Mumbai has the world’s top-ranked emerging startup ecosystem—again

Coming out of the shadows.
Coming out of the shadows.
Image: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui
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India’s financial capital remains in pole position in a list of the world’s most promising emerging startup ecosystems.

According to innovation policy advisory and research firm Startup Genome, the city outperformed the other 99 on the list on several fronts including performance, which takes into account ecosystem value; exits and startup success; access to funding; and quality and access to, as well as cost of talent.

Mumbai also ranked first in 2020.

Pros and cons of Mumbai for Indian startups

There are challenges to setting up a business in India’s most populous city, with steep real estate prices and rents being the biggest hurdle. That’s why startups like ride-hailing firm Ola and mobile ad-tech company InMobi quickly moved their headquarters elsewhere.

However, things have changed in the last few years. The environment has become a lot more inviting.

For instance, the state of Maharashtra, for which Mumbai is the capital city, is currently lauded for its pragmatic policy-making and favorable regulatory environment. The city also has nearly two dozen startup incubators to support budding companies. Several Mumbai-based startups managed to raise funds even during the pandemic. And now, there are scores of co-working spaces that help entrepreneurs and their teams find office locations at reasonable prices.

As a result, more and more startups have set up shop in Mumbai.

Mumbai’s startup stars

There are nearly 7,700 active startups in the city as of July this year, including notable unicorns—billion-dollar startups—like online pharmacy PharmEasy, gaming company Dream11, and ed-tech firm upGrad. The city is a hotspot for B2B and fintech companies.

The ecosystem has birthed four unicorns in the last decade, and is worth over $16 billion today, Startup Genome noted.

Together, the top 100 emerging ecosystems are worth over $540 billion, a 55% increase from last year. The cohort also created 124 billion-dollar startups in the period between 2011 and 2020.