Pune plays home to several world-class universities and educational institutes, which have helped it earn the moniker – ‘Oxford of the East’. The city has also come to the forefront as a technology-driven automobile and manufacturing hub. It even plays host to several large software and IT companies. Since the setting up of PIFF (Pune Idea Factory Foundation) in 2017, the city has helped promote startups vigorously. Pune’s proximity to Mumbai and a varied choice of coworking spaces in Pune are other factors that many want to cash in. All these reasons make the city attract talents from other parts of India, many of whom find the city an ideal place to set up their startups. If you too have been eyeing Pune to begin your startup journey, here are a few things that indicate the city is pretty ready to welcome you and offer you the right environment for your startup’s growth.

The city’s startup scenario

During the 2010s, some of Pune’s leading software startups reached the ‘Unicorn’ status (being valued at over 1 billion USD). The startup scene in the city has strengthened over the years. According to the MCCIA, 5,600+ Pune-based startups are registered with the Startup India initiative (as of December 2020). There are many other startups in the city that are not yet registered with the government. Many of these startups cover multiple new-age sectors, such as edtech, healthtech, agritech, and autotech, among others. Despite the blow of COVID-19, several more startups in these and other sectors are expected to come up.

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Even during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, several Pune-based startups were helped by Venture Center to launch solutions and products related to masks, ventilators, diagnostics, test-kits, etc. It’s interesting to note that MyLab Solutions – a small startup in Pune, was the first to develop a domestic COVID-19 test-kit. Gennova Biopharmaceuticals – another Pune-based company, has started human trials for its mRNA-based vaccine, which is India’s first indigenous mRNA vaccine developed to fight the COVID-19 virus.

Government policies and other support

Policies at the state level like Maharashtra State Innovative Startup Policy 2018 and FinTech Policy 2018 together with the establishment of Maharashtra State Innovation Society to support and promote innovation activities and startups in the state has helped Pune’s startup scenario significantly. Setting up of PIFF by the PSCDC (Pune smart City Development Corporation) to act as a one-stop-shop to meet all requirements for Pune-based startups has also created a conducive environment for start-ups. Additionally, by organizing conferences and events to highlight the city’s strong points, PIFF has positioned Pune as an entrepreneur-friendly destination.

To support the city’s startups, Pune has multiple CoEs (Centers of Excellence) and startup innovation/incubation cells at educational institutes like Bhau Institute, AISSMS College of Engineering, D. Y. Patil College of Engineering, etc. It also plays host to several accelerators (such as India Angel Network and Eduguild) along with investors and venture capitalists (Alacrity, Pune Angels, Venture Catalysts). Pune-based startups can even get support from TiE’s Pune chapter. When it comes to shared office spaces, you won’t have any dearth of cost-effective hot desks, fixed desks, private cabins, and meeting rooms.

All these make Pune the ideal home to start, nurture, and grow your startup.