I had written this blog post in 2011, Best Cities to Launch Startup and Business in India but thought to cover this topic again, primarily because now I have more views from others (the above post was based on my own experience). The idea of writing new post also came from a discussion in TheMorpheus mailing list where people were comparing Bangalore, Delhi/NCR, Mumbai and Pune and which is the best city to launch your startup.
Now if you are a local resident of Bangalore, NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad or Chennai, you can stop reading the post. Moving from these cities to any of the other makes no sense as there is huge overhead involved in not only starting a startup but starting life as well (something which founders never consider). You can anyway always have a temporary base in other cities if you need for local presence and to meet clients.
Ok, so now you are someone who is not from the above cities and is looking to move to Bangalore, Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Pune (or even Hyderabad and Chennai) but not sure which city to chose. Since I have spent some time in all these cities and have seen the startup culture, crowd, office rent, food, language problems, traffic, difficulty to hire people etc, here is the revised version of the post on which city to chose (summarizing the TM mailing list conversation too)
1. Bangalore – To me it still look the hub of startups but it is getting exponentially expensive with 1000 sq feet semi commercial offices going for 40k in rent, 2 BHK flats are going for 18k in rent and it is almost impossible to find a tech developer since everyone wants to have their own startup. After living in Bangalore for 2 years, I also realized that it also has a huge language and food problem (or is it just my weak stomach ? I am going down with food poisoning every two month now!) and the costs are only going up. Bangalore also has huge shortage of good developers and expect to see people changing job in every 6 months, expect them to be unreasonable as well (I remember one college student came to meet me for the first time and said, he wants 70k/month salary, wants stake in the company and will work in his own hours)
2. Delhi/NCR – if you are a north Indian and can get some local support, Delhi/NCR may be a better place for you, mostly for food/language reasons and because it may be easier to hire tech guys. Also I feels after some time you want to get out of startup mode and get into business mode so staying out of the startup crowd may not be a bad idea.
3. Pune – Pune with all the hype, doesn’t have the startup culture (I am not saying this! someone else said it who is living in pune). It also has some infrastructure and commuting problem. Though the weather and food is fine.
4. Mumbai – someone said Mumbai being the business center of India should means you should be here. To me, Mumbai looks to be way too costly and mechanical for someone who is looking to come from outside. People who are living there, they can manage but not someone who is not used to mumbai life. Though mumbai is indeed hub of all the media companies as well it has strong local economy so if you can get your finance numbers right, you can start from mumbai.
5. Hyderabad/Chennai – There are many startups who started/working from these cities and moved to Bangalore, you can chose them if it matches with your language/food preferences and anyway Bangalore is about 12 and 6 hours from Hyderabad/Chennai so you can always attend startup events and meet investors. I may be wrong but I do feels it is easy to find a good developer in Hyderabad and Chennai then in Bangalore and more importantly, it is easier to retain him In Bangalore, people are changing jobs in 6-8 months!
Feel free to put your view in comments and share your experience.
btw, you may want to read my older blog post Startups in India – Office Space: Where to Take, How to take and When to Take ? too if you are looking for office space but unsure what you should look for.