A founder’s guide to Bengaluru

A founder’s guide to Bengaluru

January 20, 2016 by Anna O'Hare

The SURGE Startup Series offers weekly tips for startups. This is the first of the series, where we talk to the CEO of Appiness about what it’s like to startup in Bengaluru…

Let’s get acquainted with our host city, Bengaluru.

We’ve teamed up with the Visakh Viswambharan, CEO of Appiness, to bring you this guide for startups.

Starting up in Bengaluru

Visakh was jobless for all of 12 hours when he left SiliconIndia on December 31, 2010. The very next day, on January 1, 2011, he started up his company. He hasn’t looked back since.

“Bengaluru has always been my biggest strength. The place is buzzing with energy and the people are amiable and multicultural,” says Visakh.

With an influx of cultures from around the globe, the people of Bengaluru are always open to trying new things, which makes it a great place for launching a new product:

“If you have a product and you want to test it, you just have to put it out there to find hundreds of prospective users who will be happy to give you an initial assessment,” says Visakh.

Bengaluru 1

Entrepreneurial spirit of the city

The success of an entrepreneur is not only dependant on their own spirit, but the entrepreneurial spirit of the city. Talent, learning opportunities and networking in the locality all play a role.

How does Bengaluru measure up on these counts?

“Bengaluru has the best tech talent in the country. If you are building a technology company, no place will do better than Bengaluru. There is a reason why the multinationals across the world are setting their shop up here,” says Visakh.

Sure enough, a 2014 LinkedIn study ranked Bengaluru amongst the top ten cities in the world for attracting tech talent.

So you’ve got the talent, but how do you ensure that you and your employees keep improving? Continuous learning plays a role, and Bengaluru has opportunities for learning around every corner.

“Bengaluru offers lots of options for you to go out and listen to multiple points of view. There are many meetups focused on startups and entrepreneurship. I’ve seen many entrepreneurs coming out and sharing their success stories as well as fables of failures,” says Visakh.

Finally, how is networking done in Bengaluru? Well, not only are there countless networking events to choose from, there’s also a more novel approach:

“You can dial up a founder and talk to him or her directly. I’ve done this many a time; nobody has ever said no to me. There is always something in common, something to discuss, when one founder meets another,” says Visakh.


The startup hotspots

Clearly, the entrepreneurial spirit of the city is alive and well. But where do Bengaluru’s entrepreneurs hang out?

Koramangala, HSR and Indira Nagar are all popular amongst startups, with coworking spaces, investors, accelerators and event spaces dotted within these neighbourhoods.

“These places are filled with young, vibrant and cosmopolitan people,” says Visakh.

In fact, to meet like-minded entrepreneurs all you need to do is pick up a latte.

“Costa Coffee, Koramangala is the destination for startups and investors. To meet interesting entrepreneurs just hang out in places like Costa Coffee and Starbucks,” says Visakh.

Getting in the know

How do entrepreneurs in Bengaluru keep in-the-loop? Visakh is quick to point out a SURGE favourite, YourStory, whose founder will be speaking at the event:

“YourStory is the go-to place for startup related news and updates. They are doing a great job in bringing the news to everyone in the ecosystem,” he says.


There you have it. Your guide to the Bengaluru startup scene.

With its multiculturalism, entrepreneurial spirit and various startup hotspots, Visakh puts it perfectly when he says:

“If it won’t work in Bengaluru, it won’t work anywhere.”

About the Author

Anna O'Hare
Anna is a storyteller at heart and is particularly passionate about telling the stories of startups. After returning from a year working in New York City's tech sector, she now writes for Collision, Web Summit, RISE and SURGE.