BANGALORE, India – Bangalore, a city in southern India, is known as “Indian Silicon Valley”. Innovation centers rub shoulders with emerging companies. It is a high-tech environment fueled by the pandemic, which has resulted in an unprecedented demand for online and contactless services of all kinds.
Everywhere in this city of 12 million inhabitants, traffic jams are hellish. Traffic congestion is part of Bangalore's reputation.
But a local solution to pollution and congestion has just emerged. In the midst of cars and rickshaws now sneak powder blue electric bicycles, made in India and available for self-service.
It's easy to use, says a new user who checks on the mobile application the number of kilometers remaining before recharging.
It’s not expensive and it helps the environment.
The young company Yulu entered the market three years ago by adapting the technology of electric scooters poorly adjusted to local road conditions for the Indian market.
When they founded the emerging company, Yulu executives were keen to avoid the common trap of the 90s tech industry in India of working for a foreign company that offers a service or even technology. developed elsewhere.
People here like to try new products, argues Yulu co-founder Amit Gupta.
This is a huge advantage for businesses in Bangalore who feel they can dare.
Stop working for foreign companies
Amit Gupta has been working in high technology for 20 years. He saw the transformation of the sector. A generation of Indian computer scientists are now starting their own companies after studying in the local offices of American companies like Google and Microsoft.
The size of the Indian market is a huge advantage for the success of entrepreneurs here, says Amit Gupta. From the start, you have to think about serving hundreds of millions of users. Even before we look abroad, our growth possibilities are phenomenal.
With its huge pool of cheap local talent and its ability to attract foreign companies and capital, Bangalore is the fastest growing tech ecosystem since 2016, ahead of cities like Paris, London and Munich.
In the first four months of the year, eight Indian companies became unicorns, start-ups valued at over $ 1 billion. The majority of these companies are based in Bangalore.
Philippe Leblanc in India
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Founding your own business
From Bangalore, a woman teaches online theater to children in Canada, Japan and India. This is another recent success story from the local tech sector. The young company Bambinos is a web platform for extracurricular activities. It was launched in the midst of a pandemic.
It could have taken parents years to accept such a novelty, believes Ashish Gupta, the founder of Bambinos.
But with the pandemic, online education has become the norm.
After working for Amazon in India, Ashish Gupta decided to use the know-how he acquired to found his business.
He sees Bangalore's many research centers, emerging business accelerators and common workspaces as important success factors.
This allows us to control our costs and add office space as needed, says Ashish Gupta. The foundations of the tech sector are long lasting and strong here.
The pandemic has not affected growth prospects in Bangalore. Cranes and construction sites are still part of the landscape.
The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is investing half a billion dollars in the construction of commercial buildings in southern India. One of the first projects is the construction of an office tower in Bangalore.
It's normal to attract so many investments, says Amit Gupta, founder of Yulu.
India has been moving towards mobile payment for three years and it represents hundreds of millions more potential consumers all over India. Strangers cannot say no on such occasions.
The young company Yulu has seen the number of customers for its self-service electric bicycles increase by 30% over the past year, which promises significant dividends for investors.
Foreign investment firms like the US Rocketship participated in the equity fund last year.
More than ever, the promise of the Indian El Dorado seems real.