WHEN ITINERANT venture capitalists land at Delhi airport, many head straight to Aerocity, a new development of glass, steel and Starbucks next door that would not look out of place in Silicon Valley, Singapore or Shanghai. Cyber City, another tech enclave 20 minutes away by Uber (traffic permitting), swarms with young programmers in T-shirts and jeans not unlike the Stanford students plotting the next disruptive app at Philz Coffee in Palo Alto. Many are one and the same.
What Delhi’s tech parks lack in the splendour of India’s historic business hub, in south Mumbai, they make up for in unpotholed roads, uninterrupted mobile connections and stable broadband. Between 2017 and 2019 the capital spawned 2,562 startups, according to Tracxn Technologies, a data provider. Other clusters, notably in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai, added a further 4,500 or so between them. India now has 80,000 startups (see chart 1). They raised $10bn in 2019, up from $3.1bn in 2012 (see chart 2). That puts India’s venture capital (VC) activity behind America ($114bn) and China ($34bn) but ahead of larger economies such as Germany or France.
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