startups in india: Mumbai emerging as preferred startup destination, say founders, investors

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Mumbai is emerging among the preferred startup destinations for founders and investors in the country, said Dream Sports cofounder and CEO Harsh Jain and Haptik CEO Aakrit Vaish, citing the financial capital’s infrastructural advancements and increasing access to resources and talent.

The entrepreneurs interacted with ET ahead of the Mumbai Tech Week, an initiative aimed at promoting the city’s thriving tech ecosystem, scheduled to take place between February 18 and 23.

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In November 2022, a group of unicorn and soonicorn founders including Jain and Vaish came together to set up a body to promote Mumbai as a potential base for technology companies across sectors.

“If you take Maharashtra, it’s a staggering 25% of India’s startups, but I think our conversion funnel is slightly the issue because of unaffordable rent and housing in Mumbai, that we’ve lost some great entrepreneurs to Bangalore and other cities over time,” Jain said.

The grouping, Tech Entrepreneurs Association of Mumbai (TEAM), comprises 46 founders from Mumbai-based tech companies including BillDesk, BookMyShow, CitiusTech, Dream11, Eruditus, Fino, Games 24×7, Haptik, Hungama, Nazara Technologies, Pepperfry, PharmEasy, Pine Labs, Purplle, Route Mobile,, Upgrad, Upstox and Zepto.

“The number of jobs that are here and the kind of infrastructure that’s being built will reduce traffic to one of the least in any metro cities in India. This will make affordable housing possible, which will make rent much more affordable for companies as well,” Vaish said.

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Vaish emphasised that while the pace of development in Mumbai’s infrastructure is notably faster than in many comparable cities, it is crucial to recognise that infrastructure alone is not the sole factor attracting startups.“Infrastructure is just one of them and then there’s community, access to capital, access to great talent. So, those are the factors that will bring startups here,” he said.

Mumbai Tech Week is expected to host prominent figures from various sectors, including policymakers, tech entrepreneurs, corporates, investors, featuring individuals like Smriti Irani, minister of women & child development and minority affairs, and Rajeev Chandrasekhar, minister of state for electronics and information technology, among others.

“I think it’s clear that Mumbai is now ready to not just take startups, but also to have early-stage funding, growth stage funding, and will be the ultimate place to go for public listing also,” Jain said.

On February 4, Unacademy cofounder and CEO Gaurav Munjal had said in a post on X that Mumbai and Delhi cannot become hubs for the technology ecosystem. “Mumbai and Delhi cannot become Tech Hubs how much ever people try. Bangalore’s Network Effects are too deep to be broken. Bangalore is the place to be if you’re starting up. Don’t even think about any other place,” Munjal said.

During the Mumbai Tech Week, deputy chief minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis is expected to unveil ‘Mumbai Megapolis’, which aims to showcase ongoing infrastructure developments in Mumbai by creating a virtual representation of the city in the metaverse, envisioning the transformation of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) by 2025.

The MMR is currently undergoing substantial transformation, including the Mumbai Coastal Road linking Marine Lines in south Mumbai to Kandivali in the north, the recently launched Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, bringing the city closer to Navi Mumbai and the international airport there, and the Mumbai Metro Line 3, the city’s first fully underground metro system, running between Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ (Santacruz Electronics Export Processing Zone).

As per Tracxn, Maharashtra’s tech startup ecosystem has received $30 billion in funding till date, only behind Karnataka. In 2023, the Maharashtra tech space witnessed four funding rounds of over $100 million, a sharp contrast from 13 in 2022, as funding winter chilled investor activity across the board. Quick-commerce platform Zepto and non-banking financial company InCred were the two new unicorns that emerged in the state in 2023.

“The ingredients have always been in place in Mumbai. It’s just a question of communicating it correctly, building the community for these early-stage founders,” Vaish added.

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