India’s Silicon Valley: Bengaluru

Geetansh Atrey
6 min readMar 22, 2021

A country which is home to 1.37 billion people (Expected population in 2019), India is indeed incredible. Our country is a large repository of talent, who seek for an opportunity every single day. There was a time when this talent was constrained to limited opportunities. The prominent occupations for Indians used to be agriculture and poultry, hereditary work within the household. Then came Globalization which took the country by storm and installed big names of the world in our developing nation.The insurgence of Bollywood in India inspired millions of Indians to run away to Bombay and get themselves to act along with Jais and Veerus of Bollywood.

But in the field of Science and Technology, the opportunities were limited. As the country went on to stabilize itself from a huge impact of partition since Independence, it realised the nerve of its people and started taking the right steps for developing a scientific aptitude in its people. This could only be done by making new opportunities. A very impactful step taken by the government was Economic Liberalisation in 1991. It resulted in the economy being more market- and service-oriented, and expanding the role of private and foreign investment. It ended many public monopolies and motivated many private companies to come and invest in India and Indians. This is just exactly what the country wanted, the very first step in the birth of India’s own “Silicon Valley”.

Bangalore or now officially called Bengaluru (after translation to Kannada) is today one of the leading manufacturing cities in the world. It is ranked 19 in the 25 Most High-Tech Cities in the World by Freedom and Safety from the World Economic Forum. Every engineer in the country inspires to someday land up in a company in Bengaluru. But before independence Bengaluru was not considered as an ideal spot for business as it was under British control. It was only post independence in 1947 that Bengaluru evolved into a hub for public sector industries in the country. It grew a lot in mainly aerospace, telecommunications, heavy equipment, space and defence. There was also constant support to Bengaluru by the government in the form of heavy investments. India’s Computer Revolution was a final icing on the cake for Bengaluru to secure its position as one of the major technology based cities in the entire world. In May 2000, Lok Sabha (India’s Lower House Parliament), passed the Information Technology Bill to boost e-commerce and Internet-related business in the country. After the execution of this bill, India exported about $4 billion worth of software to foreign western countries. Only after this, the Czar of the Indian IT Industry, Azim Premji (Chairman of Wipro Limited) came into the list of the richest people in the world. As a result, since the last 2 decades Bengaluru has come across top technological firms and offices of companies such as Amazon, Infosys, IBM, Dell, HP, Samsung R&D, Microsoft R&D, SAP, Oracle, Cisco, Intel and so many other Silicon Valley giants. But before we say Bengaluru is our own Silicon Valley, we must know what Silicon Valley is and why it is the most amazing work environment in the world.

“The people who built Silicon Valley were engineers. They learned business, they learned a lot of different things, but they had a real belief that humans, if they worked hard with other creative, smart people, could solve most of humankind’s problems. I believe that very much.” — Steve Jobs

Silicon Valley is the region in the U.S. consisting of the southern part of San Francisco Bay Area that is the home for the biggest technological giants and leading innovators. San Jose is the Valley’s largest city, the third-largest in California, and the tenth-largest in the United States. Silicon Valley also includes many other cities such as Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Cupertino, Santa Clara, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale. According to the

Brookings Institution, it generates the third highest GDP per capita in the entire world. Now after looking at such numbers it might seem that people in the valley must be the most dedicated workers, having sleepless nights and missing meals. But the case is actually opposite. People working in the valley are the most laid back, chilled out, and fun loving workforce around the world. But then how are they so efficient? Their mantra is simple- Follow the basics and implement them to their full extent. First thing first, they accept the culture one comes from. Silicon Valley is dominated by Indians and Chinese population, but the question of “Where are you from?” never comes into the picture. This leads newbies to approach more, which eventually leads to making them more contacts and gaining knowledge and experience from some of the most top tech personnel around the globe. The most important reason for its success is the culture of competition with cooperation. People in the Valley are very competent, just like any other place but at the same time they know that they are the world’s leading innovators who develop technology which will be used by the entire world for many years to come. Thus they cooperate with each other pretty well. Following these basic and simple ethics, Silicon Valley has come so far that it is actually a dream for every engineer sitting anywhere from east to west, to come and work in the Bay Area.

Now if we are saying Bengaluru is our own Silicon Valley, then it should also follow all the ideals and legacy of the valley. Let me compare the two areas point by point and thus see what’s the real case. Firstly Silicon Valley has some amazing people who are very approachable and casual. Bengaluru has this case too. It also has some of the most friendly workforces. Both the regions have high optimism and spirits to innovate as well. In recent years companies like Flipkart, OlaCabs, Oyo Rooms have inspired highly talented people of Bengaluru towards entrepreneurship. But here comes the real deal where Bengaluru still lacks behind the Valley, generating doubts in the minds of the people if both are really comparable. Silicon Valley has a very easy to go, fun loving work environment. Going for hikes and trekking in the mountains, beach parties, long drives is a very common thing for people in the Valley. The freedom to work from home, unlimited paid time off are some very common traits in the Silicon Valley culture. Their offices have volleyball, foosball, table tennis and what not. Employees don’t have a dress code. Coming in shorts to office is very common in the Valley. Employees are in a very relaxed state of mind which helps them to focus on work rather than worrying about if they are wearing an ironed shirt or not. Bengaluru still has a culture of rat race ingrained into it which is going on increasing since a very long time. Everyone is worried about getting promoted and getting a pay raise rather than if they are developing something. The number of suicides in Bengaluru has drastically increased due to startup failures of most of the people and thus society judging them for no reason.

The legacy of the Silicon Valley is truly immense and unmatchable. But with the talent and the workforce Bengaluru has, it can overcome these challenges and indeed become the Silicon Valley of the country. If the government supports and moves forward with the idea of Make in India, it will lead many VC firms investing more in the country and thus creating opportunities. Potential is huge, unimaginable. Only thing to be nurtured is the culture. If that can be done in the near future, then we can undoubtedly say India has its own Silicon Valley in Bengaluru.