AP to construct world’s 6th largest startup hub
Finance and technology have become so intertwined that many financial organizations would aver they are not a financial company per se, but a technology company rendering financial services. Moreover, factors such as demonetization, digital India and a plethora of digitization campaigns are only testimony to the growing importance of technology. It is obvious that when India is going gaga over digitization a state like Andhra Pradesh headed by a tech savvy Chief Minister cannot be left behind.
If the official comments of the secretary of the state government of Andhra Pradesh are to be believed, the state is fast on its way to carve the world’s 6th largest startup hub. Officials close to the development delved into the details of the plan at a meet in Mumbai today.
J.A. Chowdary, Special Chief Secretary to Chandrababu Naidu and the government of Andhra Pradesh was bullish on Fintech and shared that there is a need to nurture such startups. The Fintech Valley coming at Vizag will also have a tower that will be home to all kind of startups across the length and breadth of technological offerings such as analytics, risk management, cyber-security, block-chain technology, etc. In fact, Paytm has already setup an office at the location. The good news for startups is that there are no rentals for 6 months on the proposed Fintech-tower. The rentals post the initial period will be bare essentials according to the secretary.
“Fintech companies are innovative and meet the customer demands by employing frugal resources. There are Fintech avenues in areas such as analytics, cyber-security, block-chain technologies, and India definitely has a strong position here,” he said.
Speaking through a teleconference, Chowdary emphasized that there was a need for a new zone rather than coming up with a “me-too” kind of solution for Fintech companies. Vizag (Vishakhapatnam) has been chosen as the location for the Fintech valley and the government is currently engrossed in setting up ecosystem components. “We are trying to create an ecosystem that takes care of capability building using financial knowledge. We have tied up with organizations, educational institutions as well as regulators to ensure that the hub satisfies all the needs of the players. In a nutshell we are encouraging global Fintech companies to setup their Centers of Excellence in Vizag. In fact we are also working with R&D companies. An Israeli company is setting up an R&D institute and IIT-Vishakhapatnam is the educational partner here,” he added.
The state is also doling out a Rs. 100 crore corpus fund to startup companies. The state government is currently on the search for credible VCs to expand and administer this amount. “We can also rope in the central government as a partner or investor,” he added.
Latha Ayyar, special representative for Innovation and IT with the state government addressed, “There is an MoU with the Monetary authority of Singapore, which offers incentives for Singapore companies to scale in AP, while offering tremendous opportunities for the locals. We are also setting up an advisory board with eminent names to guide us as we develop in this journey.”
The valley has already attracted investments from international markets including partnerships with the monetary authority of Singapore (MAS), Paytm, Reuters among others. It is anticipated that the state-government would unveil more such initiatives at its investment summit, which would be organized on January 27 at Vishakhapatnam.