Finance, healthcare & food firms set to grow big in Bangalore: VCCircle Investment Summit

Bangalore startup scene is moving beyond technology and companies in sectors such as finance, healthcare and food are poised to grow big in the city which is dubbed as the startup capital of the country, according to panellists at the opening session of VCCircle Bengaluru Investment Summit 2015 held on Thursday.

More than 300 entrepreneurs and investors attended six sessions led by 34 panellists at the summit.

Proactive state governments, cosmopolitan population and infrastructure are some of the factors that attract entrepreneurs to Bangalore to build companies, according to panellists at the event.

Kumar Shiralagi, managing director, Kalaari Capital Advisors, who moderated the session on ‘Mapping entrepreneurial activities and investments in Bangalore’, said the city that accounts for 1 per cent of India’s population is home for 20-25 per cent of the startups in the country. “For us, 30 per cent of our investment is in Bangalore-based companies,” Shiralagi said.

“Successive state governments in Karnataka have been proactive in helping entrepreneurs,” said K Pandiarajan, founder of Chennai-based MaFoi Group. “Karnataka should now develop cities such as Mysore, Hubli and Mangalore as centres of competitive excellence to retain its edge,” he said.

“Bangalore’s cosmopolitan flavour attracts entrepreneurs,” said Siddhartha Das, general partner, Ventureast. According to him, healthcare, financial services and food sectors show promise. “Tech-integrated micro finance is also a promising sector,” Das said.

Other than technology and services, manufacturing industry in Bangalore too has potential to resurge with the centre’s focus on ‘Make in India’ initiatives, according to YS Prabhakar, CEO of Sutures India.

Bangalore has demonstrated over many years that globally scalable businesses can be built from ground up in the city. A new set of such companies are in the offing, according to Mohan Alexander, vice chairman and co-founder of Copal Amba.

Delivering a talk on ‘Entrepreneurship opportunity in today’s world’ serial entrepreneur K Ganesh, who is partner of and chairman of Portea Medical, said, “We are bullish on the opportunities for the next five to 10 years.”

“Things that remain broken in India are enormous. They present opportunities for entrepreneurs to solve problems and build large companies,” Ganesh said.

Ganesh cited his home medical care company Portea Medical as an example of enterprises trying to remove inefficiencies in the system using technology and reducing cost. “There are opportunities in organising the unorganised,” he said.

“One has to be ahead of the curve. We started Big Basket three years ago and raised $60 million from investors. It is difficult for a new firm to raise money,” he said.

“One has to focus on ‘needs’, not ‘wants’, to build companies in India. There are opportunities to build companies by solving simple problems. Education, healthcare, grocery and vernacular apps are opportunities,” he said.

Answering a question on venture capital firms pumping money into loss-making ecommerce firms, he said, “Hopefully, there is some collective wisdom in those who invest in ecommerce.”

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