Digital City Festival on tour in India Day 4: Connecting with India's Silicon Valley

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The trip around India continues today for the Director of Digital City Festival, Martyn Collins, who is meeting with tech giants in a bid to bring them to the festival in March.

Martyn is part of the tech delegation, sent out as part of the Manchester India Partnership.

Visits to the biggest tech companies in Bangalore are on the cards today. The city is known as the Silicon Valley of India. Find out from Martyn's latest diary entry why that is...

Martyn Collins, Digital City Festival, has been travelling around India this week as part of the Manchester India Partnership

Day Four: Bangalore

I honestly don’t think that anyone is going to feel sorry for me, but the pace of these delegation trips is ridiculous. In a sense, I don’t feel like I’m in India at all. 

It’s been aeroplane, airport, taxi, hotel, taxi, airport, aeroplane, airport, taxi, hotel - you get the drift. Tomorrow, we fly to Delhi and, according to the schedule, I may have two hours free to wander the streets and breathe in some non air-conditioned air and meet some locals. People have recommended that I brave some of the street food! 

Today I visited a brilliant incubator space called Axilor, managed by a wonderfully engaging man called Mr Ganapathy Venugopal. If you think WeWork spaces are cool, then nip down to Bangalore and check out the Axilor offices. They are just around the corner from the site of the original Infosys office - a tiny corner office where the seven founders of Infosys who started with $250 in 1981 grew the business to become a $9.5 billion company with more than 194,000 employees.

Businesses must apply to be on the Axilor programme, but once accepted for the 100-day placement, receive funding and mentorship to get them off the ground. 

The rooms are newly and brightly decorated with various motivational quotes on the walls. One of these is ‘Where innovation meets execution’, which, if read the wrong way would definitely put people off from innovating in my opinion!

The next company we visited, Micelio, is a startup focussed on creating a comprehensive Electric Vehicle platform for India. They’re building a prototype two-wheel electric vehicle (or a bike as I’d call it) to perform what’s known as last mile deliveries. 

They believe as I do too, that if you can solve this problem in India then you have something that will have a global application. People do refer to Bangalore as the Silicon Valley of India and when you meet companies like these you do get a real sense that this true. 

The afternoon’s tech roundtable was delivered to another full room. The digital innovation panel comprised Paul Silver from MiQ, Jon Corner, The Landing; Ben Bridgewater, Health Innovation Manchester; and Dr Raj Jain, Salford Royal NHS, talking all things digital across their respective industries and opportunities to partner with India.

The evening reception was ‘Manchester comes to Bangalore' where Mayor Andy Burnham was gifted a rather fetching hat, scarf and an ‘unknown object’, but for some reason, he chose not to keep it on for the duration of the event.

What was clearly evident, and not for the first time this week, was that local businesses have a keen interest in coming to Manchester - some because they’re considering opening an office, but even more who want to take part in Digital City Festival!

I’ve had conversations with companies who are world-leading AI specialists, robotics and automation experts working with luxury car manufacturers, a company that’s building a vertical takeoff five-person flying taxi, a fraud detection and prevention business and many others.

Hopefully, I will be able to introduce you to them all at next year’s Digital City Expo. Fingers crossed!

My curry update for today. Breakfast, lunch and dinner - curry. It was delicious!

Digital City Festival

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An exciting city-wide industry festival is coming to Manchester in 2020. Find out more...