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Unlocking the Gates to Innovation: Exploring India’s Thriving Startup Ecosystem

AsiaBerlin’s Expansion Lab – India

Ever wondered what happens when Berlin’s entrepreneurial spirit meets India’s dynamic innovation scene? 

In the latest chapter of this journey, Batch 3 of Expansion Lab in India, brought to life by Carve Startup Labs, combined a four-week online module with an immersive three-week on-site experience. Our participants : Ahmed Darwish of @hotel, André Lange of Q-nnect AG, A. Seshaditya of Naavi, and Milan Agrawal, PhD of ScopeX Fintech navigated the bustling streets of Bangalore and the buzzing innovation hubs of Telangana, diving deep into India’s business environment. They met local entrepreneurs, explored cutting-edge tech spaces, and uncovered the dynamic market dynamics. From engaging discussions to hands-on experiences, this batch was all about making meaningful connections and unlocking new horizons.

Week 1: Embarking on a Journey of Discovery in Bangalore

As we embarked on our journey in India, the Berlin delegation eagerly delved into the vibrant tapestry of Bangalore and Karnataka’s entrepreneurial landscape. Our first destination was SAP Labs India, where we found ourselves immersed in a hub of innovation. Amongst the buzzing energy of startups, we were privileged to gain invaluable insights into SAP’s pioneering startup initiatives, including the groundbreaking SAP Startup Studio Innovation Program.

Moving forward, we engaged in enlightening discussions with officials from Karnataka’s IT BT Department. Ms. Parnika Pavanram, GM – Biotechnology at KITS, and the Karnataka IT BT team, including Ms. Divya Raghavachar from the Government of Karnataka, provided us with a deep understanding of the region’s attractive startup ecosystem, funding opportunities, and the extensive support available from the government.

At NASSCOM’s Centre of Excellence for IoT & AI, delegates were immersed in a world of visionary technology solutions, discovering the extensive resources available to aspiring startups.

Intel Corporation warmly welcomed us, offering a comprehensive journey into startup incubation through its Intel Startup Program. The program opens up its entire business ecosystem as well as an exclusive community of technology mentors for startups to rapidly propel growth.
Afterward, we visited and met the visionary minds behind OPEN, India’s celebrated 100th Unicorn, providing a rare glimpse into the triumphs and challenges of the entrepreneurial path.

Our journey reached its pinnacle at Google for Startups, where we gathered for a delightful high tea and networking session. Surrounded by fellow entrepreneurs, we seized the opportunity to forge meaningful connections and explore collaborative ventures. The event, featuring insightful panel discussions on global expansion and the AI landscape in India, allowed us to broaden our horizons and deepened our understanding of the market.

As the week drew to a close, we hosted an exclusive private dinner, providing a perfect end to our journey. This intimate gathering allowed us to connect with prominent figures from the Indian startup ecosystem. The event began with an opening by Vishnu Nagaraj, CEO of Carve Startup Labs, followed by introductions from Anna Grek of AsiaBerlin and Katka Nagyova of betahaus, Program Director of ExpansionLab. Warm welcomes from Parnika Pavanram of the IT BT Department, Government of Karnataka, and Kanchi Arora from the German Consulate set the tone for the evening.

Beyond uncovering India’s dynamic startup ecosystem, this week showcased the power of human connection. Each interaction and shared moment laid the foundation for future collaborations, reinforcing bonds of friendship and innovation that transcend borders.

Week 2: Navigating the Complexities of Network Building

With the momentum gained from our explorations in Week 1, we eagerly dove into Week 2, focused on nurturing strong networks within the Asian entrepreneurial landscape. Our journey commenced at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore NSRCEL, where we engaged in captivating discussions with key figures in NSRCEL’s vibrant startup ecosystem.

