Kerala’s efforts to boost its startup ecosystem received a major boost when nascent companies in the State received assurances of investments worth ₹18.4 crore, turning a new chapter in the Government’s efforts to create a dynamic early-stage ecosystem.

At the ‘Seeding Kerala’ conclave organized by the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), Kozhikode-based Sparks Angel Network announced bringing in an investment of ₹8 crore in the State’s startups, while Kerala Angel Network pegged its figure at ₹5 crore. Phoenix Angels said it was investing ₹3.5 crore, and another ₹1.45 crore was set to come from a pool led by startup founders. GSF Accelerator revealed it would invest ₹40 lakh in 2018-founded Humblx, a real estate startup based in Kochi.

The fresh inflow comes when the State’s 2022 collective valuation of startups that raised funding stands close to ₹2,000 crore. A chunk of the investments (41.7per cent) went to the Saas (software as a service) sector, followed by hardware (20.8 per cent), healthcare, fintech and artificial intelligence (8.3 per cent each), and D2C (4.2 per cent). Data show that investment in the State’s startups plateaued during 2021-22.

New spirit

Rathan U. Kelkar, Secretary, Electronics & IT Govt. of Kerala, said the Government has recently been working with special emphasis on universities along with industries to usher in a new spirit in the state’s culture of investing in startups.

“The State is dynamic in its pertinent policies, keen to listen to feedback and looking forward to supporting new-age industries in the startup ecosystem,” he noted at a virtual presence in the inaugural session of the event that deliberated on investments and meeting of stakeholders with government officials and investors.

KSUM CEO Anoop Ambika said Kerala’s warranted an “electronics revolution” where startups will channel their energies more towards IT-enabled products as well as services in place of the brick-and-mortar industry. “For the growth of industry, we need investment, infrastructure and intelligence. While we have the last two factors sufficiently, the startup ecosystem in our state requires a decent inflow of funds. Unlocking potential investments can boost our startup ecosystem,” he said.