Blockchain, AI drivers of startup growth now, says Manojit Bose
The startup landscape is changing at a very fast pace. When it was drawn up there was nothing about artificial intelligence or blockchain technology.Updated: Sep 15, 2018, 17:24 IST
Manojit Bose, chief knowledge officer (CKO), Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited, speaks about why according to him Pune needs a separate startup policy and the startup scenario in the city. Excerpts:
Why does Pune need a special policy given that there is one already for the State?
To be honest, we have not yet given it the final shape. What was announced earlier was a draft level startup policy. However, now, we are in the process of looking at things from the ground up. What actually happened with the policy was that the government announced a few sops for incubation centres, but unfortunately we did not get a good response. There were not enough bidders. That made us realise that we need to relook at things. The startup landscape is changing at a very fast pace. When it was drawn up there was nothing about artificial intelligence or blockchain technology. Now these are the drivers of growth for startups. We, along with Niti Ayog, organised a hackathon in Pune that looked at urban governance issues. This has given us a better idea of how to look at startups. We are in the process of rejuvenating the startup policy.
What is it that startups in Pune will need according to you?
If you want to set up a shop, what is it that you will need? You will need fund, space, mentors, access to markets and so on. Now, a state-level policy is made keeping in mind all the cities. Obviously what Pune needs will be different from what Amravati will need. I would compare the Pune’s ecosystem needs to say Bangalore or Mumbai. If a person wants to set up a shop in Bangalore, there are co-working spaces and easy access to capital and mentors who will guide you. Though Pune has a good ecosystem of mentors, I think what we need is better infrastructure. We need more such co-working spaces and incubation centres.
What about funding? Pune has a paucity of fund houses stationed here?
It is a valid point, but let us say a fund house is geographically located in Mumbai, do you think it will impact Pune so much? In the sense that capital always flows freely. It will follow ideas and opportunities. If there is a good business idea in Pune, money will come from all across the globe. Yes, having them in the city will be an advantage, but I do not think that not having them will be a serious impediment to business. I think we should do events like Shark Tanks where we call in deep pockets and make our startups present to them. We plan to play such matchmaking roles too.