While Silicon Valley continued to dominate the tech sphere, the pursuit of innovation has spread across the world, with global enterprises seeking new talent pools beyond established hubs. Bengaluru, touted to be the IT and start-up capital of the country, has emerged as one of the most attractive destinations for multinational companies looking to set up innovation centers and tap technology talent. It also has a thriving tech start-up scene.
Over the past few years, many Fortune-500 giants have set up camp in Bengaluru, all of whom have either headquartered their India operations in the city or set up captive technology centres. Of late, global ‘unicorns’ such as Uber have also set up base in Bengaluru.
Among the companies setting up innovation centres in Bengaluru are Airbus BizLab, which intends to bring together start-ups and Airbus internal entrepreneurs; and Visa, whose new office in Bengaluru aims to house 1,000 developers, accelerating development of nextgeneration payment solutions. Meanwhile, U.S.-based home improvement and appliances retailer Lowe’s launched an innovation lab in Bengaluru for start-ups selected for its planned 16-week accelerator programme, that aims to speed up the deployment of innovative techbased solutions at its stores across the world.
One of the key factors behind the city gaining acceptance as a destination for new technology is its supportive and nurturing eco-system, as demonstrated by the large number of startups in the city. It is estimated that around $9bn was invested in start-ups in India in 2015. Several home-grown firms with headquarters in Bengaluru, such as Flipkart, InMobi and Mu Sigma, have made it to the billion-dollar ‘unicorn’ club. The range of engineering talent and links with the Silicon Valley has contributed to these start-up success stories.
Notably, the city has a number of top-class global research institutes, such as Indian Institute of Science, as well as many state-owned research organisations, thus adding the talent pool necessary for innovation centres to thrive. Despite the slow pace of infrastructure development, Bengaluru has tremendous potential to host future innovation centres, as evinced by the strong eco-system that enabled the city to surpass several global cities in order to emerge as a preferred innovation hub.