Nusair asked that I start blogging about my experience in India over the next few weeks. I have toyed with the idea of doing a podcast and/or blog of my travels and of the whole process of doing a startup. I arrived in India in the beginning of last week. I’m here to determine what the Indian consumer Internet industry looks like with the hope of starting a company to service this industry in India. This is my inaugural post on my Passage to India.
I have started exploring what kind of startup infrastructure exists in places like Bangalore, New Delhi, Kolkata (Calcutta), Mumbai (Bombay), and Chennai. I will be examining Bangalore and New Delhi up close and personal but for the moment, I’ve decided not to look at the other three places, partly because of high churn and burn rates, as well as personal factors leading me towards Delhi and Bangalore.
Bangalore is probably the worst (for tech companies) when it comes to high turnover but it appears to have the highest concentration of talent, with the possible exception of Hyderabad. New Delhi isn’t quite known as a technology hub and it is quite a bit more expensive that places like Kolkata. Mumbai isn’t quite the best place for a technology company, in my very humble opinion. Mumbai is run my financial institutions, much like New York City. All these institutions pay well and hire up any potential engineering talent. This engineering talent, along with people with financial experience jump jobs every 3 – 9 months for sunstantial salary increases. I’ve seen this immense turnover at a previous company I was at. Though, my area wasn’t impacted by the high turnover, the company and customer service was being hurt very badly.
Kolkata is much less expensive than New Delhi, Bangalore, or Mumbai. However, it also has a very small talent pool relative to the other cities and many engineers in Kolkata see a technology job there as a stepping stone to a “real” engineering job in Bangalore, Hyderabad or Chennai. This, obviously, isn’t always the case but it is quite common.
Over the next few weeks, I will be detailing thoughts, insights, and questions that I am facing and dealing with in determining whether India is the place for a consumer Internet application or should I heed the advice of others…. “Go West Young Man…”