic and religious centre in eastern India. Its modern avatar was architected by Otto Konigsberger in 1946. In 2015, World Bank crowned Bhubaneswar as the best place to do business in India. With robust infrastructure and a well-connected ecosystem of investors, accelerators and incubators, startups in Bhubaneswar are slowly coming to the forefront.
To bolster these fledgeling startup ecosystem that is emerging in the capital city of Odisha, Inc42 in partnership with Amazon India recently hosted the sixth instalment of its localised startup meetup series – BIGShift on December 2 in Bhubaneswar.
The event brought prominent startup founders, influencers, investors, and ecosystem enablers together for an engaging discussion about the challenges of team building in tier II/III cities and the right time to fundraise. Besides, seven startups were given a chance to pitch about their business in front of an eminent jury.
So, Why BIGShift In Bhubaneswar?
With the aim of emerging as one of the top three startup hubs in India by 2020, the Odisha government has increased its focus on fostering strategic partnerships, investment opportunities and policy interventions in recent times.
The state government currently provides funding, mentorship and incubation support to startups, in order to create a conducive ecosystem for investors and other stakeholders as well.
Let’s start with startup policy first. The Odisha government announcedits startup policy in August 2016. The startup policy was aimed to set up 1,000 startups in the next five years for which the state’s MSMEs were to provide a Seed fund of $3.7 Mn (INR 25 Cr).
In August 2016, CM Naveen Patnaik met over 60 startups and announced an investment commitment of $13.5 Bn (INR 90,490 Cr) as state investments for improving the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Till date, they have identified over 225 startups and more than 24 incubators in the state.
In March 2017, the Odisha government launched the Startup Odisha Toll-Free Helpline 1800-345-7100, aimed for startup stakeholders to have a platform for redressal of their queries related to startups.
Later in May, the state government of Odisha also launched a web portal for startups. The portal aims at “promoting ease of doing business for budding entrepreneurs and creating an ecosystem for startups in the state.”
Most recently, in August, the Government of Odisha recognised 80 startups over the course of two months under its Startup Odisha initiative. The statistics revealed during a meeting of a task force formed under the Chairmanship of Shri L.N. Gupta, IAS, Additional Chief Secretary, MSME, stated that more than 32 more applications were under process and a monthly grant of $310 (INR 20,000) had been given to eight recognised startups.
A Look At Some Of The Prominent Startups, Investors And Influencers In Odisha
Among the startups that are currently operating out of Bhubaneswar are online grocery delivery platform VeggieKart, hyperlocal services provider Wizy, customised printing solutions provider Printview, e-grocery platform Grozip and Rourkela-based Estinno, among others.
Coming to Bhubaneswar specifically, AngelList claims that there are around 103 startups in the capital city of Odisha alone, including SakRobotix, cloud-based accounting software SlickAccount and IT services company Tatwa Technologies, to name a few.
Fundraising is always a major concern for startups. To ease the anxiety that surrounds fundraising and make working capital more accessible to new companies, several investment firms and angel networks have sprung up in Odisha in recent decades.