There was a time when entrepreneurs in Kolkata used to fly to other cities such as Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Delhi to set up ventures, making the growth of the city’s startup ecosystem quite slow. But the trend has started to change dramatically. Today, the City of Joy has become a place where budding entrepreneurs are bringing new waves of innovation, making the city’s startup fraternity highly optimistic. Kolkata has already given birth to some leading Indian startups such as Wow! Momo, which raised whopping funding of $23 million from Tiger Global Management last year that increased its valuation to $120 million.
The transformation in the startup scene of Kolkata has naturally attracted many leading coworking space providers to open up branches here. No matter what kind of industry you’re into, you’ll be welcomed with a wide choice of coworking spaces in Kolkata.
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Major factors promoting the startup ecosystem of Kolkata
Private and government initiatives
IIMCIP (IIM Calcutta Innovation Park) promotes innovation and entrepreneurship by providing both virtual and physical incubation. TCGTBI, an initiative by IIEST, promotes entrepreneurship and innovation by converting tech ideas in different disciplines of science and technology into processes, products, and services to use commercially and benefit society. An incubation center aimed at science and technology startups has been set up by the Kolkata branch of IISER to promote entrepreneurship in India’s eastern and northeastern regions. Neotec Hub is another prominent incubator that offers different programs to startups that are working on innovative technologies mainly in the fields of education, healthcare, real estate, and hospitality. Startup Bengal is the West Bengal Government’s initiative to help startups access different resources of the state’s startup ecosystem and to promote an entrepreneurial culture.
A solid pool of startup investors
While beginning a startup takes a lot of courage and hard work to transform the idea into reality, probably the biggest hurdle is gathering funding to support your entrepreneurial journey. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of startup investors in Kolkata. In fact, the startups in the city have raised $43.73 million between 2014 and 2019. Some of the notable investors in Kolkata include Kolkata Ventures (an Indo-US collaboration to promote Indian entrepreneurship), Calcutta Angels, Augment Ventures, among others. The Government of West Bengal also helps startups to get access to early-stage funding.
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In addition to these, there’s one key factor that’s fostering the startup ecosystem of Kolkata – low operational costs. You can easily start operating from a top-tier coworking space, situated in a prominent location, offering all modern amenities by shelling out a cost much lower than what you’d need to pay in other major cities. Whether you need to book a desk on an hourly/daily basis or need a private cabin for the entire month, there’re many coworking space providers that offer these flexibilities.
It’s true that Kolkata still has a long way to go to match the startup culture of cities such as Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, etc. But with the help of regular startup events, entrepreneur/VC meetups, and knowledge sessions, we can expect to see an expedited growth of budding entrepreneurs with more number of professionals establishing ventures here.
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