If recent initiatives by stakeholders are any indication, the technology ecosystem in coastal Karnataka is silently gearing up to become ‘Silicon Beach of India’ to take advantage of ‘Techade’.

Experts term India’s ‘Techade’ as country’s dedication to embracing the digital age to ensure sustainable development, create new job opportunities, enhance quality of life, and establish a strong presence in the global technology landscape.

Participating in ‘Silicon Beach Dialogue Series’, organised by Karnataka Digital Economy Mission (KDEM) and TiE-Mangaluru chapter, Rohith Bhat, Founding President of TiE-Mangaluru and Chief Executive Officer of Udupi-based 99Games Online Pvt Ltd, said India’s technology-led exports are projected to surge significantly in the next ten years. This will also lead to significant increase in the number of workforce.

In such a situation, emerging technology hubs such as the Mangaluru region (which includes a 300-km coastline from Mangaluru in the south to the Goa border in the north) will play a significant role in contributing to this Techade of growth.

Silicon Beach Programme

Presenting the ‘Silicon Beach Programme’ concept to the audience, he said it has a three-fold vision: fostering technological advancement, championing environmental sustainability, and preserving cultural heritage.

The Silicon Beach Programme seeks to harness IT resources, talent, and infrastructure along the 300-km-long Karnataka coast to craft world-class services and products. It is about creating a technology hub that combines innovation with sustainable growth practices, he said.

The educational landscape along the Karnataka coast sets a strong foundation for Silicon Beach of India’s aspirations, boasting the highest literacy rate and human development index, second only to Bengaluru.

He said ‘Silicon Beach of India’ already has eight technology companies with over a thousand employees each, exporting a cumulative value of $375 million annually.

Highlighting the better work-life balance in ‘Silicon Beach of India,’ he said Mangaluru can be called as a 15-minute city and Udupi a 12-minute city, unlike some major technology hubs in the country where the workforce has to spend hours together on the road.

Convenience, quality of life, and professional fulfilment intersect seamlessly ‘Silicon Beach of India’. Such an environment fosters creativity and mitigates attrition, ensuring a stable and motivated workforce.

On the second vision of championing environmental sustainability under the ‘Silicon Beach Programme,’ Bhat said it embodies a commitment to environmental stewardship. By prioritising green infrastructure and sustainable practices, the initiative aims to decarbonise the region, promoting a harmonious coexistence between technology and nature.

Apart from technology and nature, the vision of the ‘Silicon Beach Programme also focuses on nurturing and celebrating the region’s cultural diversity. Efforts will be made to document, preserve, and propagate the region’s rich cultural heritage. This ensures that progress does not come at the cost of cultural identity.

Main pillars

Bhat said three major components – startups, satellite companies, and large corporations – can help make the ‘Silicon Beach Programme’ successful.

Stating that startups are fuelled by local ingenuity and global ambition, he said initiatives by organisations such as TiE provide an ecosystem that nurtures startup ventures.

He stressed the need for the presence of large companies’ satellite companies, saying these companies help foster the technology ecosystem in the region.

Large corporations come into the region only when the base is available. He said the region’s talent pool and conducive work environment are key for them towards substantial economic growth and breakthroughs in research and development activities.

‘Silicon Beach Programme’ aims at the region becoming the hotbed of education, talent, technology startups, IT companies.

Stressing the need for all the stakeholders to converge under a unified banner, pooling resources and expertise to propel the region towards prosperity, he said the stage is set for ‘Silicon Beach of India’ to emerge as a regional technology powerhouse along with sustainable development.

Stating that Karnataka wants to emerge as a $1 trillion economy in 10 years, he said ‘Silicon Beach of India’ aims to contribute 10 per cent . Arguing that it is doable, he said all the stakeholders need to work together to make that happen.

“Right now, the region is known for its education infrastructure. But we want to be known for technology too. Instead of sending our talent away, let us create jobs right here,” he said.

Giving the example of iron ore export from the region ten years ago, he said India is now exporting finished steel. “We can do the same with the talent we have in our region,” he said in his concluding remarks at the ‘Silicon Beach Dialogue Series’.