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Start-Up Founders, VCs Disappointed With Bengaluru Infra, Will They Move Out Of India’s Silicon Valley?

Voicing concern and disappointment about the IT hub’s crumbling infrastructure, exposed over the past week’s torrential rains, industry stakeholders seek accountability

Start-Up Founders, VCs Disappointed With Bengaluru Infra, Will They Move Out Of India’s Silicon Valley?
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POSTED ON September 07, 2022 7:18 PM

Residents of Bengaluru always boasted about two things—the pleasant weather all year round and its status as India’s Silicon Valley. The incessant rains over the past few days washed away all these claims. 

The city received 135 mm of rainfall between August 31 and September 6, almost four times the 34 mm of rainfall it normally receives during this period. The torrential rains brought the IT hub to a standstill following massive waterlogging in several housing complexes and even the airport, as well as flooding of arterial roads. 

On Tuesday, edtech unicorn Unacademy’s co-founder and CEO Gaurav Munjal and his family were rescued amidst the flooding. In a tweet, he said, “Family and my Pet Albus has been evacuated on a Tractor from our society that’s now submerged. Things are bad. Please take care. DM me if you need any help. I’ll try my best to help.”

Alok Jain, founder of Weekendinvesting, also shared a video of a luxurious villa being flooded on Twitter. “A plush villa, now a pool… so sad to see you make your house with so much love and expense, and then to see it all get washed away,” he posted.

Heavy Lifting To Save Lives

Social media was rife with videos of boats and tractors being deployed to evacuate people from flooded societies. This exposed the city’s crumbling infrastructure once again, as complaints of bumper-to-bumper traffic jams have become a constant fixture of the city’s landscape. 

Mohit Saxena, co-founder of InMobi group expressed disappointment with the garden city’s infrastructure via a LinkedIn post. His statement said, “Everytime I fall in love with #Bangalore its #traffic breaks my heart. Everything has collapsed in this rainy season absolutely no hope. Even 4 hours aren’t enough to cover 31 KM. Utterly disappointed for a city that has so much potential but its #infrastructure is failing it.” He added that he missed flight after leaving 4 hours earlier. 

Last week, Padma Shri awardee and chairman of Manipal Global Education, TV Mohandas Pai, had tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other central leaders on a social media post seeking accountability for investments in Bengaluru’s infrastructure. “Sir pl help Bengaluru, our streets have debris, garbage, drains are blocked…. Does all this need more money or better governance? Our Metro is behind schedule, There is total mismanagement, Pl review our Major projects,” his tweet read. 

While talking to Press Trust of India (PTI), the former chief financial officer of Infosys claimed that the havoc caused in Bengaluru due to heavy rains was a result of multiple factors, including bad governance, high corruption and lack of urban reforms. He opined that political leaders and bureaucrats have failed the citizens, said on the floods in parts of Bengaluru following two days of torrential rains. "...result of ineffective government, bad governance and high corruption. Money is allocated and largely shoddy work due to high corruption, lack of capability in the corporation, illegal construction, the list goes on," Pai told PTI.

Time To Get A Move On?

Several other entrepreneurs soon started comparing the infrastructure of Bengaluru with Gurgaon, stating that the latter, which is an emerging start-up hub, is a much better city. Amongst them was Niharika Gurbaxani, co-founder of View360degrees.

On her LinkedIn page, she wrote, “No Offence to the people in Bangalore but I think Gurgaon is much better for startups or living in general. 1 Airport is 20 minutes away. 2 You can book cabs much much more easily. 3 There’s a balance of opinions- not everyone talks about startups. 4 Traffic is very manageable if you live in Gurgaon. If you’re travelling from Delhi then it’s bad during office hours. But not as bad as Bangalore. 5 Metro connectivity is much better. 6 I feel housing and societies are also much better. 7 Rains…they are bad but doesn't disrupt the life.. You can add to the list in the comments or tell me why Bangalore is better. Either way, I’m not moving.”

Apart from start-up founders, venture capitalist also voiced their concerns over the city’s deteriorating infrastructure, which came exposed recently. Rajeev Mantri, managing director of venture capital firm Navam Capital said that the flooding over the past few days will be a stress test for electric vehicle manufacturers in the city. 

In a Twitter post, he wrote, “Wonder how many electric 2W got submerged in the #bengalurufloods. We should hear in the coming days what happened to these scooters, whether they are still usable. This will prove to be a natural extreme stress test for E2W manufacturers.”

Ishaan Mittal, managing director at Sequoia Capital India, also tweeted his dismay about 300 families being evacuated from his Yemlur housing society, which were waterlogged with no electricity. “It’s horrific to experience the bottom (hopefully) of Bangalore’s infrastructure. Today we had to evacuate our apartment along with 300 other families. Society (In Yemlur) has no electricity and water. 2 basements are filled with water with many cars stuck in them,” he tweeted.

Weather Woes Worries All

The Meteorological Department has predicted that Bengaluru will continue to witness thunderstorms and rain in the coming days. Meanwhile, the city’s civil body, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), has issued a 24*7 helpline, stating that rescue efforts are underway. 

To ensure business goes on as usual as is possible, most IT companies and start-ups sent out memos asking employees to work from home until the situation gets better. 

On Tuesday, Wipro issued a statement stating, “Due to heavy rainfall in Bangalore, Wipro has advised its employees to work from home. Business Continuity Plans have been invoked and there has been no disruption to business. We are closely monitoring the situation." 

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) also issued an official statement stating, “All our associates at Bengaluru are safe. We are closely monitoring the situation and our delivery teams have been advised to exercise due caution.”

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