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From cloud applications to new ventures in clean technology, Chennai has grown and is now an authority within India’s startup ecosystem.

Today I sat down with Gopi Mattel, Founder & CEO of MaxBlox, Inc. and Director of the Chennai Founder Institute to discuss the unique opportunities found in the Chennai startup ecosystem.

What makes Chennai a great place to start a business?

Chennai has a population of 5 million people, making it the 4th largest city in India, and one of 5 Indian Institute of Technology locations. As a result, Chennai is the 2nd largest center of IT development in India, making it a prime location for securing the right startup talent.

Additionally, Chennai has a semi-mature, but growing, startup ecosystem. In recent years, Chennai has acquired many accelerators and incubators, including PayPal’s incubator, Start Tank. Not to mention, the growing funding opportunities in Chennai, which include Chennai Angels and TVS Capital Funds Limited. With these new opportunities emerging, Chennai is not only a great place for a company to start, but also a great place for a company to flourish.

What are some tips for starting a business in Chennai?

Firstly, make sure that your idea is the best idea you can bring to the table. We at the Founder Institute want to help you develop an idea that is scalable and successful, so we will challenge you to bring the best idea forward.

Secondly, use your environment for inspiration. Each entrepreneur should be aware of the trends in their local ecosystem, and understand how the opportunities in Chennai are unique to the opportunities around the world.

What trends do you see developing in the Chennai startup ecosystem?

Chennai’s environment and ecosystem provides unique opportunities for a variety of startup markets. Most notably, Chennai has a strong focus in cloud applications. ZOHO, a Chennai startup, which offers online business, network, and IT infrastructure management applications, has made tremendous progress and is now a direct competitor to Salesforce.

In addition to the robust cloud applications market, Chennai offers a plethora of hardware startup opportunities due to its position as a major auto manufacturing center, and is growing within the financial and clean technology markets.

What makes Founder Institute Chennai a unique startup launch program?

The Founder Institute is the world’s premier startup launch program and will be running its second semester in Chennai. We as directors are working hard to leverage our resources to put together the best Founder Institute semesters and startup opportunities for our founders.

We provide our founders with 3,500 square feet of co-working space where they can develop their company while in the program. In addition to the space, founders get access to 75 technology specialists who can assist each founder’s startup with technology development. These resources are available to future founders in addition to the mentor and director assistance throughout the program.

We gain a tremendous network of colleagues and proficient Directors to help us...I would not hesitate to recommend FI to an entrepreneur." - Badhri Ramiah, Current Founder, Chennai Founder Institute, Fall 2015

To learn more from Gopi and the other Mentors the Chennai Founder Institute has to offer, apply to the Chennai Summer 2016 program here.

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