What is a Startup Ecosystem?
Startup ecosystems are networks of resources intended to foster innovations through startups. It is designed to aid the growth of startups in earlier periods of growth. Also, these ecosystems provide startups access to mentorship, office space, and investment options, enabling them to connect with other business sectors.
In a startup ecosystem, multiple types of organizations interact as a system to create new startup companies by interacting with people and startups in their various stages.
About Kerala Startup Ecosystem
Kerala Startup Mission is the government’s significant entrepreneurship development and incubation agency. Clearly between 2016 and 2022, the state’s original incipiency ecosystem witnessed a smash in capital flux. Therefore the main reason for this is the state is home to some of the most promising Indian startups. The startups like CareStack, Open( innovated in Kerala), and Survey Sparrow are among those.
The entrepreneurial ecosystem in Kerala
An entrepreneurial ecosystem consists of interdependent actors and relationships that catalyze new venture creation and growth. The Global Startup Ecosystem Report of 2022 named the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) Asia’s best performer for promoting talents. As a result of the government mission, 200 startups were successfully funded in 2022 out of 900 eligible innovators. Communities like Silicon Valley, Boston, Tel Aviv, London, Boulder, and Berlin took decades to become robust entrepreneurial ecosystems. However, it is easy for such ecosystems to grow anywhere today. In the modern economy, every community has the opportunity to become a thriving ecosystem.
Kerala Startup Funding
$551 Mn raised by the local startup ecosystem since 2014.
Fintech & SaaS emerged as crucial sectors for startup investmentsA total venture capital infusion of $551 Mn across 110 funding deals with Fintech and SaaS (enterprise tech) startups remaining at the forefront of raising venture capital. Together, these sectors account for 66%, or $364 Mn, of the total investments worth $551 Mn received by Kerala-based startups since 2015.
State of Kerala startup ecosystem 2022
Key Highlights of Kerala Startup Ecosystem
The main highlights of the Kerala Startup Ecosystem are:
- More than 30 aspiring entrepreneurs.
- Above $551 Mn total venture capital inflow since 2014.
- Above 40K employment created by local startups.
- Above $101 Mn fund of funds established by the state government.
- Above 4K startups
- About $2.8Mn innovation grant provided by State government
- Number of active incubators in the State-63
- The number of IEDCs/mini incubators operating in the state is above 375
- Kerala startup ecosystem Asia and global ranking
Kerala Startup Ecosystem Asia and Global Ranking
Kerala’s startup ecosystem has ranked top in Affordable Talent in Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) in Asia in 2022.
Kerala is also ranked 4th in the GSER global ranking, based on the research driven by Startup Genome, the world’s leading policy advisory and research firm.
Startup Enabler Ecosystem in Kerala
Kerala is ahead of other startup hubs in the country regarding the scope of investment and growth for Indian hardware startups, which lapped up nearly one percent of the total capital raised by Indian startups between 2014 and H1 2022.
However, hardware product/service-focused startups in Kerala have raised $15.2 million, or approximately 3%, of the total $551 Mn increase since 2014. This is much higher than the leading startup ecosystems in the country, such as Bengaluru (0.03%), Delhi-NCR (0.92%), and Mumbai (1%).
Kerala’s startup ecosystem offers plenty of funding opportunities for early-stage startups. Also, KSUM introduced a few schemes, including Innovation Grant and Seed Fund Support, which offers working capital without equity dilution which allows startups and entrepreneurs across the early-stage ecosystem to build and launch their products without requiring private capital.
Kerala’s startup ecosystem houses more than 160 Unique investors. Out of the total active investors in Kerala, angels and accelerators, and incubators who come under early-stage investors account for 48%. Early-stage investments indicate the presence of a robust investment inflow that propels the early-stage entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Key Development Indicators
- The GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product) is valued at $115 billion.
- Highest literacy rate in India at 94%.
