Massachusetts Institute of Technology in its recent MIT technology review magazine placed Bangalore amidst eight of the world’s largest technology innovation clusters. To be included in a renowned and respected magazine brings Bangalore and its software population gratification and recognition.
Besides Bangalore, the other areas mentioned in the MIT magazine are Boston, Israel, Silicon Valley and Beijing. Paris-Saclay in France, Skolkovo Innovation City in Russia and Tech City in London are all Government supported ventures mentioned in the innovation cluster.
The magazine chose these particular cities as they matched a few select criteria. According to the experts at MIT, innovation clusters are marked by an amalgamation of technology companies with an interconnected chain of suppliers and customers.
Further, the magazine considers four key markers that will foster an innovation cluster’s growth. The markers are entrepreneurial culture, good weather, liberal immigration laws and a strong IP protection. Silicon Valley is usually considered to be the epitome of an innovation cluster.
Bangalore has all the markers including a year round weather that is conducive to innovating and creating. Bangalore was also recognized from the milieu for the 300 million US dollar venture funding that the city received in 2012.
What makes Bangalore tick?
With the absolute mix of talent, an entrepreneurial environment and a support system, Bangalore encourages innovation and lateral thinking. According to Mukund Mohan, chief executive officer of Microsoft Ventures in India, “It has great support from a growing list of venture investors, early-seed investors and smart capital. The city has the right depth of technical talent to scale an organization.
The city has many grassroots networking organizations for startups. All these bring together a dynamic, consistent and ever-learning startup ecosystem that makes it easy for new entrepreneurs to take the plunge.”
Apart from MIT, Bangalore also received recognition in November 2012 from Genome, a global research startup firm. Genome ranked Bangalore amidst 20 of the most influential startup environments in the world. A high risk taking ability, a rooted work ethic and an ability to overcome the challenges that a startup brings created a niche for Bangalore in the world startup web.
The chairman of NASSCOM’s product council praised Bangalore’s innovation abilities when he said, “Most people tend to think of products when they think of innovation. But there is also innovation in business processes and models, that’s the kind of innovation that Bangalore has done for the global software industry. Now, we have a high-potential product innovation ecosystem emerging, with a lot of folks feeding off each other, and the emergence of investors and successful entrepreneurs.”
A lot of industry insiders believe that Bangalore’s work culture and innovation environment is based on the model emulated in Silicon Valley. Anna Lee Saxenian, Dean, School of Information, University of Berkeley was of the opinion that the innovators in Bangalore had prior exposure to the culture in Silicon Valley and brought their experience home with them.
Networking organizations like bar camps, Startup Saturday, Mobile Monday and Open Coffee Club encourage and fuel the entrepreneurial spirit in Bangalore according to Sanjay Anandram, a venture partner with Seedfund.
Startup incubators in Bangalore can mentor and incubate about 60 companies a year, double the capacity of Delhi startup incubators according to Venture intelligence. Sanjay Anandram, however holds that Bangalore does not have sufficient capital and the amount of money available to entrepreneurs is abysmal. Also the policies in Bangalore are not favorable to startups according to Anandram.
Despite some of the misgivings and faults, the entrepreneurial mindset in Bangalore spurs innovation and thinking that inspires creations.