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Mysuru as next Whitefield of Bengaluru –
TiECON Mysuru 2023 debates regional entrepreneurship futures >

by Team [April 14, 2023]

The rise of the startup sector in Mysuru, local entrepreneurial successes, and a range of tips and forecasts were shared at this annual summit. Here are some key takeaways.

The fourth edition of TiECon Mysuru 2023 kicked off with a round of keynotes, lifetime achievement awards, and a fireside chat on investor outlook. Organised by TiE Mysuru, the annual event is now regarded as one of the largest entrepreneurial conferences in the Mysuru region.

The theme of the two-day event this year was ‘Scalability and Sustainability’ – how local entrepreneurs can scale on a national and global level, while also maintaining economic, social and environmental sustainability. In addition to takeaways from the main conference, we had interactions with a number of entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors. Here are some highlights.

The rise of Mysuru >

The current startup wave in Mysuru actually builds on a century of local entrepreneurial strengths, according to TiE Mysuru Charter Member Pramodh BN. He cited leading brands in soap, silk, and sweets as examples, as well as the creation of engineering colleges. Today, the local TiE chapter also hosts the TiE University Pitchfest for student startups.

Media reports cite a range of startups based in Mysuru, such as VeeRuby Technologies, BuyEazzy, Syyclops, Meti, Lingotran, Blukhet, Qualitas Technologies, River FieldPro, Hifinox, 3dify, Yappes, Vithamas Technologies, Aegaeon Tech, VIVRT Motors, and Jeeva. 

Mysuru can benefit from the startup ecosystem of Bengaluru. “Mysuru could be the new Whitefield of Bengaluru,” suggested Prashanth Prakash, Partner, Accel Partners. High-speed trains and the new highway from Bengaluru can transform Mysuru in a few years, and create a region like Silicon Valley.

The formation of TiE Angels Karnataka is also fortifying the reginal startup ecosystem, as well as the formation of TiE chapters in Hubbali and Mangaluru.

“Though a larger vision, intent and outlook may be hard to come by in a smaller city, travel across the country and overseas can help here,” advised Pavan Ranga, MD and CEO, Rangsons.

“Choose the right kind of industry to develop based on the local talent,” he advised policymakers and business leaders. For Mysuru, this includes strong engineering talent, which can benefit manufacturing and cybersecurity. Larger industries should also be incentivised, not just startups.

“More GCCs (global capability centres) can attract next-generation talent. The shift of supply chains away from China can boost sectors in Mysuru like high-tech engineering and semiconductors, beyond just software,” Prashanth added.

Challenges and opportunities >

There are still barriers that hold back Indian startups’ full potential, explained Mahavir Pratap Sharma, Chair TiE Angels and Rajasthan Angels, in an exclusive interview.

India’s investment policy with respect to overseas investments in Indian startups, as well as the angel tax issue, still need considerable improvement. “Some states have good startup policies while others lag far behind,” he observed.

One of the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic is that startups can work online from anywhere, thus boosting the entrepreneur movement in smaller cities of India like Mysuru with better quality of life. “Private sector involvement in India’s education system should also be allowed to scale up, so that the educational infrastructure improves,” Mahavir added.

“All 57 TiE chapters around the world have TiECON summits. Out of 19 chapters in India, 13 have an angel investors programme,” he said. Soon, Goa and Srinagar could have their own angel networks as well. TiE Angels has invested in 18 startups already.

“The TiE collective ecosystem is often the only go-to organisation for many startups,” he affirmed.

Entrepreneurial journeys and lessons >

An outstanding keynote on the values, struggles and impacts of successful entrepreneurs was delivered by BS Ajaikumar, author of Excellence Has No Borders: How a Doctorpreneur Created a World-Class Cancer Hospital Chain.

The founder and executive chairman of publicly-listed HealthCare Global Enterprises (HCG) shared his vision and journey of providing of affordable and high-quality cancer care in India. Not many doctors who went abroad earlier came back to become entrepreneurs in their field, he observed.