- 92% Literacy Rate Among Women, which is the highest in India.
- 1st in the procurement of affordable talents by Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2022
- 30 Million plus Internet Subscribers In Kerala
- More than $2k Per Capita Income, which is 56% higher than the National Average.
What is Kerala Startup Mission ( KSUM)?
KSUM, founded in 2006, is the Kerala government’s nodal agency for the state’s entrepreneurship development and incubation activities for the welfare of Kerala’s startup ecosystem.
How KSUM is providing an opportunity in the Startup Ecosystem
Kerala Startup Mission was founded with the goal to create the infrastructure and ecosystem required to support high-end technology-based startup businesses. Now, the organization has been able to build a vibrant startup ecosystem allowing Tech entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams by providing them complete support in the startup life cycle.
Under Kerala Startup Mission:
- 3,900 startups were registered
- 6 lakh plus square feet of incubation space were provided
- 67 incubators & 370 mini incubators provided
- Future technologies lab, IOT labs, MIT Super Fab lab to promote digital fabrication, and 22 fablabs including mini fablabs were distributed across different districts.
KSUM has worked hard over the years to strengthen the start-up environment in the state. In the last 5 years, KSM has awarded innovation grants to 550 ideas out of 2000 shortlisted startups.
KSUM disbursed grants worth Rs 6.9 crore to 170 startups in 2021-22.
Rise of Kerala Startup Ecosystem
Over 4k startups were launched in Kerala between 2016 and 2021. 95% of the startups in Kerala were launched in 2016 or afterward.
As one of the most literate states they also have well-interlinked schools & colleges, incubators, government institutions, and startups to build a well-orchestrated startup ecosystem.
Kerala has set an ambitious goal of creating 15k startups over the next five years with the help of various government initiatives. The state is also looking to set up a dedicated venture capital fund for startups. Kerala has also opened a launch pad program for startups from across the world to come to the state and explore the market.
Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) launched Seeding Kerala, an investor summit, showcasing opportunities to invest in startups from Kerala. At the latest Seeding Kerala Summit, investments of $10.6 million were announced. 46 investors participated in the invite-only summit.
Top Growing Sectors
Fintech and SaaS ( Enterprise tech) emerged as the top startup sectors in Kerala, with 66% of the investments being made into the two sectors.
40% of the funded startups in Kerala came from the SaaS sector.
Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics
Thanks to its support facilities including a network of 22 fablabs, 20 IoT labs, and MSME Cluster spread across the state, Kerala has become one of the ideal base for advanced manufacturing and robotic companies. The Electronics manufacturing and industrial clusters of the state help startups scale their manufacturing activities.
Artificial Intelligence, Big Data & Analytics
- Kerala became the first Indian state to introduce coding into the curriculum from Class I onwards.
- Digital University Kerala launched a training program called Capacity Building in Responsible Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics for the Police Department in 2022.
- Agrima Infotech,an enterprise business unit of Deep Tech company incubated by Kerala Startup Mission was acquired by online grocery Bigbasket.
Kerala University of Digital Sciences, Innovation and Technology, under the Government of Kerala, started an initiative, Kerala Blockchain Academy to provide Blockchain training, research, and consultancy.
An offshore delivery center is being set up in Kochi by UAE based Blockchain startup Kingspin Technology Services as a part of its expansion.
Entry is a learning app for jobs in India. In 2017, Mohammed Hisamuddin and Rahul Ramesh founded it. Mainly for job seekers, this delivers learning resources in any local language. This also gives mock/adaptive tests, flashcards, video courses, etc.
They raised about $1.4M from Good Capital, Boston-based edtech accelerators like LearnLaunch and a group of investors. The pandemic impact and the lockout increased their user base to 3M, with 90k paid subscribers.
The success of Entri comes from the realization that online learning concepts become highly effective when done in one’s native language. Entry is undoubtedly one of the most promising and top startups in Kerala.
