MUMBAI: The country's financial capital is a "hard" city to live in because of infrastructure woes coupled with high cost of living, founders of multi-billion dollar startups said on Friday.
The city is losing out to others because of its lack of ability to build communities, which deters talent consisting of technologists who want to have a better place for their kids to grow in which is also cheaper, said Ashish Hemrajani, the founder and chief executive of BookMyShow.
Making it clear that there are a lot of advantages which the megapolis, home to 20 unicorns or startups valued at over USD 1 billion each, possesses, Hemrajani said we need to address the challenges confronting the city to ensure that it stays relevant.
The 48-year-old entrepreneur, who was born and brought up in Mumbai, said that it is home to only the traditional financiers, and losing out on new-age financial services players. "While the city has phenomenal advantages, it's given me everything, we still have to pull up our socks and do a lot more to attract more talent and make it more liveable for the newer businesses," he said, speaking at the annual summit organised by TiEcon here.
Echoing similar concerns, Anupam Mittal of Shaadi.com said the cost of living is a "real challenge" for the city and also made a suggestion to tackle the same.
Pointing out to the space that exists on the eastern side of the city, Mittal said the government has to take lead in developing a 'startup city' which will have companies acting as catalysts courtesy the thousands of people they employ.
He said that the government can control the rents and prices for the first few years in the space, adding that global cities like Seattle have made it big as they are home to companies like Microsoft. Mittal added that Bengaluru, the undisputed startup hub of the country, is also experiencing similar troubles with rents doubling in the last few years.
He said that a flourishing startup ecosystem requires a city to be truly cosmopolitan, and Mumbai scores on this point as it is home to the creative industry, finance and healthcare professionals.
Rizwan Koita of Citiustech also alluded to the infrastructure issues that exist in the financial capital and added that the space is getting very competitive with other cities like Noida and Gurugram also vying to be the preferred choice for startups.
However, all the founders made it clear that they are not moving out anywhere. Harsh Jain of fantasy sports company Dream11 said his investors have asked for the company to be relocated to Bengaluru. "We are not going anywhere," he said, adding that the spirit of the city is the closest to representing entrepreneurship where a person has to endure challenges before one makes it.
Siddharth Shah of Pharmeasy said the city has given him everything, including friends from his neighbourhood who turned co-founders for the venture, and there is no question of them leaving even the suburb of Ghatkopar.