While running a healthcare centre in the US, Ajaikumar also made frequent trips back to travel across India. This exposed him to the lack of quality in healthcare, shortcomings of government support, and the prevalence of corruption in India.

This only served to strengthen his resolve to set up a private sector centre in Mysuru for providing cancer care in India, and to stick to values like honesty and integrity. “You have to have values and stick to them. The path is more important than the journey,” Ajaikumar advised.

“Don’t take shortcuts, and don’t take bribes. Surround yourself by people who can make up for your weaknesses. Take the criticism of naysayers as a challenge to overcome,” he added.

Ethical doctors who run hospitals do not turn poor patients away. “Stay true to your purpose. Stick to your ethos. Don’t compromise on your conscience,” Ajaikumar urged. 

Looking to the future, he urged those in the Indian medical profession to do original research, have confidence, and not blindly copy the West. “Evidence is a moving target, and we have so much data for research in India today,” he added. He also urged people to speak truth to government, and stay committed to the secular foundations of the country.

Fear of failure should not be a deterrent for an aspiring entrepreneur. “By jumping itself you are succeeding,” Ajaikumar exhorted. Unfortunately, there are many in India who beat down those who have failed, rather than celebrating and learning from failure.

Asked about the rise of AI, Ajaikumar advised medical professionals to use AI as a complement to human knowledge. “Machines can enhance you, but humans are the best computers in the world,” he affirmed.

The Mysuru experience >

A number of local founders shared updates on their entrepreneurial journey with, along with the advantages of being based in Mysuru.

Amè Organic is working on preventive and corrective solutions for age, stress and lifestyle- related degeneration of the body and mind. “Mysuru has good talent. We have tied up with some good colleges to have a quality pool of interns,” founder Nandita Sharma explained.

Lower commute time improves productivity and gives more time for multiple team activities. “This helps create a great culture,” she added. 

Proximity to Bengaluru also helps tap into business opportunities. “We have our sales office in HSR layout, which takes just two hours of drive from Mysuru. Most important of all is the mental peace and good quality of air, which boosts physical, emotional and mental health,” Nandita affirms.

Yappes is a B2B technology platform for distribution of APIs and lifecycle management of APIs, which are a key element for digital enterprises and e-governance. “Mysuru has the perfect balance of being neither a big city nor a small village. It has many of the benefits of a larger city while eliminating the disadvantages,” co-founder Bhanu Kumar explained.

“Mysuru has a thriving startup ecosystem, and being close to Bangalore has also helped us to easily plug into the larger, more established technology and startup ecosystem,” he added. He also cited the engineering talent pool, lower attrition level, work-life balance, and lower costs as the city’s advantages.

Lifetime achievement awards >

With a standing ovation from the audience, TiE Mysuru presented three lifetime achievement awards to Abbas Vagh, MD, The Decorative Laminates India; KM Ganapathy, Founder-Editor, Star of Mysore; and Dr BR Pai, CMD, VWF Industries.

The three pioneers reaffirmed the importance of values, focus on quality, the importance of leading from the heart, and creating wealth but without sacrificing health.

The road ahead >

“Finally, Mysuru has arrived on the startup map of India,” said Sudhanva Dhananjaya, President of the TiE chapter. He asked “What more, better, and new things can we do at TiE Mysuru?” 

In the coming months, more events are planned for entrepreneurs in Mysuru by TiE and innovation showcase platform

Day Two of TiECON features more entrepreneur insights from Ramesh Kannan, MD, Kaynes Technology India; Shravani Pawar, Founder, Safe Hands 24/7 Services; Savitha Mallappa, Founder, rProcess Outsourcing Services; Eshwar Vikas, Co-Founder, Mukund Foods; Umakand Soni, Co-founder, ArtPark; and Sousthav Chakrabarty, Co-founder, Siply.