The energy needed for the transportation of water is quite large. Solar ferries are the main practical answer to this problem but they are costly. To fill the gap between cost and efficiency, NavAlt Solar & Electric Boats built India’s first affordable solar ferrie. It is the world’s most cost-effective one.
Sandith Thandasherry, a naval architect with deep knowledge and experience, is behind this boat manufacturing and solar energy startup industry, NavAlt. At first, they needed something to work for them as per the plans. Constant cash flow, government regulations, and technology problems they faced provided them with learning opportunities.
As a result, the Kerala government has finally introduced solar boats to its waters, and the Maharashtra government has followed suit. Recently the company has emerged as one of the top startups in Kerala.
Four young engineers, Vimal Govind MK, Arun George, Nikhil NP, and Rashid Bin Abdulla Khan, took their love for science and Iron Man has to lead to a new stage with Genrobotics and Bandicoot. It is about a Manhole monitoring system. They have decided to end the deaths of sewers and clean up utility holes with Bandicoot, a spider-shaped robot created by their startup company Genrobotics.
Bandicoot uses machine language and artificial intelligence to calculate the unclogging required. Thus in 45 minutes, it can finish work that would take 3-4 hours to complete if done manually.
It raised about Rupees 2.5 crore in a pre-Series investment headed by Unicorn Ventures (India). It is now one of the top startups in Kerala.
Shihab Muhammed introduced the idea for SurveySparrow, a client experience platform, because he set it up himself, putting off checks. After all, the unimaginative questionnaires failed to engage him. This led to SurveySparrow, a better forum for statements that’s further engaging, with advanced check completion rates of 40.
The platform has an erected- robotization system that allows associations to produce and partake in mobile-first checks through SMS or WhatsApp. Generators can manage client experience checks, hand palpitation checks, and request feedback checks with a Conversational stoner Interface.
SurveySparrow has raised$1.4 million in seed backing from Prime Venture mates and is indeed one of the top startups in Kerala.
Music, prints, and pictures can now stream via a home network. Presently, colorful companies in this sector serve millions of people worldwide.
The retail price of digital media receivers increases as new capabilities are added. The company also provides services in consumer electronics and IoT.
The total Funding Amount is Rs 150 Cr in the first funding & plans to raise Rs 400 Cr in the second round.
CareStack is a pall-grounded dental practice operation, patient commerce, and data analytics software. It allows guests to manage all primary operations of their practice through one straightforward platform, with completely integrated modules for scheduling, clinical, billing, patient engagement, and business administration.u6
CareStack is a Florida and Thiruvananthapuram- grounded dental care incipiency. CareStack raised$ 28 million in 2019, and with this fundraiser, it has raised an aggregate of$ 60 million. As percrunchbase.com, the total funded quantum so far is$74.1 Million. The good news is that Carestack has given exit to 12 of its early-stage investors. This demonstrates the progressive growth of the incipInntot comes next in the list of top Kerala startups. It is mainly about cost-effective next-generation digital media receivers by Prashanth Thankappan & Rajith Nair.
With its bitsy, ever-controlled drone, Kochi- grounded incipiency EyeROV makes it to the top startups in Kerala list for offering data-driven reporting and ease of use in marine examinations.
E-commerce or entertainment has nothing to do with marine robotics, which you hear about only sometimes. Besides tackle, EyeROV creates a data analytics and visualization platform. This is to partake every minute of information from aquatic checks by its guest’s possessors of underwater. Through its intuitive platform and AI and machine literacy, EyeROV can make faster and more influential decisions. The total funding Amount of EyeROV is about $70K.
Payback comes next in the list of Top 10 startups in Kerala. It’s a Fintech establishment that assists businesses in taking better care of their workers by refunding charges simply and accessible online. Workers can make payments using a mobile port and a card handed by the company. Also, all costs are proved and so workers can save plutocrats on levies.
