Over the past few weeks, we’ve conducted an unscientific-but-meaningful-N internet survey of nearly 200 entrepreneurs around India, looking to gain insights into two simple topics:
- Do entrepreneurs feel their city is a good place to build startups?
- What’s most lacking in each city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem?
Of the highest population cities in India for which we had statistically significant responses, the top 3 stack ranked ratings by entrepreneurs is:
We were surprised to see average ratings for Kolkata and Chennai to be quite low by comparison, 2.3 and 2.4 respectively. Given the amount of startup activity we see in Chennai, we presume the sample is too small to be giving an accurate result there.
We also listed 10 potential deficiencies in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and asked that entrepreneurs stack rank their top 3 selections. The areas respondents found most lacking in their city were:
- Seed funding (beyond concept, in revenue) — 18.4%
- Funding at earliest concept stage (friends & family) — 16.6%
- Strong networks of entrepreneurs helping one another — 13.8%
The need for seed funding did not surprise us – that’s why we created Unitus Ventures in the first place! Concept funding being #2 is not surprising either. But #3 is an eye opener. Having spent decades in the Silicon Valley and Seattle entrepreneurial ecosystems, we take the availability of a great network of entrepreneurs for granted. No so for entrepreneurs across India. They rated this need well above others that are also fundamental to success: affordable talent, space, incubator/accelerator programs etc. The close #4 in the stack above was “Mentor capital (formal and informal advisors)” at 12%, which is a very similar issue. If you were to add them together –which is likely statistically dubious– then the broad topic of mentoring would be the single most important issue for all entrepreneurs.