Hyderabad: One of the biggest help for any entrepreneur is the chance to network. And this is what IT Minister K T Rama Rao’s pet project T-Hub has been able to provide to emerging startups in Telangana.
The startup engine, a brainchild of Rama Rao, has over the last three years been able to provide all kinds of support to startups through its ecosystem, ranging from networking to mentoring and funding, apart from physical space and any other help that a startup would need.
With the dream of making Hyderabad a global city, the Minister along with representatives from academia and corporates set up the first building of T-Hub in November 2015. And over three years, T-Hub transformed itself into an ecosystem of its own. Modern infrastructure, global events and innovative startups form the basis of this ecosystem that is growing each day.
“When we were discussing the idea of T-Hub, we barely had 200 startups in Hyderabad. This has gone up to over 2,000 in just three years. Not only this, the whole ecosystem has changed from just one Venture Capital fund (VentureEast) and one angel network (Hyderabad Angels) to almost six VC fund companies,” said Srinivas Kollipara, CEO, T-Hub.
Though Hyderabad was a late-mover compared to Bengaluru, New Delhi or Mumbai, that has not deterred the ecosystem from flourishing. The city is home to many innovative product and services startups and has been making its presence felt globally. One of T-Hub’s most successful startup Banyan Nation recently became the first Indian firm to win the Circular Economy Award at the WEF. Another startup Hug Innovations won the Mayor of London’s India Emerging 20 Award and the list is endless.
“We are proud to say that we are one of the first startups to join T-Hub. The biggest help the engine has provided us is brand building. From a company that makes an innovative product in Hyderabad, we have been able to put ourselves on the global map,” says Raj Neravati, founder, Hug Innovations, which has built a smartwatch that has both personal safety and fitness tracking.
For any startup that has been and/or which is part of T-Hub, one of the most defining factor is visibility and exposure. The events conducted by T-Hub have also helped entrepreneurs get an insight into different issues such as revenue, legal and many more.
“Visibility and exposure is high in T-Hub. We were able to meet many global personalities because of our association with the startup engine. Another advantage is the proximity to big institutions such as ISB, IIIT-Hyderabad and UoH,” said Sri Charan Lakkaraju, founder, Stumagz, a social networking platform for colleges.
While quantifiable help like networking, mentorship, investors is one part of the story, another part is the emotional help that T-Hub has been able to provide. “The journey of an entrepreneur is very lonely. But being part of an ecosystem like T-Hub provides us with support and also keeps us motivated as we are working with like-minded people in the same space,” says K K Jain, founder, AnyTimeLoan, which provides loans under 15 minutes and has partnered with YES Bank.