Authors Nicky Jacob, Ricky Jacob, Vivek Vinod
Sastra Robotics is a Robotics company in the top ten list of startups in Kerala by Aronin P, Akhil A, and Achu Wilson.
Dedicated to developing innovative robotic technologies and results, it’s an early-stage robotics organization. The company is in favor of people and robots coinciding. They also seek and admit backing from colorful exploraebtion institutions to further advance their progress. The company was innovated in 2012 . And became one of the top ten startups in the Startup Village incubation center in 2012.
Making healthcare more straightforward and accessible is what Mykare’s then for Senu Sam and his two mates, Rahmatulla and Joash, revolutionized healthcare assiduity and innovated Mykare in the early epidemic period of 2020. Mykare provides easy and accessible results for surgical care for cases by allowing them to admit an end-end frame, starting from planning the surgery and consulting the right croakers to ordering drugs and booking lab tests or reviews for checks. With a fast-growing network of 10 metropolises so soon, Mykare Health is turning out to be one of the top startups in Kerala with a vision.
Zappyhire is a reclamation platform that relies fully on artificial intelligence. This reclamation mate allows you to speed up your processes through reclamation robotization and data intelligence. Innovated by Deepu Xavier and Jyothis KS in 2018, Zappyhire has relatively fleetly taken over gift accession problems! With features ranging from an aspirant tracking system, a capsule parser, AI assessments and a recruiting chatbot, Zappyhire takes retaining to the coming position. They entered a total backing quantum of$494.3 K in their last seed backing round in 2021. With a beginner customer base of further than 4000, Zappyhire is another well-known incipiency in Kerala!
Promoting Women entrepreneurs
Focus on Women in Startup Ecosystem
Only 11% of startups in Kerala have a female founder. KSUM will run activities in emerging technology at the school & college levels to create a pool of girls with skill sets that can leverage by existing and upcoming startups. They will also provide awareness in entrepreneurship at a lower level.
Also, specialized incubators & sector-based accelerators will be built with inclusive women’s space to support women founders/ entrepreneurs.
More participation of women as speakers will ensure in the events of the ecosystem. This will even out the diversity and create role models to motivate.
Schemes For Women Entrepreneurs
- Soft Loan Scheme (Up to INR 15 Lakh)
- Seed Fund (Up to INR 15 Lakh)
- Technology commercialization support (Up to INR 10 Lakh)
- Soft Loan Against Purchase Order (Up to INR 15 Lakh)
Upcoming Programmes By Kerala
Innovators Premiers League
KSUM has set up an initiative, Innovators Premier League 2.0 with the mission to bring out the
best talents from the Kerala Innovation Hubs. Innovators Premier League 2.0 aims to bring awareness and sensitization of IEDC & its activities among students, build a competitive & entrepreneurial mindset among innovators, and create a pipeline of startups.
Rink Technology Conclave
The technology conclave aims to bring together Research innovations in the rink platform under a common roof to exhibit their products. It creates a platform for researchers to network with startups, technocrats, mentors, corporates, industries, government officials and investors.
Moreover, this will give an opportunity for them to understand more about cutting-edge research products developed in the country’s premier research institutions.
Huddle Global is one of the most coveted events in Tech Startup Ecosystem in India and offers a platform for start-ups to showcase their products and interact with Tech and industry leaders, on ways to move ahead in the ever-growing tech world.
Organized by the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), the event features keynote sessions, leadership talks, tech talks, start-up demo, and other business-oriented activities.
Seeding Kerala is a unique annual event that brings together the HNI network of Kerala and investors around India to showcase opportunities to invest in the best startups from the state and other parts of India. The event has been organized by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) since 2016.
Seeding Kerala is designed with the intent of:
- Seeding investors in the Kerala startup ecosystem
- Seeding a startup investment culture among the HNIs in the state.
- To educate and empower potential investors and HNIs from the state to create an Angel Investor Community in the State.