The Secret Sauce of Telangana’s Innovation Ecosystem

The idea of T-Hub took shape with a phone call from KT Ramarao, the minister for IT, in 2014, recalls Srinivas Kollipara, the first CEO of T-Hub. Hyderabad had all the ingredients to become the biggest business incubator worldwide, and T-Hub’s launch in 2015 was the first step towards that vision. Today, T-Hub 2.0 is the world’s largest innovation campus – a space where ideas, experiences and technical know-how can be freely exchanged.

T-Hub 2.0 was inaugurated on 28 June 2022. A 5,82,689 square feet facility providing a collaborative innovation ecosystem for young Indians to launch their startups. T-Hub 2.0 prides itself on being able to support more than 2,000 startups under its roof.

Learning About Innovation in India Through Networking

The T-Hub Innovation Summit 2022, held on the inauguration day of T-Hub 2.0, showcased the collaborative innovation ecosystem that T-Hub aspired to create in Hyderabad as a startup incubator.

Discussions held at the summit were attended by business leaders from across sectors sharing their insights and learnings with a crowd of aspiring entrepreneurs. The summit covered all facets of a startup’s journey, from its ideation stage to scaling and exit. It was a day of knowledge sharing, inspiration, and networking among aspiring, emerging, and recognised entrepreneurs. 

The innovation summit included several panel discussions and debates, where startup founders and unicorn leaders across India shared their views and experience.

The panel discussions were held on topics such as demystifying Web 3.0, Metaverse, and manufacturing for startups. There was also a fireside chat on building global go-to-market and execution strategies. The discussions revolved around how startups can navigate choppy economic waters, leveraging emerging technology to shape the future of logistics.

The ‘startup showcase’ event brought together over 40 startups. This event provided them with a platform to connect with other startups, investors, corporates, and stakeholders.

The Entrepreneurial Energy of Hyderabad

The T-Hub Talking sessions were held as a part of the innovation summit and saw many leaders participating. The CEO and Co-founder of Swiggy, Sriharsha Majety, shared his views on the challenges in finding the right business product for the Indian consumer. The delegates in attendance interacted with the CEO and learned about his vision for the consumer and how to identify strengths and build a core team.

Keshav Reddy, the managing partner of Reddy Futures Fund, said that his firm chose Hyderabad to build their startup to leverage the city’s high-quality talent pool of engineers. “When we analysed cities, we found people wanted to live in Hyderabad. The retention of employees is also higher.”

The T-Hub talking session had the CEO and co-founder of Meesho, Vidit Aatrey, share his insights on the startup’s journey. Vidit said, “T-Hub is the best thing to have happened to India and Telangana. It is a unique forum for upcoming entrepreneurs to come together for knowledge sharing. It provides a space for them to reach out to us for advice. The sheer entrepreneurial energy witnessed at Hyderabad is a great takeaway.”

The young CEO further noted that Hyderabad is poised to excel in the health tech sector. Hyderabad has a large base of pharma companies and abundant talent in healthcare, “I believe some of the startups that will come from Hyderabad in this sector will have unique strengths.” Vidit added.

Deepti Dutt, who heads the Public Sector Strategic Initiatives for Amazon Internet Services Private Limited, was part of a panel discussion on ‘Building for the Next Billion’ and said, “Attending the event has been an amazing experience. We’ve been working with T-Hub and the Telangana government for some time, and it’s always refreshing to come here and see the art of possibility at play. More than a physical facility, I think T-Hub and the Telangana government are the biggest catalysts enabling the startup ecosystem. I think specialty startups need this kind of a catalyst that can bring multiple stakeholders together and help them grow.”

Phanindra Sama, the co-founder and CEO of RedBus, said, “The T-Hub 2.0 initiative works as an accelerator where people can come together and discuss ideas. The government is doing the right thing by creating an innovation ecosystem where there can be a fusion of ideas, where an artist can meet a technologist to spark new ideas.”

Ideas and Knowledge Sharing at T-Hub

After every event, all the CEOs were approached by young aspiring entrepreneurs who sought advice on problem statements and challenges. In one such instance, Sumeet Mehta, Co-founder and CEO of LEAD, was approached by two young entrepreneurs working in the Ed-tech sector who found it challenging to access schools to test their ideas. The CEO advised the duo to reach out to their alma mater and mark their startup journey from there.

For many of the delegates in attendance, the T-Hub 2.0 inauguration allowed them to interact closely with their idols. When Padmaja Ruparel, the co-founder at Indian Angel Network, walked into T-Hub, one young entrepreneur told us, “We can call ourselves entrepreneurs because people like her paved the way ahead for us.”

“There is a stark difference between entrepreneurs of yesterday like me and those who are starting on that journey today,” said Padmaja. “When we started, there were no such supportive ecosystems. The people here today are entrepreneurs and the innovators of tomorrow,” she added.

Sateesh Andra, managing director of Endiya Partners, said, “The post-pandemic world gives you the ability to have a distributed workforce even if you have a presence in other cities. Having a presence in Hyderabad is a no-brainer. If you want to increase your presence in the city, based on your experience, that’s fantastic.” he added.

In less than a decade, T-Hub as a startup accelerator has brought together all the right people, resources, and knowledge to make startups realise their full potential. It has become a space that celebrates the spirit of entrepreneurship, enabling and empowering the innovation ecosystem of Telangana.