NSRCEL’s Vertical of Interests span from Emerging Sectors to Women Entrepreneurship, Student Entrepreneurship, and Social Impact, creating avenues for innovation and positive change. Notably, NSRCEL leads the way as the first incubator to prioritize the social impact sector, seamlessly bridging profit and purpose. Startups nurtured by NSRCEL have gained global recognition, earning spots at renowned events like Shark Tank, Forbes 30 under 30, and the G20 Summit.

Meeting with VC SEAFUND provided fresh perspectives on Berlin’s emergence as a startup hub and the promising investment avenues in India. During our guided tour of the Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre (BBC), we gained valuable insights into its operations, spanning areas like agriculture, medicine, bioinformatics, and more. We explored the support and success stories of startups incubated at BBC and discussed the regulatory challenges faced by startups entering the German market.

At the German Consulate in Bangalore, we engaged in meaningful dialogues with Consul General Mr. Achim Burkart about the strategic significance of Indo-German partnerships in navigating complex business landscapes.

Finally, our journey culminated with a visit to Bosch India, where we explored cutting-edge initiatives and collaboration opportunities in technology and innovation. The Bosch DNA Program fosters innovation with startups in various technology domains, including IoT, mobility solutions, and AI. We learned about the extensive support Bosch offers to startups, from mentoring and resources to technical support and investment opportunities. This visit not only deepened our understanding of the Asian ecosystem but also forged enduring connections, laying the groundwork for future synergies and partnerships.

Week 3: Unveiling the Secrets of Telangana's Innovation Hub

As Week 3 unfolded, our Berlin delegation found ourselves enveloped in the dynamic landscape of Telangana, starting our journey at T-Hub, hailed as the world’s largest innovation hub. Here, amidst the hum of creativity, we delved into a myriad of startup initiatives, each one brimming with potential and promise.

Our exploration continued as we ventured to Hyderabad Angels, where we engaged in candid discussions about the intricacies of investment landscapes. The insights gleaned were invaluable, offering us fresh perspectives on navigating the financial terrain.

Next on our agenda was T-Works, India’s largest prototyping center, a haven for innovation enthusiasts. Here, amidst cutting-edge technology and prototyping resources, we found ourselves inspired by the boundless possibilities that lie ahead.

Our journey took an empowering turn as we stepped into WEHUB, the pioneering state-led incubator for women entrepreneurs in India. Here, we gained profound insights into the supportive services tailored specifically for female founders, underscoring the importance of diversity and inclusion in fostering innovation.

An Ecosystem Meet-up at Draper Startup House, Hyderabad, brought together a diverse array of stakeholders, from ecosystem enablers to startup founders and investors. Through enriching panel discussions and engaging conversations, we explored collaborative opportunities for global expansion, bridging the gap between nations and industries.

At the Federation of Telangana Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FTCCI), we were treated to invaluable business insights, further deepening our understanding of the local ecosystem and its nuances.

Culminating Success: Forging Partnerships, Fostering Growth

The week culminated in a friendly private dinner at GNITS, where the air buzzed with energy and excitement. Amidst vibrant networking sessions, meaningful connections were forged between our Berlin delegation, AIC – GNITS, and esteemed guests from renowned organizations, including incubation centers and investors entrenched in the Telangana ecosystem.

As our transformative journey came to an end, strategic alliances were solidified, laying the groundwork for a future defined by innovation, collaboration, and mutual prosperity.

The Expansion Lab’s venture into India is a testament to unity, diversity, and shared purpose in the global collaboration story. As Berlin and India pioneer new realms of innovation, the seeds planted on this journey are poised to blossom into a tapestry of shared success, driving humanity forward into a future fueled by boundless imagination.

Looking forward to more groundbreaking collaborations and insightful discussions? Don’t miss the AsiaBerlin Summit 2024 from November 25 – 29, 2024, at Rotes Rathaus & Partner Locations. 

Be part of this transformative event and connect with global innovators and leaders.


The summit is being hosted at the following venue:

Spielfeld Digital Hub GmbH
Skalitzer Straße 85/86
10997 Berlin

Note: satellite events take place at various addresses