‘T-Hub’ in Hyderabad emerging as ‘the’ hub of startups

By Mohammed Shafeeq
Hyderabad, Dec 12 (IANS)
Though a late starter in the space of startups, Hyderabad has emerged as a key hub over the last six years and today boasts of over 6,600 startups across various sectors with a couple of them close to receiving unicorn status.
Carved out of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, Telangana is emerging as the capital of startups. The state’s robust economy, good infrastructure, strong IT/ITES, pharma and life sciences industry, presence of large number of research organisations, availability of vast talent pool, relatively low real estate price and entrepreneur friendly policies of the state government have helped Hyderabad emerge as a major hub of startups in a short span of time.
In September this year, Hyderabad made it to the list of top 100 emerging startup ecosystems globally. The rating given by Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) put Telangana among the top 20 Asian ecosystems in funding, and among top 15 regional ecosystems when it comes to affordable talent.
Starting with T-Hub, which pioneered the startup journey of Hyderabad six years ago, the city saw a series of initiatives to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, building a strong startup ecology.
As part of the efforts to build innovation-driven economy and a robust startup network, the state government came out with several unique initiatives like WE Hub, the one-of-its kind facility to enable women entrepreneurs to startup and scale up; AgHub, an incubator to foster agricultural innovation; T-Works, billed as the country’s largest prototyping centre to create and celebrate a culture of hobbyists, makers, and innovators; Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad ( RICH), an initiative to unlock the national treasure created by the top scientific research institutions; and Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge (TASK), which is aimed at offering quality human resources and services to the industry.
Early this year, the Telangana State Innovation Cell (TSIC), another government initiative to foster innovation-driven economy, kicked off an initiative to set up 5,000 startups in the next five years. TSIC is focusing on creating young innovators, especially those from rural areas.
The state recently launched a Startup Telangana portal that aims to be a one-stop destination for the entire startup ecosystem of the state. The portal caters to all startup-related services in a time-bound manner, including startup recognition, grievance redressal, mentorship, and incentive disbursement mechanism.
Ever since it was launched in November 2015, T-Hub has nurtured around 2,000 startups across sectors like healthcare, edutech, fintech, software as a service (SaaS), logistics, internet of things (IoT), machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, electric vehicle, consumer tech and cleantech.
Startups like Zenoti, MyGate, WhistleDrive, Outplay, DrinkPrime and AdOnMo have raised more than Rs 2,269 crore from various programmes.
T-Hub is a public-private partnership between the state government and three premier academic institutes — International Institute of Information Technology- Hyderabad (IIIT-H), Indian School of Business (ISB) and National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR) University of Law.
Housed in a 70,000 square feet space within IIIT-H campus, it transformed as one of the largest technology incubators in the country.
T-Hub’s second phase is almost ready for inauguration. Spread over more than 5 lakh square feet area, the new campus is expected to make T-Hub one of the largest incubation centres in the world.
Mahankali Srinivas Rao, who recently took over as T-Hub’s CEO, said their focus will be to build on current strengths and continually improve.
Following are some of the startups which attracted national and global traction:
Biliti Electric/Gayam Motor Works: Gayam Motor Works (GMW) was founded in 2011 by two brothers, Raja Gayam and Rahul Gayam, with their college mate Harsha Bavirisetty. In 2016, the company developed the first electric three-wheeler powered by Lithium Ion battery. It is also the first Indian company to develop electric auto rickshaw with battery swapping system. With a manufacturing unit in Sangareddy near Hyderabad and monthly capacity of 250-300 units, it is one of the major suppliers of electric autos to e-commerce companies in India. It is also exporting vehicles to 14 countries.
Bavirisetty, who founded Biliti Electric in the US, told IANS that the company recently received a $400 million PIPE investment commitment from Luxembourg-based GEM Global Yield LLC SCS.
“We plan to set up large manufacturing plants that will help us scale across the globe,” said Bavirisetty.
GMW, the Indian arm, is the sole supplier of electric three-wheelers to Biliti, which will have subsidiaries in different countries.
Marut Drones: Marut Drone was recently in news for the drone trials conducted in Telangana as part of the ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project to deliver Covid vaccine doses and medicines to remote areas. These were the first trials of Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights in the country.
Marut Drone’s Hepicopter carried medicines from the district hospital in Vikarabad to a primary health centre, covering a distance of 45 km.
“It was the longest and highest delivery flight path in the country. These drones can carry 16 kg payload and are equipped to handle multiple temperature-controlled boxes. This will enable medical delivery from drones to penetrate the remote inaccessible areas,” Prem Kumar Vislawath, Founder and Chief Innovator at Marut Drones, told IANS.
The startup also demonstrated the flight in Guwahati. It has so far manufactured 16 drones with different payloads for various applications like defence, mosquito eradication, agriculture and reforestation.
Onward Assist: Onward Assist helps improve cancer treatment outcomes by solving the problem of accurate and timely cancer diagnosis and simplifies the process. It enables cancer pathologists and radiologists with automated analytics tools for faster and better reporting, leading to better outcomes.
Onward’s AI tools are built in collaboration with leading cancer institutes in India and the US. Recently, Onward was selected among the top 24 startups by EU-funded EIT Health, as the only Indian startup in the list. Onward team is led by a core team of Dinesh Koka, Vikas Ramachandra, and Lata Kini with combined 60 years of experience in healthcare and medtech industry.
Awiros: Founded in 2015 by Vikram Gupta and Yatin Kavishwar, Awiros is into AI-based video analytics and has developed one of the world’s first video AI operating systems and the marketplace of video analytics applications, serving domains like smart cities, safe cities, law enforcement, enterprises, transportation, manufacturing, and defence.
The startup till date has been working with close to 5 smart cities and 5 safe cities and one of the biggest projects received was for the Bengaluru Safe City project, where Awiros is delivering AI-based advanced video analytics on 10K cameras. In addition to several law enforcement agencies, the startup has also collaborated with the National Highway Authority of India and other agencies to help with licence plate recognition, vehicle counting and classification, and lane driving discipline.
OxyLoans: A FinTech startup which has launched a Peer 2 Peer (P2P) lending platform. With NBFC licence from RBI, it is gearing up to cash in on the multi-billion-dollar opportunity in the P2P market. Radhakrishna Thatavarti, Founder and CEO, Oxyloans, told IANS that they are targeting Rs 7,000 crore disbursement during festivals over the next 24 months.
“With powerful licence, application and banking integration, we are partnering with securities companies, bringing the borrowers and partnering with NBFCs bringing the borrowers,” he said.
“It’s a power play. Instead of chasing the target every day and every month, we will run six campaigns every year, offering loans for two to four weeks. During the last three years, we were able to do only Rs 100 crore, but in this campaign, we will be mobilising Rs 7,000 crore,” said Radhakrishna, who has over 20 years of experience in software companies, and in the area of banking and financial services.
He is confident of reaching the Rs 7,000 crore disbursement target by the seventh or eighth campaign.
“In 2022, people will identify us as a future unicorn,” he added.
Mygate: One of India’s largest Community Apps, Mygate has been an integral part of community living with its security and community management features in Hyderabad since 2018, with presence across 1,800 gated communities with 2.5 lakh homes. Mygate has raised $67.3 million in funding till date with approximately 1,200 employees across 20 major cities.

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