In Kerala, the south Indian state popular as a tourist destination, there’s blazing fast Giga Bit Internet. Then there is the sprawling startup village which wants to incubate nearly 1000 software product companies in 10 years. And its got mentors like Kris Gopalakrishnan, one of the nine co-founders of IT services giant Infosys. What are we missing? Well, an angel network.
The state now has an angel network, called the Mallu Angel Network, led by the likes of Kris Gopalakrishnan and Kerala’s chief Minister Oommen Chandy. The network, as reported by the Wall Street Journals India blog, has plans to have 1,000 members in two years with each member investing up to $183,000. “It is also planning to leverage established startup financing networks such as Mumbai Angel Network and the Indian Angel Network,” said the blog.
The Economic Times reported today that the group wants to create a $20 million corpus.
In bits and pieces, Kerala seems to be building up its eco system with active support from the Government. The state launched its student entrepreneurship scheme for universities, colleges and polytechnics in October. Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy announced earlier that universities will give 20 % attendance and 4 % grace mark for student entrepreneurs.
Where will the money come from? As the reports point out, a lot of money comes to Kerala already in the form of remittances. Remittances to Kerala, or the money sent home by Keralites working abroad, is expected to go up $11 billion in 2012, up 40 % from the year ago period. So far, all the money has been going into buying land, building barely occupied colossal houses and loads of gold jewellery. Hopefully, some of it will trickle down to the startups.
Few detractors have been crying on the sidelines that enough is not being done for the startup ecosystem in Kerala. Well that might be true if no one is asking you to define how much is enough or if you expect the sky from a very early stage ecosystem. The important part is that they have a plan. And seem to be hell bent on executing it. Why crib?
What are your thoughts?