Jaipur is battling with Chennai and Ahmedabad to reach the next tier for startup ecosystems; these companies can help it get there
Jaipur is growing. It’s the tenth-largest city in the country with just over 3 million people — flaked by 9th place Pune (3.1 million) and 11th place Lucknow (2.8 million) according to the national Indian census. For its local technology sector, things are looking up as well. Between 2014 and 2016, Jaipur startups raised $142.25 million according to Inc42, with 44 percent of funding going to seed stage startups and 26 percent to late stage. The deal flow was small in the first 10 months of 2016 with 16 investments, but they were spread out across different industries (edtech, cars, e-commerce, fintech, etc.)
The city can get lost on the long road between New Delhi and Ahmedabad, the capital of neighboring state Gujarat, but it’s little excuse to ignore the municipality. The Rajasthan Angel Investor Fund, Rajasthan Venture Capital Fund, and SME Tech Fund II are building a solid foundation for local funding to continue supporting future entrepreneurs from the state’s 22 universities including Malaviya National Institute of Technology and LNM Institute of Information Technology.
The city is closely competing with other nascent, second tier startup ecosystems like Ahmedabad and Chennai, who both have put up respectable investment numbers as well. If any of these three cities — especially Jaipur — are going to compete with the bigger towns, they will need to start providing middle stage funding to local companies.
In the interim, these five startups might provide the success necessary to continue growing the local angel investor network and to get Jaipur on the tip of non-Indian tongues when they talk about the startup ecosystem in South Asia:
An app that connects people to the best local options for automotive repair, ServX announced Monday they would enter San Francisco-based Y Combinator where they would presumably grab $120,000 in exchange for a 7-percent stake for the company from the landmark incubator.
“We intend to optimise their processes to make the customer experience transparent and seamless service while bringing down the costs for them,” ServX CEO Anubhav Deep commented about the selection. “We had clarity of doing something on our own from early engineering years. So joining a job was not an option for us.”
“We focus on connecting students and tutors, and giving them the entire technology platform for efficient learning management. The platform virtually gives tutors total control over the management of a class on their mobiles or PCs,” Co-Founder Rohit Dusad told VC Circle, who founded the company with his wife Pooja Khandelwal in 2015.
They have analytics on performance, tools for class management, and provide help with business development. They’re backed by angels like Nomura MD Sandeep Aggarwal and ICICI Bank GM R Balachandar.
CarDekho is the flagship subsidiary of GirnarSoft and perhaps India’s leading car comparison portal. The company also operates similar sites for bikes, mobiles, and other consumer products. They recently expanded out with CarBay to Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Phillippines. They have raised $65 million from the likes of CapitalG and Seqouia Capital, last evaluated at $380 million.
“Travel time to work is a breeze! Most people here don’t commute more than 10-15 minutes. There’s peace of mind; life is stress-free. People are good, there’re closeness and depth in relationships, which helps you bond,” Anurag Jain, GirnarSoft co-founder along with his brother Amit, recently told Inc42.
He explained that in addition to its charm the city has much lower operating costs than India’s major cities, plus “is also home to many engineering colleges, which ensure a steady flow of talent.”
With three co-founders in hand (two of them Indian chartered accountants), this Tax2win team is matching customers quickly with accountants through their online marketplace. They raised $1 million last July from an unknown suitor and claim big-name clients like the Rajasthan state police and Marriott.
“Being a female entrepreneur has been life-changing,” Tax2win Co-Founder Vertika Kedia told Tech in Asia last year. “In Indian society, it turns out to be very challenging. One good experience is that you see a different perception of things – people encourage you for that.”
5. Blue Box Media
Blue Box Media has been on a tear creating new media properties and on the hunt to acquire other local outlets in the Jaipur or Rajasthan area. They have only raised about $159,000 according to Crunchbase, but have already acquired another company by the name of Startify last June and operate both Indian tech news site The Tech Portal as well as marketing house Jaipur.Digital.
They added local culture site COnnect Jaipur at the beginning of March with Blue Box Co-Founder Pawas Jain explaining “With a view of providing digital advertising and branding platform to millions of small and medium sized businesses across the country, we believe it is the right time for us to venture into lifestyle space.”