Pune’s start-up ecosystem, though vibrant, appears to be loosing out both in funding and volume. The recent Start-ups Landscape Report published by Nasscom shows that Pune has at least six per cent of the start-ups in the country, with the report identifying lack of sales and marketing expertise as a significant handicap for the city’s start-ups.
Nasscom’s report had tracked 4,200 start-ups across the country and found that over 66 per cent of the start-ups are concentrated in the cities of Bengaluru, Mumbai and National Capital Region. Bengaluru leads the chart with 26 per cent concentration of the start-ups, while NCR and Mumbai have 23 and 17 per cent of the total start-ups of the country. Hyderabad has pipped both Pune and Chennai with seven per cent concentration of the start-ups. The decision of the government of Telanaga to form incubation center T-Hub to accommodate 1,500 companies has played a pivotal role in developing Hyderabad as a preferred start-up hub in the region.
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Most of the start-ups in Pune are either in the hyperlocal e-commerce or e-commerce segment with the city witnessing the growth of product start-ups also in large numbers. As per the report, Pune last year has seen funding worth $80-90 million, while Bengaluru, NCR and Mumbai witnessed 93 per cent of the total funding seen in the country till the third quarter of the present financial year. Although Pune seems to have a strong talent base, one of its major drawbacks is the lack of strong sales and marketing expertise. Maneesh Bhandari, director, Pune operations of CIIE (IIM Ahmedabad’s Center for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship), said Pune traditionally has been the technical center or the back office center for the IT industry. “The city was never the sales or marketing head of most companies so that talent pool naturally has not developed much,” he said. Bhandari said Pune also does not have early adopter customers for start-ups.