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Hyderabad – a rising star on the Indian scene

Back in November, T-Hub in Hyderabad hosted the first SLUSH Small talk session outside Europe. But why Hyderabad…? Why not Bangalore…? In this post we take a look at the new kid on the block. T-Hub – the startup flagship of Hyderabad.

Tucked away on the breezy campus grounds of IIIT Hyderabad lies India’s “fastest growing startup engine”. T-Hub. Though other players may contend this claim (the statement is found on T-Hubs own website), there is no doubt that T-Hub is an exotic bird in the Indian ecosystem landscape. Especially T-Hubs international market access program may be interesting from a Nordic perspective.

Bridging the gap

T-Hub seeks to establish a functional market access platform for foreign startups looking to India (see IMAB for further information). The program covers all relevant activities; from initial screening and selection of companies, to virtual meetings, preparation and capacity building, and 3-4 months on the ground activity in India with mentors and resident entrepreneurs. The complete program runs over an 8-9-month period.

The IMAB-program builds on real international experience, starting in 2017 with intrepid Israeli, Austrian, Dutch and South Korean startups, and moving on to its first international cohort in 2018. The collaboration covered 9 Canadian startups (selected from 25 applicants) and was – according to a video recently produced by T-Hub – a success. The Global Bridge: India-Canada program resulted in 5 purchase orders and 10 proposals for the participating startups. Other international cooperations are now in pipeline.

Due Diligence

The IMAB program requires external financing, to be negotiated by T-Hub and the international partner. The price will depend on the size of the cohort and the comprehensiveness of the program. However, T-Hub will set a high standard for the selection process so as not to place false hope in startups looking to India. Innovation tourism is not the name of the game, and a thorough assessment of investments, revenue, market readiness and financial stamina is one of T-Hubs central value propositions. Some of these criteria can be read on T-Hubs website.

Why Hyderabad?

The perceived advantage of T-Hub – in relation to other Indian ecosystem players – builds on two aspects: Firstly, the innovation ecosystem in Hyderabad is consolidated around T-Hub, and this strongly centralised approach (as compared to the lush and organic diversity of Bangalore) should give Hyderabad a stronger punch.

Secondly, T-Hub stands front and central for the state governments ambition of turning Hyderabad into India’s greatest innovation ecosystem, challenging Bangalore. Thus, T-Hub enjoys a strong and stable government support – always an advantage in India. It should be noted that Telangana is the youngest of the Indian states, formed in 2014, and very ambitious and competitive. In 2018 Telangana was rated the best state in terms of “Ease of doing business”.

Hyderabad is especially strong on Health tech and biotech; a global factory house for vaccines, and the Indian location for many medical multinationals. Thus, T-Hub may be the place for Indo-Danish Health tech collaboration and innovation, be it for Indian companies looking for partners to scale to Europe with cost efficient solutions, or Nordic companies seeking to access emerging markets.