Silicon Valley may hold the crown when it comes to funding for tech startups—accounting for one third of all the venture capital investment in U.S.—but other pockets of innovation around the world are also worthy of investor attention. This is certainly the case with Nepal’s tech startup ecosystem.
In fact, a member of Google’s Developers Group (GDG) recently stated in an interview that “we see Nepal as an emerging country with lot of untapped opportunities… with the independence they provide…” And with most of the activity centered around the country’s capital, the city’s tech innovators may soon be giving the Bay Area a run for its money.
The following are 7 reasons why Kathmandu might be the next Silicon Valley.
7. Significant annual growth in tech startups and e-commerce activity.
Every year, the number of startups increases by almost 50%. Most struggle, some even fail, but many have become success stories in almost every corner of the city. In fact, the culture of entrepreneurship and everything that comes with it has become embedded in the fabric of the city.
6. A highly collaborative business environment.
Startups in Kathmandu benefit from a number of key resources that help to spur business growth, namely tech startup workshops, seminars, and events—many organized by larger organizations and tech firms. Some of these include ChangeFusion Nepal, Entrepreneurs for Nepal, and the Nepalese Young Entrepreneur’s Forum, to name a few.
5. The increasing availability of startup capital.
Due to the presence of various banks and private investors, local entrepreneurs are finding it easier to acquire capital to run their businesses. For example, last year Nepal’s CG Corp launched a $100 million venture capital fund to invest in the country’s startups, as well as those in India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. Additionally, multinational corporations often reach out to establish business partnerships with local startups.
4. The presence of reliable infrastructure resources.
As Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu has the best internet connectivity and data infrastructure in the country. Fiber optic broadband is accessible throughout the Kathmandu valley region; additionally, the country has one of the most developed broadband-speed internet infrastructures, thanks to international submarine communications cables.
3. A highly-skilled workforce of young, tech-savvy professionals.
Kathmandu’s workforce is highly skilled—yet the high unemployment rate is a persistent issue. This, however, enables startups to acquire talent at a fracture of the cost of a typical Silicon Valley tech worker.
2. Low cost of starting up.
Nepal not only tops the backpacker index list as the #1 most affordable country for budget travelers—it’s also inexpensive start up in, by all measures. For less than a cost of an iPhone, local entrepreneurs can launch a digital products or service and easily scale their businesses.
1. A local government that supports the growth of business.
The Nepali government actively supports new and forthcoming startups and entrepreneurs, providing them with set of favorable regulations. Currently, the government is focusing on developing programs to promote female entrepreneurship, enabling them to get the required funding for their businesses.
In short, Kathmandu’s tech entrepreneurs are developing innovative products and solutions to address inefficiencies encountered daily, as well as provide digital consumer offerings on par with those in western markets. Be sure to keep this dynamic South Asian tech ecosystem on your radar in 2018.